Educated in theology and philology at the University of Jena, Musaeus received his Master's degree and began preaching in Eisenach, although not formally ordained. When he was unable to obtain a formal appointment, he turned to literature. In 1760, he published German Grandisson, a parody on Richardson's Grandisson. In 1763 he became the tutor to the pages at the court of Weimar and in 1770 took a professorship at the Gymnasium there. In 1779, he published Physiognomical Travels, another excellent satire which was an instant success. He then began to collect traditional Germanic tales and in 1782, published five volumes of Volksmarchen, another hugely successful and popular work. Musaeus suffered from chronic heart problems and this caused his death in 1787. His other works include numerous tales which were subsequently translated into English by Thomas Carlyle.
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