Gellert, Christian Fürchtegott

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Gellert, Christian Fürchtegott

(krĭs`tyän fürkh`təgôt gĕl`ərt), 1715–69, German poet and moralist. His best-known works are Fabeln und Erzählungen (1746–48, tr. Fables and Other Poems, 1850), the novel Leben der schwedischen Gräfin von G–––––– (1747–48, tr. The History of the Swedish Countess of G––––––, 1752), and the collection of hymns, Geistliche Oden und Lieder (1757). His emphasis on simplicity and heartfelt expression made him one of Germany's literary and spiritual arbiters. Lessing, Klopstock, and Goethe were his students. His poems were set to music by many composers, among them C. P. E. Bach, Haydn, and Beethoven.

Gellert, Christian Fürchtegott

 

Born July 4, 1715, in Hainichen; died Dec. 13, 1769, in Leipzig. German author.

Gellert preached about the observance of religious duty and the practice of family virtues in his Lectures on Morality (1770) and Spiritual Odes and Songs (1757; Russian translation, 1785). In the spirit of temperate burgher enlightenment he mocked the arrogance of the nobles and false learning in Fables and Tales (vols. 1-2, 1746-48). His were the first attempts to create a German bourgeois comedy (The Sick Wife, 1747) and an enlightenment novel (The Life of the Swedish Countess of G***, 1746; Russian translation, 1792).

WORKS

Sämtliche Schriften, vols. 1-10. Berlin, 1856.
Sämtliche Fabeln und Erzählungen, vols. 1-3. Leipzig, 1867.
In Russian translation:
Basni i skazki, parts 1-2. St. Petersburg, 1785-88.

I. V. EFIMOV