August Wilhelm Schlegel (since 1815: von Schlegel) was born on September 8, 1767 in Hanover. After studying theology and philosophy in Göttingen and a four-year stay as a tutor in Amsterdam, the son of a general superintendent came to Jena, where he became a professor of philosophy in 1798.
From 1798 to 1800 he published the magazine „Athenaeum“ together with his brother Friedrich Schlegel and also contributed to Schiller's Horen und Musenalmanach. In 1801 he went to Berlin, where he lectured on the history of classical and romantic literature.
In 1804 he left Berlin in the company of Madame de Staëls. He spent the next 14 years at their country estate at Coppet or traveling. After Madame de Staël's death in 1818 he accepted a professorship for literature and art history in Bonn.
He played an important role in establishing Romance studies and Indian philology in Germany. As a translator, he made a name for himself in Italian, Spanish and Portuguese literature; however, his main achievement is the translation of 17 of Shakespeare's plays. He died in Bonn on May 12, 1845.