Opitz, Martin

Opitz, Martin

(mär`tĭn ō`pĭts), 1597–1639, leader of the Silesian school of German poetry. His influence as poet, critic, and metrical reformer was widely recognized during his time; he was ennobled as Opitz von Boberfeld by Emperor Ferdinand II in Vienna. Opitz's poems, written during the Thirty Years WarThirty Years War,
1618–48, general European war fought mainly in Germany. General Character of the War

There were many territorial, dynastic, and religious issues that figured in the outbreak and conduct of the war.
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, reflect shifting religious and worldly loyalties; Lob des Krieges-Gottes [in praise of the god of war] preceded only briefly Trost Gedichte in Widerwertigkeit des Krieges [comfort poems in troubled war times] (1633). Opitz's greatest contribution to the literary arts was his Buch von der deutschen Poeterey [book on German poetry] (1624). His translation of Rinuccini's Dafne became the libretto for the first German opera.


See study by B. Ulmer (1971).

Opitz, Martin


Born Dec. 23, 1597, in Bunzlau; died Aug. 20, 1639, in Danzig. German poet, classicist, and art theorist.

Opitz studied law and philology in Heidelberg and was in the diplomatic service of various princes. In his treatise Aristarchus (1617), he called on Germans to study and perfect their native language. In Buch von der deutschen Poeterey (1624) he provided a theoretical basis for the use of syllabotonic versification, which had become firmly established in German poetry. His poetry, written mostly to illustrate his theory, was based on the traditions of the classics and the Renaissance. Opitz introduced new forms, furthered the German literary language, and helped free poetry from antiquated medieval traditions. His best work is the narrative poem Trostgedichte in Widerwärtigkeit des Krieges (1633).


Gesammelte Werke, vol. 1. Stuttgart, 1968.


Purishev, B. Ocherki nemetskoi literatury XV-XVII v. Moscow, 1955.