Nahl, Johann August (1752–1825): Painter. Son of the sculptor by the same name and a native of Bern. Studied under Johann Heinrich Tischbein in Kassel, then in Strasbourg, Bern, and Paris. From 1774 to 1781 in Rome, then moved to Kassel. From 1782 in London, from 1783 in Rome and Naples, from 1792 taught at the Art Academy in Kassel, from 1815 its director. His works include historical and mythological themes as well as landscapes in the style of late Rococo and classicism. Part of his renown during his own lifetime derived from the Society of Friends of the Arts in Weimar, which Goethe founded and which awarded him first place in its competition in 1800 and 1801 for two paintings: “Hector’s Abschied von Andromache” and “Achilles am Hofe des Lykomedes.”
Napoleon I (born Napoleone Buonaparte, later Napoléon Bonaparte) (1769–1821): General during the French Revolution, ruler of France variously as First Consul of the French and Emperor of the French. From 1785 lieutenant in an artillery regiment, from 1796 general in northern Italy in command of the campaign against Austria, the success in which made him a national hero. In late 1798 engineered a coup in Paris resulting in his being named First Consul. Elected Consul for Life in 1802, constituted himself as Emperor in 1804. Divorced his wife Josephine in 1809 because she had borne him no children for the anticipated dynasty; he then married the archduchess Marie-Louise of Austria in 1810. By this time he had formed an empire which covered most of Europe except Russia, but his failure to gain command at sea and his failure in Spain ultimately led to his downfall. The failure of his campaign in Russia in 1812 and his defeat at Leipzig in 1813 led to the allied invasion of France in 1814, after which he abdicated, being then exiled to the island of Elba. A return ten months later with seven hundred soldiers met with too much resistance at home and a new coalition against him abroad, his final defeat coming at Waterloo in 1815, after which he again abdicated. Exiled to the island of Helena, where he died in 1821.
Naubert, Christiane Benedikte Eugenia (1756–1819): Writer. An autodidact in classical and contemporary philology, Naubert published her first novel in 1779, the first of over fifty subsequent works, most of which appeared anonymously and dealt with historical material into which she incorporated wondrous elements and motifs from legends. She also wrote sentimental novels and fairy tales (Neue Volksmärchen der Deutschen, 5 vols., 1789–93), from which later writers such as E. T. A. Hoffmann and Clemens Brentano drew material. She also published in journals such as Journal für deutsche Frauen and Minerva.
Naumann, Johann Gottlieb (1741–1801): Conductor and composer of operas, oratories, church music, lieder, and chamber music. After studying in Italy, returned to Dresden, where he composed an opera for the wedding of Friedrich August III of Saxony and his bride, Maria Amalie Auguste von Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld-Bischweiler. After additional time in Italy, from 1776 he was court conductor in Dresden, from 1777 at the Swedish court, returning to Dresden after stays in Copenhagen and Berlin. Generally viewed as one of the last representatives of Italian opera in Germany, and at one time one of the most significant musical personalities in Dresden.
Necker, Jacques (30 September 1732—9 April 1804): Father of Germaine de Staël. French banker, financier, and government minister. From 1776 a leading minister directing finances for the French government before being forced to resign in 1781. After his recall in 1788, his attempts to introduce liberal reforms met with resistance in the Estates General, and his second dismissal contributed to the public sentiment that resulted in the storming of the Bastille on 12–14 July 1789. After serving again under Talleyrand and Mirabeau 1789–90, he retired to Coppet, his estate on Lake Geneva. From 1764 married to Suzanne née Curchod (1739–94).
Neefe, Christian Gottlob (1748–98): Composer. Studied law in Leipzig, receiving his doctorate with a thesis querying whether a father might disinherit his son if the latter devotes himself to the theater. Initially associated with the development of the German singspiel.
Nelson, Horatio, Lord Viscount (1758–1805): British naval officer, extremely active during the wars with the French, including in the Mediterranean, from 1801 rank of vice admiral, major player in the in the battle of Trafalgar in 1805, in which he was mortally wounded. Met Emma Hamilton in 1793, who became his mistress.
Nestor: King of Pylos on the Peloponnesus. A distinguished warrior early in life, at an advanced age he sailed with the other Greek heroes against Troy. Having ruled over three generations of men, he was renowned for his wisdom, justice, and knowledge of war. After the fall of Troy, he returned home safely.
Neumann, Dorothea Natalia, née Basemann (dates unknown): Daughter of the senior official in charge of the kitchen of the prince elector in Dresden, wife of Johann Leopold Neumann; even before she was married she was considered an excellent, even extraordinary pianist by Johann Friedrich Reichardt, who heard her play during a visit to Dresden; she allegedly could play even the most difficult pieces with facility and was well versed in theory and a deft accompanist. Goethe, who heard her in 1782 in Leipzig, similarly praised her playing.
Neumann, Friedrich Wilhelm (1781–1834): Writer, literary critic. A native of Berlin, he was orphaned early, worked in business until 1804. Though not acquainted with Wilhelm Schlegel, the latter’s Berlin lectures do seem to have influenced him at least in the sense of a stimulus to move beyond current literature. He admired Fichte in Berlin, and in 1804 began studying theology in Halle, attending the lectures esp. of Friedrich August Wolf. When Napoleon closed the university in the autumn of 1806, he returned to Berlin but had a difficult time earning a living, working sometimes as a tutor, sometimes as a journalist or in a bookstore. In 1813 joined the military in an administrative capacity but had to supplement his income with writing, Neumann, as an administrator in the Prussian ministry of war, was influenced by the Berlin Romantics with whom he was acquainted. Published collective projects with his friends Friedrich de la Motte-Fouqué, Karl Varnhagen von Ense, Adelbert von Chamisso, and Sophie Bernhardi’s ex-husband, August Ferdinand Bernhardi. He and Varnhagen von Ense co-authored Erzählungen und Spiele (1807), which Caroline reviewed, and the parody Die Versuche und Hindernisse Karls (1808), an ironic spoof of Goethe’s novel Wilhelm Meister. He later wrote literary-critical pieces for the Berlin Jahrbücher für wissenschaftliche Kritik and other journals.
Neumann (Neuman), Johann Leopold (1745–1813): From 1789 secretary in the military administration in Dresden, from 1799 senior military commissar. Considerable personal engagement in the literary and musical life of the time, close friends with Christian Gottfried Körner and a respected participant in Dresden cultivated circles. Published several operas and oratorios, lyric poetry, lieder (as a composer), and journalistic pieces. His wife as well, Dorothea Natalia, née Basemann, was considered an accomplished pianist; his daughter, Cora, also sang, danced, and sketched, albeit allegedly without much talent. The Neumanns lived in Dresden at Schlossgasse 322.
Newton, Isaac (1642–1727): English natural scientist, professor of mathematics at Cambridge from 1669. A polymath who recognized, among numerous other subjects, gravitation as the force governing the solar system and the orbits of celestial bodies, though also that causes a stone to fall on earth, subjects on which Newton elaborated in his work Philosophiae naturalis principis mathematica (1687).
Ney, Michel (1769–1815): Entered military at an early age, from 1792 a lieutenant, 1793 captain, 1796 general of brigade. Fought at Mannheim, where he became known for his cunning, then in Switzerland and Italy, defeating Archduke Karl of Austria, then at Hohenlinden in 1800. From 1802 married to Agläe Louise Augnié (chosen by Josephine). Thenceforth a one of Napoleon’s most trusted officers. Played a key role in the defeat of the Prussians at Jena and Auerstedt, then also at Soldau, Deppen, Eylau, and esp. Friedland. Also fought in the campaigns from 1808 to 1811 in Spain and Portugal, where he had a falling out with Masséna and was divested of his command. Returned for the Russian campaign in 1812, where he showed extraordinary courage during the retreat. Negotiated with the allies in 1814 after the fall of the empire but had no real place during the restoration. Recalled to help repel Napoleon during the hundred days but went over to Napoleon instead. Renewed his loyalty to the Bourbons thereafter but was later denounced and convicted in a sham trial. Executed on 7 December 1815.
Nicolai, Christoph Friedrich (1733–1811): Berlin bookseller, publisher, editor, literary critic, writer. A native of Berlin, Nicolai took over his family’s bookselling business in 1758. He had gotten to know Gotthold Ephraim Lessing and Moses Mendelssohn in 1754 and during the 1780s and 1790s was part of the Berlin Wednesday Society, which discussed largely political questions, and also of the Monday Club, which attracted artists, scholars, and writers. He remained an advocate of rationalism and the Enlightenment, often vehemently pillorying or parodying religious intolerance (e.g., in his novel Das Leben und die Meinungen des Herrn Magister Sebaldus Nothanker [1773–76]) and newer developments in literature and philosophy e.g., Goethe’s Die Leiden des jungen Werthers, Herder’s advocacy of folk songs, Kant’s philosophy, the entire project of Romanticism (the latter in his Vertraute Briefe von Adelheid B. an ihre Freundin Julie S. ), and Fichte’s philosophy. But he gradually fell behind the times and became the target for satirical barbs himself. In general, however, he understood literature primarily as an instrument serving practical, useful social and moral goals, which is why he tended to demand clarity and comprehensibility in both literary and scholarly discourse and consistently opposed intolerance, superstition, and any abandonment of reason to feeling. His journal Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek was published for forty years (1765–1805), providing a platform for reviewing countless books as the representative journal of the Enlightenment. He also published a massive, twelve-volume account of his travels through German and Switzerland (Beschreibung einer Reise durch Deutschland und die Schweiz im Jahre 1781 (1783–96). (Portrait: 1790, by Ferdinand Collmann after Anton Graff; Gleimhaus Halberstadt.)
Nicolovius, Friedrich (18 May 1768–2 November 1836): Publisher in Königsberg. From 1784 studied in Königsberg, afterward learning the book trade under Friedrich Hartknoch in Riga. From 1787 back in Königsberg, where he opened a bookstore and publishing business in 1790 and published the Königsbergische gelehrte Anzeigen (1791–92). Authors he published include Kant, J. G. Hamann, C. J. Kraus, F. H. Jacobi, Kotzebue, and J. H. Voss, and for a time his bookstore enjoyed regular noontime gatherings of Königsberg intellectuals. He was not, however, particularly shrewd in business matters, and was forced to sell his firm in 1818. From 1801 married to the eldest daughter of the bank director Crüger in Königsberg, also keeping the orphaned children of his widowed sister for nineteen years. His wife, with whom he had four children of his own, died in 1810 after being ill for only nine days with nervous fever.
Niebuhr, Karsten (Carsten) (1733–1815): Scholar, explorer. From 1757 studied mathematics and astronomy in Göttingen. From 1761 a member of the expedition to Egypt, Yemen, Syria, and India that the Danish government financed at Johann David Michaelis’s behest. Returned in 1767 as the only survivor of this expedition, traversing Mesopotamia, Iran, and Asia Minor on the return journey to Germany, after which he wrote up his accounts of the journey in Beschreibung von Arabien, aus eig. Beobachtungen etc. (Copenhagen 1772), Eng. Travels through Arabia, and other countries in the east, performed by (Karsten) Niebuhr, trans. Robert Iteron (Edinburgh 1792), and Reisebeschreibung nach Arabien und anderen umliegenden Ländern, 2 vols (Copenhagen 1774–78); vol. 3, Reisen durch Syrien und Palästina (Hamburg 1837). A close acquaintance of Johann David Michaelis in connection with that expedition. Father of the historian Barthold Georg Niebuhr (1776–1831).
Niemeyer, August Hermann (1754–1828): Theologian and pedagogue, from 1787 married to Agnes Wilhelmine, née von Köpken. Great-grandson of the Pietist and pedagogue August Hermann Francke. From 1771 studied philosophy, theology, and classical philology in Halle. From 1779 associate professor, from 1784 full professor of theology, later also founder and head of the university’s pedagogical seminar, from 1785 co-director and from 1799 director of the orphan’s school founded by Francke. After being taken to France in 1807 on Napoleon’s orders as a hostage, from 1808 he was chancellor and rector of the university in Halle. His scholarly work was generally oriented toward enlightened rationalism in biblical studies coupled with a strong orientation toward the Christian precepts. His Grundsätze der Erziehung und des Unterrichts (1796) was the first systematic presentation of pedagogical principles in Germany.
Nieper, Georg Heinrich (1748–1841): From Hildesheim, from 1767 studied in Göttingen under Georg Ludwig Böhmer, from 1772 in administrative offices in Hannover, from 1775 husband of Charlotte Dorothea née Böhmer.
Niethammer, Adolf Julius (21 August 1798–23 June 1882): Son of Friedrich Immanuel and Rosine Niethammer, born in Jena; studied jurisprudence and economics in Jena, Landshut, Erlangen, Heidelberg, attaining his doctorate; also an active member of student organizations; from 1826 (honorary) professor of political science in Munich, ennobled in 1830, from 1837 Bavarian imperial Rath, 1849–81 secretary of the Chamber of the Imperial Council.
Niethammer, Friedrich Immanuel (1766–1848): A native of Württemberg in Swabia, Niethammer studied at the Tübinger seminary, where he met Hegel and Hölderlin, thereafter becoming a private house tutor in Gotha. From 1790 studied philosophy and theology in Jena, passing his Habilitation (inaugural dissertation) in 1792 and becoming associate professor of philosophy in 1793 initially as a proponent of Kant’s, then of Fichte’s philosophy, becoming associate professor of theology in 1795 after Fichte succeeded Karl Leonhard Reinhold, who went to Kiel. Full professor in 1798. During these years, Niethammer was closely acquainted with Goethe, Schiller, and Fichte, even having Goethe as a private student in philosophy in 1795, their classes taking place during walks in the surrounding area. Co-edited the Philosophisches Journal with Fichte (till 1800). From 20 October 1797 married to Rosine Eleonore, née Eckard, widowed Döderlein, whence he came to own the building at Leutragasse 5 in Jena, into which Caroline and Wilhelm moved soon after their own arrival in Jena. A vocal supporter of Fichte during the latter’s atheism dispute in 1799. From fall 1804 professor and consistory councilor in Würzburg, where the Jena professors Schelling, H. E. O. Paulus, Gottlieb Hufeland, and Konrad Dietrich Martin Stahl. After Würzburg was ceded to the Grand Duke of Toscana, however (1806), Niethammer was transferred to Bamberg in an administrative capacity in connection to secondary schools, where he was able to procure a position for Hegel as editor of the Bamberger Zeitung. In 1808 he was appointed to an administrative position in Munich, where he was charged with reforming the secondary school system in Bavaria, one result of which was the division into humanistic Gymnasium and the Realschule (Catholic and conservative opposition derailed the plan later), though the latter still offered courses in philosophical disciplines, in connection with which Niethammer was able to secure Hegel’s appointment to the Nuremberg Realgymnasium in 1808. (Portrait: by unknown artist; Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften.)
Niethammer, Rosine Eleonore, née Eckard, widowed Döderlein (1770–1832): Daughter of Johann Ludwig von Eckardt (1732–1800), first law professor in Jena. From 20 October 1797 married to Friedrich Immanuel Niethammer, who through his marriage to her came into the possession of house at Leutragasse 5 in Jena, which she had inherited from her first husband, Johann Christoph Döderlein (1746–92), professor of theology in Jena. Sister of Henriette Vermehren.
Niethammer (sisters): Sisters of Friedrich Immanuel Niethammer: Friederike Karoline Katharina Niethammer (1771–1810); Wilhelmine Auguste Friederike Niethammer (born 1775); Augusta Christine Wilhelmine Niethammer (1776–1819); or Philippina Dorothea Niethammer (born 1778).
Nüsslein, Georg (1766–1842): From 1793 professor of philosophy and mathematics in Bamberg, in which capacity he advocated Kantian principles, especially the postulates of practical reason, even arguing (1801) that natural peoples at the lowest levels completely do without any concept of God. After being castigated by Franz Berg in the satire Lob der allerneuesten Philosophie (1802), he henceforth renounced publishing any of his own materials.
Nuys (Nuis), Elisabeth (Elisa) Wilhelmine (Minna) van, née Traub (married names: from 1784 van Nuys; from 1809 Bertheau; from 1827 Mumssen; possibly also Maltitz) (29 September 1770[69?]–after 29 September 1835): Concerning her first name: Josef Körner refers to her as both Minna and Elisa, but primarily (esp. in Krisenjahre) as Minna (as she does herself); Wilhelm Schlegel refers to her early as Elisa, later (in Vienna) as Minna. — A native of Bremen and even as a very young girl known for her exemplary beauty. Her father married her off to forty-six-year-old Rudolf van Nuys when she was fourteen years old (“and a few weeks,” so the memoirs of her daughter Elise). Her first child, Elise, was born in 1785 on her husband’s estate, Julianenberg near Aurich (the Wiedemanns knew her later in Kiel), the parents having moved to Julianenberg in 1784. Of three later children, only her second daughter, Henriette, lived through infancy. In 1786 she convinced her husband to buy a house in Bremen, where they then spent most of their time, she, still celebrated for her radiant beauty, living in high style and enjoying an extremely active social life. She and her family spent 1796 in England, then in Berlin, after which her husband agreed to a divorce, she then moving to Braunschweig, where, as was her custom, she presided over a socially popular house and began preferring the company of writers, including Johann Joachim Eschenburg, whose long acquaintance with Wilhelm Schlegel and his family may have prompted him to have her make a side-trip to Jena to seek out Wilhelm out during her trip to Weimar in the summer of 1799. Madam van Nuys apparently eventually had a serious affair with Wilhelm Schlegel, much to Caroline’s irritation, her grandson even alleging in his memoirs that Wilhelm proposed to her. From 1801 she lived in Hamburg, where she socialized with Friedrich Gottlob Klopstock and Matthias Claudius as well as the painter Wilhelm Tischbein (the “Neapolitan”), who lived in Eutin. She then moved permanently to Oldenburg, where she continued her acquaintance with writers, including the Ossian-translator Christian Wilhelm Ahlwardt, and also socialized at court. After trips with her daughter and her fiancé to Hamburg, Kiel, and Copenhagen, she suddenly appeared in Vienna in late 1807, where Wilhelm Schlegel introduced her to Madam de Staël and where she had access to the best salons, including that of Eleonore von Flies (née von Eskeles). She also, however, had trouble with the police in Vienna, who were suspicious of her contacts with, among others, the French ambassador. In late January 1809 there, she married an old (and older: 74 years old) friend, the businessman François Diederich Bertheau (29 April 1734–3 June 1826) from Hamburg. From 12 June 1827 married to Johannes Mumssen (1774–21 April 1830), senior auditor for the Hamburg garrison. — Concerning her relationship with Wilhelm Schlegel and Caroline, as well as more information on her biography, see the supplementary appendix Minna van Nuys: Caroline’s Rival.