Andreas Gryphius — 64 ranks as the first of this school ; but he had a leaning towards mysticism and superstition. Franz Horn describes these would-be poets admirably, in the following sentence: "Sie wollten die Farbe noch farbiger, den Ton noch tSnender, das SchOne noch schOner haben als schOn. Darum entschwand ihnen das SchOne.
The entire German nation, at this time, was so infected with French modes of expression and habits of thought , that even that illustrious founder of a new school of philosophy — Leibnitz — composed several of his works in that language. Great praise, however, is due to the philosopher Christian von Wolf, - who not only did much for the general improvement of his vernacular tongue but enriched the philosophical department of it in particular with many new- technical expressions.
Wolf was a man of enlightened ideas, and one who sensibly quickened the intellectual progress of his age. His doctrines were too free for the theologians; who intrigued with the pietist parties of Halle, until an edict banished him from the uaiversity. We arrive at last at the time when the poetry of Germany aroused itself from the state of servile imitation into which it had fallen ; and two men appear, who do their utmost to effect a change.
These men are Bodmer and Gottsched.
This sect, however inferior in point of poetical talent, were without a rival, until Gtottsched arose at Leipzig and Bodmer St Zurich; and high time it was that these two should come forward, the poetry of Germany being then in a most deplorable state. Religion was in the hands of Mystics and "Ver- finsterer", as in the. However, a step was at last made in the right direction, and Germany became more intellectually active than it was before.
Gottsched of Leipzig and Bodmer of Zurich severally sncceeded in establishing schools of their own, and a great literary war was fonght between these writers. Grottsched and his school The first Saxon School were mere copyists of the French style of composition, whilst Bodmer — and, J. Brettinoer — turned more to the works of antiquity and the study of English authors , particularly Milton, for the formation of their literary taste and character.
A paper war was carried on in their respective journals, which at length ended favourably to the Swiss school; which, although the smaller party , obtained a splendid victory over its antagonist. The chief characteristic of this period is its imitation of French literature. The vernacular tongue was cleared and sifted from the rubbish that had weighed it down, and grew gradually more and more refined, until at last the dialect known as the "Hochdeutsch" was the sole medium of books and of corres- pondence, all other idioms being banished from the stage of literatnre.
In this body of men, and in the school they founded, we find, individually and collectively, the type of another order of writing, tending to raise the literature, and language of Germany. Rabener under- takes the didactic, supplying prose - satije , Zachariae givea heroics and satires, Gellert is the fabulist, Giseke devotes his talents to song, Gaertner does his best in criticism, J. Was born the 17th of September , at Wachan, near Leipzig. He studied the law at Leipzig, where he became intimately acquainted with Gellert.
He died the 22nd of March, , at. Was born on the 4th of July, , at Haynichen, a little town in the Saxon mountains. He studied theology and philosophy at Leipzig, and became in Professor at the same University. He died on the 13th December, Almost every thing that he wrote was more or less adapted for the body of the people.
His language was so simple that no one could fail to understand him. Some of his hymns are remarkably fine, and have even become standard Kirchenlieder. And his "Auf Gott und nicht auf meinen Bath", is quite a favourite hymn throughout the whole 'of Germany. His : "Die beiden Schwarzen" — "Rbynsolt und Lucia" etc. Of even less value are the comedies of this writer, which to say the truth, are absolute failures. His style is very faulty, on account of the frequent provincialisms he employs.
Kaestner was a celebrated and acute mathematician, besides being the author of a great many epigrams, never likely to grow out of date. Even those epigrams which refer to local and personal occasions, and are scarcely to be understood without a key, are as caustic than anything in the whole circle of German literature. Nor are his elegies, odes, and songs without merit. Born the 1st of May, , at Frankenhausen, where he studied the science of Jurisprudence.
He is the last author we have to mention as a member of this school. In these descriptive poems he took Thomson as his model. Indeed he almost always copied English authors. He also translated into german, Milton's "Paradise Lost," in which, however, he may be considered to have failed. Goethe said of him : " er stempelte seine Werke zu schStzbaren Dokumenten fiir die Folgezeit, worunter die damalige Lebens und Sinnesart anschaulich hervortritt.
A tolerable fabulist or versifier was hailed with delight and spoken of with enthusiasm. But few of those who were then called poets would now be considered as such. Who was bom at Hamburg, on the 23rd of April, Occupies rather a high place among the writers of this period ; and althoagh not a poet of the first calibre, he wrote, never- theless, with considerable ease and grace.
The language of Hagedorn is simple and correct. It is on this account that contemporary critics speak very highly of him; thus Wieland styles him, — "the poet, who, in the single article of refinement of style, has no worthy successor in the literature of any country; the author, who has wrought up his productions to the highest degree of finish ; the man, whom few, if any, writers will ever equal in the matter of industry.
They are told with a liveliness and vigour truly characteristic. His " Seifensieder" soap-boiler is an excellent poem ; few of his works have been more successful and popular. Indeed we must, in historic justice, allow, that Hagedorn, acting in concert with Haller, did more for the amelioration of the style of this period, than all the other writers put together.
Hagedorn is the poet of men and manners ; Haller, of nature and her scenes. Hagedom's "Lehr- gedichte" are valuable fragments of moral truth; though he had more talent, certainly, for simple lyric poetry. His epigrams, are scrupulously correct; so much so, as to have been accepted as models, in those times.
In more extended metrical compo- sition, — the long ode, for example, — he was not so successful. Indeed, Hagedorn's talent was scarcely equal to this class of composition. But in smaller efforts, — in little tales, for instance, — he, works with great clearness and skill: and indeed, his chief merits are to be found here. Hagedorn died on the 28th of October, Was born on the 16th of October , at Bern.
In the year , he became professor of medicine at Goettingen. So great was his fame, that the emperor Francis I ennobled him. He died on the 12th of December Haller was one of the most accomplished and original men of this era. A poet, anatomist, physiologist, botanist, and man of letters, he seemed to be an adept in almost all the different branches of human enquiry. The epoch in which Haller first started as a poet, was a critical one for the resources of his genius; for be had to steer clear, on the one hand, of the false taste in literature, introduced by Lohenstein, and to beware, on the other, of falling into the error of a bombastic versification, then so much in fashion.
He therefore took Virgil, and modern writers of the English school, for his guidance. Haller's poetry is pervaded throughout by a didactic aim. The religions feelings and pious sentiments which animated him at all times , in his studies of nature , gave his descriptions an air of unstudied solemnity, and artless splendour. All his poems abound with ideas, some are remarkable for the beauty of their rhythm; though the moral is so habitually predominant, as to take off, in no small degree, from the aesthetical beauty of the main design.
Eleven editions of it were published during his life time. It was written during a progress over the Alps; so that nature herself must needs have suggested to our poet the scenery he so eloquently describes. His soul is inspired by a love for the ideal, and his glowing apprecia- tion of whatever is true, assists him to portray, in the quiet valleys of the Alps, that primeval innocence, which has long since vanished from the busy, bustling world. Profound, yet touching, are hip sorrows ; he sets forth the errors of the mind and heart in a strain of vigorous and almost bitter satire : but nature he copies with great zeal and with an unaffected grace.
Haller is great, bold, impetuous, and sublime; but that which constitutes the essence and reality of beauty, it has not, in his poems, been his fortune to attain. This poem, at any rate, may claim to be considered the forerunner of Elopstock's ''Messias. In one of his letters to Bodmer, Haller volunteers the ad- mission, that, "in himself, he is no poet at all; but that great quickness of observation, when a youth, had, to a certain extent, made him one " : in the truth of which assertion we feel bound to coincide.
The striking scenery that mountain regions afford, is given by him, while actually tra- Tersing their mighty steeps, with great fidelity and skill; and still more finely, and with even a larger measure of success, does he portray the manners and customs of those races, who dwell in the Alpine districts. Who was bom on the 2nd of April , at Emsleben, a small town near Halberstadt.
He was educated at the Leipzig univer- sity; where, in conjunction with Goetz and Uz, he became a follower of the Muses. Gleim attended Prince Leopold of Dessau, in the second Silesian war, in the quality of his secretary. Shortly afterwards, he obtained the secretaryship of the cathedral of Halber- stadt, which office he held for the space of fifty years, until his death February 18, It used to be the fashion indeed, to extol the poetical gifts of Gleim far above the real standard of their merits.
Lessing gives these "Kriegslieder" the honorable title of " Bardengesang ; " — no mean proof, this, of the high value they had won in his eyes. He died when chief justice, on the 12th of May, Uz produced a collection of odes and songs, which, although they rank among the higher compositions of his day, contain but little that would be satisfactory to us now.
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He took Horace for his model, and imitated the Roman lyrist as far as his abi- lities allowed him. That Uz was possessed of a certain degree of talent, no competent judge will ever think of disputing; for he evinced a turn for poetry, of which his "Theodicee" may be alleged as an indisputable sample; only he did not work up his powers to the point of even comparative perfection.
Though these two last named writers present so great a contrast to each other; and though so little consideration is now given to them, their historical importance remains undiminished. Wha ; Klopstock began, and Lessing and Herder continued, reached its maturity in the works of those two great geniuses, Goethe and Schiller. But Klopslock's was the master-mind that began this new era.
It was in his soul, says Fr. But with these principles he combined a talent without which his efforts would never have been as successful as they were. He endeavoured to give the German language a greater power of expression, and to infuse into it a stronger feeling of na- tionality : and in both he eminently succeeded.
In addition to this, Elopstock was the original founder of German metrics. He distinguished and adapted the principles and rules of ancient metre with a master's hand, and with the tact of a true poet. This gift neither Lessing nor Wieland possessed; and it was only Herder who could imitate it, until Goethe appropriated it to himself with the unmatched originality of genius.
Jt was, moreover, Klop- stock who used the Hexameter for the first time with real power and success. It was from the same sources whence Handel and Bach derived their musical renown, that Klopstock drew his poetical inspira- tion.
These are the main characteristics of Klopstock's writings ; and to them chiefly must be attributed the high eminence he obtained in German literature, as a classical poet. The idea of this poem was evidently suggested to Klopstock by the Holy Scriptures, where indeed he found his whole scheme unfolded.
All he had to do, was to surpass, as it were, the evangelic records, so far at least, as to exhibit in his transcript a more startling sequence of events, a greater diversity of characters, and more intricacy of plot; so that he might fashioa the whole into one glorious and homogeneous epic. To such as wish to form a due estimate of the ''Messias," we would recommend the perusal of those parts especially, wherein the distinctive quality of Klopstock 's muse exhibits itself with peculiar success, and where the great power of this writer is consequently most conspicuous.
Such portions are : " The Convocation before the High Priest,'' in the 4th Canto; the description of the early Christians in the 10th; the death of Mary in the 12th; the miracle of the Resurrection in the 14th; and the period of forty days intervening between that and the Ascension, in the 19th Canto.
The language of this magnificent epic is eminently well chosen and select, and is gradually wrought up more and more to the highest point of literary finish. Our author worked at it long and assiduously; it was almost a life's labour; and from this reason it is that we find the second part which was not completed until even more exquisite and elaborate than its predecessor, both in diction and style.
He was also a great lyric poet, and at the same time clas- sical in his style, blending, in his first odes especially, the genius of antiquity with the spirit of modem times. In this description of literature, Klopstock is certainly without a rival : in fact, he is the greatest ode-writer that any age can show, and may be styled the Pindar of modern lyric verse; whilst, in richness and depth of feeling he surpasses the har- monious Theban.
Klopstock is so thoroughly Grerman, so faithful to nature and yet so profound, that perhaps, no bard of our fatherland was ever, in these respects, his equal. They, indeed, are the least striking of all his productions. A dearth of incident, joined to a poverty of plot, and a hardness of diction, are very observable throughout the whole of them.
The most momentous epoch in the history of German literature is that which is comprehended in the time between the first appearance of Lessing and the death of Goethe. Within this 30 LESsnio. We must now therefore follow more minutely than hitherto the circumstances of its development, and the efforts of eaoh of the great poets in that belialf We begin with In strong contrast to Klopstock, stands Leasing, the second greatrefonner of Qennan literatnre, and the refonner, no less of taste than of art, aod of criticism.
In Klopstock we find the lyrical element predominant almost to excess : inLessing, on the contrary, we meet with a prose of the calmest and purest kind. Klopstock is imbued with an earnest belief in the truths of Christianity: Leasing, opposed tothe supremacy of any religion. But the critical acumen of Lessing, and his great knowledge of andent classical literature, gave him a far superior position to that of Klopstock. In fact Lessing became the real leader ofthe intellect of his age; and influenced alike theologians, philosophers, critics, poets and statesmen.
On the other hand we must acknowledge the impulse given to Germany from without, chiefly by the writings of Rousseau and Shakspeare. In the very centre of this intellectual revolution, we find Lessing, ever active, spreading his influence far and wide , directing taste, criticizing literature and art, making war upon theology and philosophy, and composing poetry and dramatic works. Was the son of a clergyman, and was born at Gamenz, the 22nd of January, He studied theology at Leipzig, in , hut the theatre in that town awakening in him a leaning toAvards the drama, he forthwith addressed himself to this department of letters.
Lessing when in Berlin, lived in intimate friendship with Nicolai and Mendelsohn. Danzel, Lessing, sein Leben und seine Werke. He died at Brunswick on the 15th. Lessing was the first of modem authors who combined the poetical Ideal with the poetry of real life; clearing his ground as he went on, and weeding oat antiqnated notions with a skilful hand.
In this labour, which we can easily imagine was a very difficult one, his genius proved his best assistance: sometimes he effected his object by critiques, which were perfect models in their way; sometimes by his own writings, which were types of excellence, no less in poetry than in prose. Lessing began his literary career by trying his hand here and there; to feel, as it were, his way into literature. These, his own'comedies, he severely criticized in his "Dra- maturgie;'' and in that criticism we can read the vigorous cha- racter of the critic.
Man erweiset mir zwar manchmal die Ehre, mich flir den Letzteren zu erkennen, aber nur well man mich verkennt. Aus einigen dramatischen Yersuchen, die ich gewagt habe, soUte man nicht so freigebig folgem. Die altesten von jenen Yersuchen sind in den Jahren hingeschrieben, in welchen man Lust und Leichtigkeit so gem fUr Genie halt.
Was in den neuem Ertragliches ist, davon bin ich mir selber bewusst, dass ich es einzig und allein der Kritik zu verdanken habe. Ich ftihle die lebendige Quelle nicht in mir, die durch eigene Kraft sich emporarbeitet, durch eigene Elraft in so reichen, so frischen, so reinen Strahlen aufschiesst ; ich muss AUes durch Druckwerk und ROhren aus mir heraus- pressen. Lessing felt deeply that his genius tended entirely towards criticism; and he early began to consider his original produc- tions as mere practical illustrations of what his criticism was.
And, even m France itself, Diderot made common cause with Lessing against the classical French tnigedies, and against Voltaire m particular. It is a most spirited and impressive production, no less characteristic than national, and, at its first appearance on the German stage, was reckoned a perfect phenomenon. The false rhetoric which we find in " Miss Sarah Sampson " has altogether disappeared, the dialogue is quick and vivid, and the characters personified are those of daUy life. There is no false poetry in this drama ; no imaginative fiction ; it is thoroughly national, and identified with Grerman customs and feeling.
B 5me remarks of it: "How faithfully are the characters sketched, — with what force of natural feeling! It is rather a poem in defence of toleration in religious matters, than a drama. It demonstrates to perfection how a Jew, a Mussulman, and a Christian, can and do equally perform their duty to humanity, and how toleration is the very first thing that ought to be introduced into religion. Nor was it without its weight upon the general body of German literature ; becoming, in point of metrical form, the model on which an immense mass of iambic tragedies were subsequently based.
Lessing's correct taste and profound artistic skill are mani- fested by his " Laokoon ;" a work which is remarkable for the beauty of its style, and the depth of its criticism. But, after, all, Lessing's true greatness lies in the fact of bis having created an entirely new path of criticism. And this, his "Kritik," became the basis upon which was to be es- tablished the palladium of our national literature. Lessing had dethroned the authority of the French school in the definition of art, and replaced it by that more sterling investigation and those truer principles of criticism which prevailed among the ancients.
For the purpose of illustration, he had for the first time drawn attention to the English, Italian and Spanish au- thors as models; and, since he had lived at Wolffenbuttel, he had pointed out the almost unknown treasures of ancient German literature. Eschenburg, Bertuch, Bodmer, and others were his assistants in this undertaking. The fruits of his labours appeared long afterwards, in the works of the romantic school.
It is incredible what trouble Lessing took to cultivate the barren ground of German literature. He began with badly paid translations ; sent articles to newspapers ; wrote criticisms ; made antiquarian researches ; and edited Journals and Reviews, and the works of old and new writers; until at last he reached the pre-eminent position he still retains. Langsam aber in forchtbare Spannung setzend, rttckt er mit seinem wohlgeordneten Heere heran. In his epilogue to this work Lessing wrote "Wir sind noch immerdie geschworenen Nachahmer alles Aus- ISndischen, besonders noch immer die unterthanigen Bewnnderer der nie genug bewunderten Franzosen.
He shewed that they had altogether mistaken the rules of the Greek phi- losopher; and, for the purpose of disphiying more efficiently the poverty of the French drama, contrasted it with the plays of Shakspeare ; demolishing the one class of writings with his powerful pen, at the same time that he raised the other: and pointing out the true art of the English dramatist, whose works had laid the foundation for a just appreciation of all future dra- matic composition.
The influence which Lessing exercised on the German Theatre in general will be understood when we point out that all that was done afterwards by Engel and Bamler at Berlin, by Dalberg at Manheim, by Goethe at Weimar, by Gotter at Gotha, by Klingemann at Brunswick, by Tieck at Dresden, and by Immermann at Dttsseldorf was the result of that powerful impetus which he originally gave. And now we have only to glance finally at one more of those powerful performances of Lessing which we find in his polemic writings. The first wanted to reduce religion to its mere moral laws, apart from any emotional feeling: the second took great pains to prove that Christianity was iden- LE88ING.
Lessing wished to mediate between all these parties; and thus involved himself in war with all. It was at this time that the renowned ''Wolfenblittler Fragmente'' made their appearance; which were, however, originally written by Bexmabus, who lived at Hamburg. These were answered by GoETz; and a paper war was originated between him and Les- sing, such as Luther had carried on before with Eck and Emser — a war of light against darkness.
Lessing also crushed, in his " antiquarisohe Briefe," Klotz, a Professor at Halle; one of those whose chief claim to notice was that he trifled with Horace and Anacreon in affected verses, but who had nevertheless the audacity to attack our author. From him he received a very strict religious education, which was afterwards continued in an establishment strongly tinged with pietistic principles.
Wieland showed considerable poetic talent, as early as nine years old; and at twelve he wrote both Latin and German verse with great facility. His studies were completed at Erfurt and Tubingen. Here he lived in intimate connexion with Goethe, HerdeT and Schiller. He died on the 20tb of January 1SI3. Wieland was the very reverse of Klopstock in thought and style: the latter being a kind of religions prophet— a Plato; the former, a clever acnsuHltst— an Aristippns.
Henasndtber a reformer, like Klopstock or Leseing, nor did be rise to the classical grandeiir of Groethe and Schiller. But he materially furthered the progress of Ciemian literature; and became, in- deed, an indispensable link in its historical chain of worthies. The inflnence which Klopstock had obtained by his great poem "der Uessias" Wieland achieved by his novels. Wieland made them both readable, and grace- ful; though not free from a slight tincture of the licentious- ness of the French school. His works were consequently read by the higher German public, who, at that time, despised German and patronized only French, literature.
His fancy too was luxuriant; and he told his story with great vivacity, wit, and humour. He was "the right man at the right time;'' and hence his popu- larity, and the high position conceded to him. His claims do not however end here. We must not only consider him as a writer of romances, but as a man of consi- derable attainments, by which he raised the standard of Grerman literature.
To obtain a dear and unbiassed insight into Wie- land's position, we must remember the conventional tone which Voltaire had given to French society, and the widely spread influence which that author had obtained over the whole con- tinent of Europe: — an influence which became especially powerful in Germany. It was therefore of considerable impor- tance that a man like Wieland should appear, qualified by his versatility of talent to express himself in the style then so much admired.
He opposed that which was foreign to the Geiman mind, whilst he retained the former elegance and lux- uriance of style and diction. He introduced by degrees the French, English, Italian, Spanish and old classical literature into Germany; and thus did more than any other writer of the period, to obtain currency for the German language, and to induce the upper classes to make use of it, in the place of French ; which had hitherto been the language in which they spoke, wrote and thought.
This version. Wieland followed the bad taste of the time which prevailed so much in England; and abridged and altered the text of Shakspeare; but yet what he did translate was creditable. He, further, introdaced the litera- tore of ancient. Greece and Rome to the German public, by transbiting the plays of Aristophanes, and Cicero's unrivalled letters. His translation of Horace was, however, the most ster- ling and successful This outline will give an idea of the ex- traordinary versatility ofWieland's talents, of his never ceasing industry, his works extend to 63 Volumes and of the ascen- dency be obtained over the public.
The impulse in this new direction he received during a lengthened stay with his friend the Count de Stadion, at whose house he first became acquainted with French literature and philosophy. Unvermerkt war er aus alien Klopstock- bodmerischen Theo- rien zn denen der Berliner hintibergesetzt.
An almost unrivalled fluency is uniformly discernible in these compositions. EBs "Oberon," completed in , h his chef-d'oeuvre ; there being in this poem a beauty that may be felt, rather than de- scribed. The whole poem is a perfect piece of poetic fancy; and is coloured with the most romantic hues. The Criticism of Goethe on Oberon is characteristic.
Gervinus characterises it thus: "Im nenen Amadis, wo Hamilton Vorbild ist, sucht der Held ein wirkHches Ideal, zusammengesetzt aus den Gestalten der Tugend und WoUnst; in dem freien Gang seines capriccio ftihrt uns der Uberall her plttndemde Poet zu den gemeinsten Stellen, die durchaus werith waren, einem Blnmauer und Heinse zum Ideal zn dienen, und durch ein ariostisches Geflecht von schltipf- rigen Scenen.
In the list of Wieland's prose works we must first record his "Don Silvio von Rosalva," finished in This is, in point of style, one of his most polished, and fluent novels and it ranks as the best fiction of his time. He pointed it out himself, as ''ein Beitrag zur Geschichte des menschlichen Verstandes. It touched on all the questions of the day, and reminds one of the ''Lettres Persanes " of Montesquieu, and the writings of Rousseau and Voltaire, which served Wieland more or less as models.
By these productions Wieland had placed himself in antagonism with the literary celebrities of his time. Theological teachers in the University prohibited the reading of these poisonous writings; preachers denounced them from the pulpits of Erfurt, during his stay there ; and to crown all, the Klopstock School at Goettingen, burned Wieland's works on Klopstock's birthday, It was only after the tone of Wieland began to change that Herder became his friend; after which, Klopstock and Voss, being convinced of his per- sonal worth and morality, as well as of his talents, became also more lenient and friendly towards him.
Wieland edited a German periodical "der deutsche Merkur," through which he aimed at educating the German public. He afterwards changed its title to that of the "attische Museum" ; aUthe latter portion of his life being exclusively devoted to clasaioal philology. At Jena he prosecuted the study of jurisprudence, and subsequently became the librarian of the elector Friedrich Carl Joseph, at Mainz.
He died on the 22nd of June , at Aschaffenburg. Heixse was a disciple of the Wieland school, but he even- tnally departed from the principles of his prototype. His "Kunst Roman," " Ardinghello," and "Hildegard von Ho- henthal" are works which follow the unrestricted promptings of a most voluptuous fancy. The sketches of character, and the delineations of nature, to be met with in these two works, are, however, most nervous and powerful ; though the various narratives have been left by their author in a fragmentary state. But we must, in justice to morality, say, that the voluptuous representations in which his novels abound, make them a dan- gerous kind of reading to weak minds and unformed characters.
On the other hand, we cannot help admitting, that the novel of " Ardinghello " contains a multitude of original and charming descriptions of natural scenery; while his observations upon the remains of ancient art are written with the same winning and extraordinary force of language. He became an officer in the Danish army in ; which, how- ever, he left, when Frederick 11 recalled all his subjects from foreign service. Kleist fought in as a colonel under General Fink at the battle of Kunersdorf, where he stormed the last battery of the Russians; in this sortie his right arm was disabled, so that he could only wield his sword with the left hand.
Rleist'a works are characterised by pleasant portraitures, 44 KLE18T. The poet takes his post uiK n a hill redolent with the perfume of spring flowers and describes from thence the beauties of the landscape which is spread be- fore him; giving us, in short, the history of a genial day iu spring. Kleist was also successful in other kinds of poetry; the elegiac for example.
In , he accepted the office of professor of sesthetics at the Military Academy of Berlin, and subsequently he became the director of the national theatre. He died on the Uth of April Ramler was gifted with poetical talents and apprecia- tion of the Beautiful, — so far, at least, as the successful embodiment of thought in words and landscape sketches would seem to indicate it. He was, after Klopstock, the greatest lyric poet of that age. Horace was his model ; and, accordingly, he wrote panegyrics upon Frederick the Great, his sovereign, exactly in the same way as Horace had done upon Augustus Caesar.
This occupation, however, was but little suited to his taste : in the end he broke off all connexion with commerce, and began to draw, to paint, and to write poems. Shortly after this, he left Berlin and returned to Zurich, where he was much be- loved and respected. He was a member of the grand council, and died on the 2nd of March 17S7. Gessner is one of the few Germans who have obtained renown as idyllic writers : not that he can be called a great poet : but be had a pleasant knack of expressing his thoughts in a soft and elegant flow of language. It de- scribes, amongst other things, how Love was the original inven- tor of shipping.
This work won for its author European fame, and, though somewhat monotonous, is written in a genial spirit, with much grace and naivete, with refined wit, and with great elegance and appositeness of allusion. It abounds also in pic- turesque colouring; and the costume of all its characters is strictly appropriate.
A companion-volume of "Idylls" came out in , together with " Briefe fiber die Landscbaftsmalerei. Gessner's "Tod AbeFs" first appeared in ; and was received with great favour by the religious world. The "Death ot Abel" is a beaatifnlly executed littla story, founded altogether upon the bible narrative.
Its pre- dominant character is that of an epic poem which pleases us by the delicacy which pervades it, no less than by the well conceived pictures it sets before us, which are coloured, so to speak, with taste and talent. He be- came, in , doctor of laws and counsellor of the Goyernment, at the city of Leipzig. He died on the 7th of July The fables of this author secured him a great popularity in Germany, and are read even to the present day.
Their chief recommendations are, excellent moral feeling and a powerful invention. We cannot say that we detect in them genius without taste, for genius alone can create great, though disproportionate beau- ties; and a noble work of art has seldom proceeded from the brain of genius, which a masterly hand might ncft have altered or improved.
But you will have observed," proceeds Lessing, "that many of Lichtwer's fables, as they come fresh from his hand, wear such a finished appearance, as to defy the most sagacious critic. They would seem to bespeak a man in whom both the Ideal, and the best rules for realizing it, lie enshrined. Lichtwer, however, falls off in very many of his fables to such an extent that he is hardly to be recognized as the same writer. He was a book- seller there. He was also a doctor of philosophy, and a member of the academies of Manich and Berlin.
He died on the 8th of January Nicolai has undoubtedly acquired considerable fame in Ger- man literature. His critical Reviews, which he usually edited himself, from the "Bibliothek der schOnen Wissenschaften," down to the "Allgemeine Deutsche Bibliothek;" had, for their principal object, the enfranchisement of human thought, com- bined with the advancement of theology and philosophy, and the promotion of a better taste in the "belles lettres.
His novels have no poetical value. The " Sebaldus Nothanker " of Nicolai is a tale in imitation of Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield; and by it, our author ranged himself under the standard of Lessing, declaring war against the orthodox party, and the Hamburger, Goetz.
It is the his- tory of a philosopher named Sebaldus, who is persecuted by the Dean, Stauzius; and the theme gives him plenty of op- portunities of indulging in sarcasm on the hypocritical clergy, and ridiculing the ignorant sectarians who raged against Lessing. But Nicolai's chief merits lie less in his own writings than in the assistance he gave to literature by his Journals, in which he was assisted by the most talented writers of the day such as Lessing and Mendelssohn. Whilst Poetry and Criticism were making a progress that tended to exalt the standard of the national literature, and were fast towering to a height, whence they could influence and command by their own self-created strength.
Wolf waa veiy active in Wagiag into nodee a madiematically eonfltraeted adienie, wbieh aimed at demoDstnting and defining Qndietlcally, the entire cirde of Genoan learning. Wolfs doc- trine was chiefly promnlgatod ftom the Cniversily diairs; and was even advocated, in oomiexion with dogmatism, from the polpit itself.
The brothers Baumoarhs, both professors of philosophy, combined the two systans of Wolf and Leibnitz The one established himself as the expoeiUx of tins duplex scheme in the university of Halle, where he had Cmsins for his antago- nist The other Alejl. Suleer — , justly deserves of attention as an orator and ssthetical philosopher. Mendelssohn endeavoured to aamplify and make evident those great practical truths, the belief in God and immortality, and to render them acceptable to the community.
He had, no doubt, the no- blest idea of philosophy; its highest aim was, in his eyes, to elevate the human mind, by raising it to the highest degree of culture. The form of this work is certainly one of high perfection; and has, indeed, quite a Socratic stamp. Abbt — , a sagacious, learned inquirer, of great ingenuity, whose works, — particularly " Vom Tode fUr das Vaterland," and " Vom Verdienst " — are full of fine thoughts, elegantly expressed. The first of these was written after the battle of Kunersdorf fought before the gates of Frankfort on the Oder in which the poet Kleist fell.
It was the first work of the kind which ventured on the dangerous ground of politics; and was held at that time in very high repute. He was in very narrow circumstances when he removed to Ber- lin in ; but succeeded in maintaining himself as a tutor, and studied very hard.
Latterly he became very intimately con- nected with Lessing and Nicolai. He died on the 4th of Ja-. Mendelssohn, without being strictly original, may well be classed among the profoundest philosophers of his day. He knew how to combine, philosophy better than any one else, with esthetics. He was a great critic as well as a thoughtful writer. His "Phaedon, oder tiber die Unsterblichkeit der Seele," in which he established, by moral arguments, the indestructibility of the soul, — keeping in view chiefly the doctrine of Socrates on this head, — placed his reputation on a firm basis.
Parchim, in Mecklenburg, on the 11th of September By the particular request of Frederick William III, king of Prussia, he removed in to Berlin, where he was made a member of the Academy of Science, and a considerable pension was granted to him. Thus set at ease in his circumstances, En- gel was enabled to devote himself solely to philosophy and the muses.
He died on the 28th of June , in the town in which he was bom. Engel was a writer of great penetration, and won reputa- tion in every class of composition which he attempted. Ger- many is much indebted to him for his introduction of popular philosophy. This, which was Engel's master -piece, is still highly prized.
Engel likewise wrote comedies, "Der Edelknabe" — "Eid und Pflicht" — which for a long while retained possession of the stage; but they are unimportant, and are now almost forgotten; which is also the case with his "Ideen zu einer Mimik. Novel writing was at a very low level in Grermany, com- pared to that at which it stood in France or England; though some of the earlier Grerman writers were very prolific in spite of their utter want of talent.
The novel "Arminius andThus- nelda" by Lohenstein, fills two large volumes in quarto, and novels of this description were by no means rare inflictions. The time, however, came, at last, when the novel was taken up more seriously; for whilst poetry and the drama were con- stantly on the rise, this department of literature had been quite neglected. Jung -Stilling, Lafontaine and Meissner, were fore- most in its amelioration. They derived their subjects chiefly from scenes in domestic life, and originated that class of fic- titious works, to which the name of "Famiiienromane" was given; which were, more or less, imitations of the then cele- brated though somewhat verbose English tales of Richardson.
One imitation thus followed another, until Goethe's "Wer- ther," and Miller's "Siegward's Leiden," gave novel-writing a new direction, and created a school of sickly sentimentalists who were, fortunately, soon superseded and forgotten. He died whilst professor of the College at Weimar, on the 28th of October His association of ideas is happy, his delineations spuited, and his language choice and graphic.
The design of Musaeus, in bringing out his " Physiogno- mische Reisen," was to ridicule the system of Lavater. His " Volksmahrchen der Deutschen" is his most popular produc- tion; it still occupies one of the highest positions in literature, and has, in fact, become quite a standard work. Even what seems, at first sight, mere profitless gossip gathered from the current of popular tradition, grows up, under the nursing of Musaeus, into charming and entertaining reading.
We mention this authoress in the same breath with Musaeus, as she has also written legends, or traditional compositions, which, owing to her fascinating vein of narrative, and descrip- tive j owers, are very pleasant to read. The same lady-like and elegant tone of mind also pervades her " Volksmahrchen," and historical novels. Her style is agree- able; and the tales she writes are attractive, from the refined sentiments with which they are garnished. The best and most successful of her novels is "Thekla von Thurn. He was the son of a poor tailor, who had not the means of giving him a liberal education, and therefore brought him up to his own business.
Jung Stilling studied medicine, and became a very famous oculist. He died at Karlsruhe, on the 23rd of March The amiable private character of Jung may be easily in- ferred from his writings; wherein, although showing himself rather a meagre thinker, he evinces a kind heart, and consi- derable powers of description. Jung Stilling wrote his own life, which he entitled " Jugend," " JUnglingsjahre," "Wander- Bchaft," "Hausliches Leben," "Alter;" and this autobiography is a very precious and rare composition.
In the whole circle of German literature there is scarcely a book to be found, written in such simplicity of style, and in such a tone of real- ity and truth, as this same life. Jung Stilling was a very peculiar phenomenon to poets like Herder and Goethe. The manner in which this man contem- plated life, — the way in which he related his fortunes and misfortunes, — his ideas respecting the ways of Providence, — all this appeared to our poets of a very peculiar cast, more like poetry than like real life, and modelled on no previous examp- les, and pretending to no artistic form, and yet, from its very originality, possessing fascinations of its own.
After Jung Stilling had written his life, he was incorporated among the learned professors of the university; he then founded a book-making establishment; and the manufactures he pro- duced were his mystical-religious novels, such as "Theobald," "Das Heimweh," "Geschichte des Herm von Morgenthau," and a goodly number more of the same class. He was the son of an artist. He applied himself to the study of theo- logy, and became Doctor of Philosophy and "Canonicus" at Halle, where he died, on the 20th of April All the novels of this writer are in the same strain, and turn either upon domestic happiness, or its reverse.
For a number of years, these works were quite the fashion, and pleased by their simplicity and by their amusing style. He expired on the 20th of February , when roaster of the high school at Fulda. Meissner was the author of a long series of historical no- vels. The style he adopted was polished and ornate; while his language was correct, and for the most part solemn. Meiss- ner was not deficient in the imaginative faculty; yet bis delineations of character were often affected, and improbable.
His " Skizzen " were, at the time, a favourite with the public. He studied at Gottingen, and died on the 6th of March , when Hanoverian inspector of the Dom-Schule. Knigge ranks far higher in our literature than the two preceding authors, although now pretty well forgotten. He was endowed with talents for comic literature, "Die Reise nach Braunschweig" is a humorous and racy narrative, and is the only one of his works which is still read. This " Reise " might certainly have been counted among the best comic- writings of Germany, if it had not been for the low style of its wit, and its bad taste.
Knigge adopted, in nearly all his works, a quasi-philosophical tone which, when minutely examined, proves to be a mere playing with words and senti- ments. His essay " Ueber den Umgang mit den Menschen " was once much admired ; but , taken as a whole , we cannot praise it ; as it advocates a kind of social Machiavelism, which gives a pleasant and elegant garb to that which is, in truth, mere selfishness and egotism. The fact is that what the book de- sires to teach cannot be learned out of its pages. It is not written for healthy minds. He died on the 30th of March Jacobs stands very high as a novel writer.
He was gifted, at the same time with much sagacity as a philosopher, and with a correct taste as a connoisseur of antiquities. His novel entitled " Rosaliens Nachlass," is his principal work of fiction ; and "Die beiden Marien" is also one of his prominent pro- ductions. The action in these pieces is gene- rally rapid, and the descriptions are managed with skill. They are novels especially adapted for the perusal of the fair sex ; — all the characters being conspicuous for depth of religious principle, combined with great warmth of feeling and love of truth.
He was the son of a poor farmer. Count Hohen- thal-Knauthayn took a fancy to him when a boy, and had him educated. After having finished his studies at Leipzig, he de- termined upon walking to Paris; but on the frontiers of Hesse he was seized by recruiting soldiers, and transported to Canada, to fight against the Americans. When he returned, he made two unsuccessful attempts to escape. Latterly he resided at Warsaw, serving as a Russian officer; — but eventually retired to Leip- zig. Petersburg, land thence into Finland and Sweden which he de- scribes in his "Mein Sommer. StUl, that very feature is indicative of such depth and sincerity of feeling, and such noble manliness of character, that we cannot help loving and venerating a man who thiis eminently asserts by his temperament and qualities, his German origin and de- scent.
Seume has written many very clever things in prose and poetry, which have procured him that high position in German literature, which he will, doubtless, always hold.
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His " Spazier- gang nach Syracus," projected and executed during a journey which he made on foot, in the year , through Austria, Italy, and France, forms a most entertaining volume ; and the same may be said of the narrative of his tour in Finland, which bears the title of "Mein Sommer im Jahre His autobiography, "Mein Leben," is both a remarkable and an entertaining book. It is written with much simplicity and kaivete; and is a vivid and accurate reflection of his personal character. His poetry is of the same tendency as all his other writings; — simple, unassuming, and manly. Adversity had soured the temper of this high-minded man; who was nevertheless a firm friend of liberty and honesty, and never shrank from openly confessing his sentiments.
While filling the office of li- brarian in the family of the minister von Briinau, a most ardent love of the fine arts appears to have taken possession of him, — excited, probably, in the first instance, by the treasure of ancient curiosities enshrined in the repository at Dresden. All his thoughts, therefore, now ran on Italy. Not very long afterwards, we find Winkelmann a convert to Boman Catholicism, and duly installed as keeper of antiquities, and secretary to the Vatican library.
During this employ- ment, his seeming friend, under the hope, probably, of appro- priating the glittering hoard he saw before him, treacherously assassinated him, on the 8th of June Winkelmann's labours in Rome contributed very largely indeed to the right appreciation of antiquities. He was imbaed with the spirit of the olden times, practised in criticism, and conversant with the Greek and Roman poets; and was thus, eminently fitted to discover and explain the treasures of an- dent art.
Winkelmann may be regarded as one of the most remark- able instances of successful aesthetical study and research. He it was who first began to examine minutely those mag- nificent remains of ancient art, which have been handed down to us from the classical age, to serve the present generation as the most perfect models of artistic design and execution. His life and soul, we may truly say, were in the Vatican.
He was to be seen, from morning till night, exploring and scm- iinizing the vast hoards of the productions of human genius there stored up, and often explaining, very graciously, to the SBSthetical connoisseur, the genius and spirit of those sculptures, amongst which he may almost be said to have lived. By these means he was gradually laying up materials for the accom- plishment of his memorable "History of Art," wherein he ex- plains and comments upon the illustrious monuments of class- ical sculpture with deep feeling, profound enthusiasm, and, at the same time, with almost Platonic sagacity.
His descrip- tions of the "Group of Laocoon," the "Torso in Belvedere,'! The fidelity of research which distinguished Winkelmann and the astonishing depth of his classical learning have combined to bestow a high value on whatever he wrote ; and have raised a lasting monument to his fame.
He became the director of the Dresden museum of ancient marbles, and of the celebrated stucco works of Mengs. He died in Alterthumskunde," possess a great value in the artistic world. Bdttiger's sesthetical criticisms are well con- ceived and skilfully expressed. He was the founder of the school of historians at GiJttingen. Then arose L.
Spittler — , a very talented writer, whose works have the high praise of being composed in the liberal spirit of modern Enrope. His language is concise, at the same time that its re- markable clearness reminds us of Tacitus and Thucydides, whom he evidently adopted as models. Spittler enchanted his hearers at the University, by his deep insight into history no less than by the magic of his speech; but when he ceased being a free man, he became a minister , he gave up writing. Whilst Jena took exclusively upon itself the ideal and aesthe- tic paths of science, GcJttingen became the seat of real and materialistic inquiry, and produced more historians than any other University.
Some of them, certainly, — such as C. Mei- NERS — , — never rose above mediocrity. Meiners was a foe to liberty and to the civilization of nations ; and dwarfed down at last into a mere bookmaker. Germanistik Internationales Referatenorgan mit bibliographischen Hinweisen. See all formats and pricing.
Online ISSN See all formats and pricing Online. Prices are subject to change without notice. Prices do not include postage and handling if applicable. Literatur von bis XVI. Deutsch als Fremdsprache Sachregister. Volume 58 Issue Oct , pp. Volume 57 Issue Oct , pp. Volume 56 Issue Oct , pp. Volume 55 Issue Oct , pp. Volume 54 Issue Oct , pp. Volume 53 Issue Oct , pp. Volume 52 Issue Oct , pp. Volume 51 Issue Jun , pp. Volume 50 Issue Jun , pp. Volume 49 Issue Jun , pp. Volume 48 Issue Jun , pp. Previous Article.
Titelei I. Verzeichnis der in diesem Heft ausgewerteten Periodika II. Allgemeines III. Germanische Altertumskunde IV. Allgemeine und indogermanische Sprachwissenschaft V. Germanische Sprachen VII.