Meyer was born and spent his entire life in Switzerland, except for short-term trips to Italy, France, Germany. The son of a wealthy and ancient patrician family, he grew up in the country, which in the first quarter of the nineteenth century was one of the most conservative and backward countries of Europe. To a certain extent on the work of Mayer has affected the features of his life's destiny and character traits: isolation, fear of life, which he learned so late, heavy heredity. Hence the interest in the "night-sides" of the human soul, the tragic images and situations.
German poet and novelist, son of the Zurich statesman. R. in Switzerland, in one of those Protestant patrician families, who, after having lost the democratic constitutional reform in 1831 of political dominance, still retained its privileged position. The young Mayer was in painful search of a calling. He hesitated between poetry and painting. Choosing poetry for a long time he didn't know what lang. to give preference to German or French, the Crimea was owned as a native language. His Outlook and views on art developed under the sign of a young bourgeois realism of the 40s, the Glorification of human existence and the desire to make it more earthly, hedonistic materialism, anthropological interpretation of history was a prerequisite and remained important elements of the work of Mayer. Man, financially independent, well-travelled, he turned to writing only at a more Mature age, worked slowly, did not joined any school and rejected any political, social, moral and educational function of literature; he stood for bestintentioned "epic objectivity" to-heaven borrows its material exclusively from history. Meyer prefers the tumultuous era of uplift, for instance. the Crusades, the Renaissance, the reformation, a time of religious struggle, the 30-year war, and includes in the circle of his stories of such historical figures as Alexander the Great, Caesar, Charlemagne, the Borgias, Gustavus Adolphus, Frederick II, etc. above all this artist-Patricia fascinated by the Renaissance. Her strong-willed tension, heroically draped depravity, the temptations, the vibrations, its secular festivity, joy gesture and ennobled greed, its Epicureanism, the cult of geniuses and heroes — abundance, artistically organized, as stated in his aesthetic credo, to-ROE, he is investing in are framed by the Novella "the Wedding of the monk" in the mouth of Dante. Art Mayer aristocratic, but not decadent. His anti-clerical way of thinking, immoral and anti-Christian worldview of a secular person, farewell with all kinds of metaphysics, characterized by the apotheosis of man-the sovereign, the Superman. Art Mayer is deployed in contradictions: full of optimism of the bourgeois ascent, he at the same time turning away from its specific content and its foundations. Bourgeois civilization scares him its technological progress with its smoke and soot. Experience of capitalist reality fed by his melancholy, to a swarm was so inclined, this last-of patrizietta, barely prisposobleniya to new conditions of life. Although Mayer and not crying (as the Sustainer, FR. T. Fisher, Hammerling) "good old time", he committed, like Wagner, to move people of the ruling classes with all periodontally his feelings and sentiments in the past, historically, to disguise it.
"Bestandenlijst" Mayer breaks for his veneration of Protestantism in a wreath of romances, "the Last days of Hutten" , the novel "uerg ENAC"  and in smaller works like "Amulet" and "the song of the Huguenots". Part, to-ROE he took as an artist in the so-called. "Kulturkampf'e" (the struggle of Bismarck's Germany against the papacy), was passionate and determined. After the Prussian victories of 1870-1871 he was for some time under the influence of Bismarck's policy and German state-ideas. Master of the epic form, stingy, strict, experienced in composition and in the art of words, organically assimilated foreign samples (Merimee), Mayer brings the traditional form of the novel to perfection. In this genre he has acquired, along with Gottfried Keller and Storm, the value of a classic. The specifics of the novels he sees in the extraordinary main psychological motive, and in the extraordinary combination of motives, he subordinates. In contrast, "professors-novelists" of his time (Hammerling, F., Dana, G. Ebers) he always animates its small, alien pedantry in detail, but the strikingly colorful, vital truthful picture of the history of culture the exciting drama and breathtaking image and emotional experiences. In the short story the episode "extraordinary event," in the subtle playing of the interaction between internal and external conflict is the consummate power of Mayer. The highest achievement you put in this art that Otto Ludwig calls a "low mentality" (Kleinpsychologie), you read the novel "the Holy", dedicated to the relationship of Thomas Becket to Henry II of England. The same artistic richness characterizes a ballad Meyer. In the lyrics to reveal her ordeal, Meyer resorts to symbolism.