Chamberlain, Houston Stewart

BORN 9 Sep 1855, Portsmouth, Hampshire - DIED 9 Jan 1927, Bayreuth, Bayern
GRAVE LOCATION Bayreuth, Bayern: Stadtfriedhof (ashes)

Son of the British admiral William Charles Chamberlain. After his mother's death he grew up at Versailles with his grandmother. In Cannes he met Anna Horst, whom he married on 5 May 1878 in Geneva.

From 1879 onwards he studied natural sciences in Geneva, where he obtained a bachelor's degree. In 1882 he visited the Festspiele in Bayreuth, then still presided by Richard Wagner himself. He immediately became a lifelong admirer of Wagner.

From 1884 until 1889 he studied plant physiology in Dresden, where he also read history, philosophy and music. He continued his studies in Vienna, where he decided to become a writer. In 1896 he published a monography on Wagner.

In 1899 "Die Grundlagen des 19. Jahrhundets" ("The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century") was publised. This work was influenced by Gobineau and Wagner and in it he opposed global systems like the Catholic Church, socialism and capitalism. It was also anti-Semitic. Emperor Wilhelm II admired his work and invited him several times to his court.

In 1905 he published a work on Kant and in 1909 he married Wagner's daughter Eva von Bülow (he had divorced Anna in 1906). Soon after his marriage to Eva he fell seriously ill and became partly immobilized. Now he dictated his works and Eva wrote them down. In 1912 a work on Goethe was published and in the First World War he wrote propaganda against England. In 1915 total sales of his "Grundlagen" book reached 100.000 copies.

He became a German citizen in 1916 and he published more books on racial questions. On 30 Sep 1923 he met Adolf Hitler in Bayreuth, whom he regarded as a possible saviour of Germany. In 1927 he died and Hitler attended his funeral. His correspondence with Wilhelm II was published in 1928. His honorary citizenship of Bayreuth was formally cancelled in 2013.

• Wife: Bülow, Eva von (1908-1927, Bayreuth, Bayern)

Related persons
• was influenced by Gobineau, Arthur de
• wrote about Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von
• wrote about Wagner, Richard
• influenced Weininger, Otto


The grave of Houston Stewart Chamberlain at the Stadtfriedhof in Bayreuth.
Picture by Androom (24 Jan 2006)


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Chamberlain, John Henry

Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 22 Feb 2022