Bürger, Gottfried August

Bürger, Gottfried August

Bürger, Gottfried August (gôtˈfrēt ouˈgo͝ost bürˈgər), 1747–94, German poet. He is best known for his ballads in folk-song style; the famous Lenore (1773) was widely translated and had far-reaching influence. Bürger edited and wrote for the Göttingen Musenalmanach and taught aesthetics at the Univ. of Göttingen. He translated many works of Homer, Shakespeare, and others, as well as the famous stories of Baron Münchausen. His unconventional approach to poetry was severely criticized by Schiller.
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Bürger, Gottfried August


Born Dec. 31, 1747, in Molmerswende; died June 8, 1794, in Göttingen. German poet. Son of a pastor. Received a legal education.

Bürger was one of the spokesmen for the ideas of Sturm und Drang. Using folklore traditions, he created the genre of the serious ballad, which was new to German literature (Lenore, 1773, Russian translation by V. A. Zhukovskii and free translation by P. A. Katenin entitled Ol’ga; The Wild Hunter, 1786; and others). Burger’s hostility to the feudal system was manifested strikingly in his poem The Peasant to His Most Illustrious Tyrant (1773), in epigrams (The Nobleman and the Peasant, The Coat of Arms), and in the satirical episodes of a novel about Münchhausen (1786, a reworking of the book by R. E. Raspe). A supporter of the Great French Revolution, Bürger denounced the reactionary coalition of the European monarchs and called upon the German people to refuse to participate in the war.


Werke und Briefe. A selection published by W. Friedrich. Leipzig [1958].
In Russian translation:
[Stikhotvoreniia.] In Nemetskie poety v biografiiakh i obraztsakh. Edited by N. V. Gerbel’. St. Petersburg, 1877. Pages 112-25.
Udivitel’nye prikliucheniia barona Miunkhgauzena. Moscow, 1956.


Reiman, Reiman, P. Osnovnye techeniia v nemetskoi literature 1750-1848. Moscow, 1959. Pages 178-84, 196-97.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.