Johann Christoph Gottsched

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Johann Christoph Gottsched
BirthplaceJuditten, Brandenburg-Prussia

Gottsched, Johann Christoph


Born Feb. 2, 1700, in Königsberg; died Dec. 12. 1766, in Leipzig. German author and critic.

Gottsched was a representative of the early German Enlightenment. He edited some moralistic weeklies and collaborated with the theatrical company of Karoline Neuber. A convinced adherent of classicism, Gottsched argued against the extremes of baroque and for clarity and verisimilitude. His principal works were An Attempt at a Critical Poetics for the Germans (1730) and German Theater, by the Rules of Ancient Greece and Rome (vols. 1–6, 1741–45). German translations by Gottsched and his wife of the works of Corneille. Racine, and Molière played a definite role in shaping the German literary language and ideas of enlightenment. However, Gottsched’s servility to those in power and the abstract and lifeless nature of his classicism became a target of ridicule by G. E. Lessing and the writers of the Sturm und Drang school.


Gesammelte Schriften, vols. 1–5. Berlin, 1903–06. In Russian translation, in the book by N. V. Gerbel’. Nemetskie poety ν biogra-fiiakh i obraztsakh. St. Petersburg. 1877.


Reichel, E. Gottsched, vols. 1–2. Berlin-Schöneberg, 1912.


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For example, the playwright and critic Johann Christoph Gottsched, who had a love-hate relationship to opera, collected no fewer than 661 opera libretti, and compiled a chronicle of opera productions which could still serve Maul as u reliable resource.
The third, and briefest, part of Poetik und Rhetorik reviews the epochal shift in German reflections on language and literature that occurred in the first half of the eighteenth century, summarizing the stakes of polemical exchanges between Johann Christoph Gottsched, whom scholars have traditionally viewed as the Figur des Abschlusses alterer Entwicklungen, and his contemporary Johann Jakob Breitinger, whose reflections represent einer der Schritte hin zu einem epistemologischen Umschwung, weg von der Poetik hin zu Hermeneutik und Literaturwissenschaft.
What we shall find is that a relatively sophisticated version of Physical Influx emerges from 1732 to 1745 in the writings of Johann Christoph Gottsched, Martin Knutzen, and August Friedrich Crusius.