Leitner was born in Graz to a family whose father was a member of the state council but
who died in 1805.
He showed early promise as a student of poetry which he preferred to his later studies in law
and history during which period he spent holidays in walking tours of the Steiermark. In
1824 he became a member of the teaching faculty in Cilli and, shortly thereafter, Graz. His
first poems were published in 1825 in "Gedichte" which led to his poetic talents being
observed by leading scholars of the day and to appointments in the local government
administration of which, in 1835, he became assistant secretary and, in 1837,
He married Karoline Beyer in 1846 but she died in 1854 in Pisa which led to his retirement
for reasons of health and his assumption of a rather sequestered life thereafter becoming
influenced by Jakob Lorber in theosophical themes, but he was, nonetheless, a frequent
guest in a literary circle that included Johann Gabriel Seidl, Franz Grillparzer and many
other noted literary members. He was appointed joint curator of the Joanneum museum
Some of his early poems were set to music by Franz Schubert.