August Friedrich Ferdinand von Kotzebue (1761-1819), German opera librettist and playwright for the popular stage, born in Weimar. A prolific writer, Kotzebue wrote superficial and often sensational melodramas and comedies noted for their portrayals of provincial life. Menschenhass und Reue (The Stranger, 1789-1790) and Die Spanier in Peru (The Spaniard in Peru, 1796) are among his greatest successes. As a political activist, Kotzebue was exiled from the court at Weimar and entered government service in Russia, from which, at a later time, he was exiled briefly to Siberia. As an emissary to Germany of Tsar Alexander I, he expounded reactionary political views that led to his assassination.