Poet, philosopher, historian and dramatist. Born in Marbach a. Neckar, his childhood and youth were spent in relative poverty although he attended both village and Latin schools. Coming to the attention of Karl Eugen Duke of Wuerttemberg led him into entering the Karlsschule Stuttgart in 1779 where he eventually studied medicine. While at the school he wrote his first play ‘Die Raeuber’ which was first performed in Mannheim in 1781, which led to his arrest and his being forbidden to publish any further works. He fled Stuttgart in 1783 arriving, via Leipzig and Dresden, to Weimar where he met Goethe who convinced him to return to playwriting. He and Goethe founded the Weimar Theatre, which became the leading theatre in Germany. He had four children and his last surviving relative died in Baden-Badenin 1947.