August Cojne

Article

July 1, 2022

August Coyne (Lutherstadt Wittenberg, May 12, 1778 - Berlin, November 14, 1853) was a German professor of geography and Germanic languages, as well as the founder of the Berlin School for the Blind.

Biography

Cojne was born on May 12, 1778 in Lutherstadt Wittenberg as the son of Johann Karl Cojne, professor of Greek at the University of Lutherstadt Wittenberg. At his parents' house, he received his education from his father and tutor. In 1798, Coyne began his studies at the University of Wittenberg. He graduated with his thesis on the history of geography, and for a short time he was a quasi-professor of geography at this university. His novel Höhenschichten-Karte (Topological Map of the Earth) made him famous in academic circles. In 1803, he moved to Berlin where he became a professor at a monastery high school. In Berlin, where he lived as a scientist, he was on friendly terms with Johann Gottlieb Fichte and the historian Johannes von Miller. He unsuccessfully applied for an expedition to the interior of Africa, and soon after that he entered the "inner world of the blind". In the field of ophthalmology, Coyne expanded his knowledge thanks to the founder of the first European School for the Blind, Valentin Hoy, in Paris. King Frederick Wilhelm III issued a decree on August 11, 1806, ordering the opening of a school for the blind in Berlin, and Coyne was entrusted with this task. On October 13 of the same year, classes began, and it was the first school for the blind in all of Germany. Thanks to the money of his friends, and also to his wealth, he managed to save the school in times of trouble. He was also professor of geography in Berlin in 1810. From the following year, 1811, and for the next ten years, until 1821, he taught German language and literature at the University of Berlin. He presented his educational skills in his Handbook on the Education of the Blind Belisarius (1808), as well as in the work GEA. An Attempt at Scientific Geography (1808). After the French occupation, he became a political journalist with a resolute patriotic stance. As a Germanist fascinated by romantic performances, Cojne was against the use of foreign words and worked on publishing the Poem about the Nibelugs, which he published in 1813 as a prose text. He died on November 14, 1853 in Berlin, after losing his sight in old age. He was buried in the cemetery of St. George