Bodmer, Johann Jakob

Bodmer, Johann Jakob

(yō`hän yä`kôp bōd`mər), 1698–1783, Swiss critic, poet, and editor. He translated Milton's Paradise Lost and Middle High German poetry. Inspired by the Spectator, Bodmer published, with J. J. Breitinger, the critical journal Discourse der Mahlern (1721–23), which greatly influenced 18th-century German poetry. Bodmer, who championed Klopstock, Wieland, and Herder, is famous for his argument with Gottsched, whose rationalism he countered with an essay (1740) on fancy in poetry.
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Bodmer, Johann Jakob


Born July 19, 1698, in Greifensee; died Jan. 2, 1783, in Zürich. Swiss critic and poet.

Bodmer was the son of a pastor, and he studied theology. In 1721, together with J. Breitinger, he founded the weekly Die Diskurse der Mahlern, which dealt with questions of literature. In his book A Critical Examination of the Miraculous in Poetry (1740), Bodmer, who was waging a polemic against J. C. Gottsched, went beyond the limits of rationalistic concepts about the essence of art; he recognized the role of feeling and imagination in folk poetry. Bodmer published part of the Nibelungenlied, songs of the Minnesingers, and Old Swabian and Old English ballads. He also translated J. Milton’s Paradise Lost into German.


Schriften. Selected by Fritz Ernst. Frauenfeld-Zurich, [1938].
Meisterwerke deutscher Literaturkritik, vol. 1. Berlin, 1956.


Wehrli, M. Bodmer und die Geschichte der Literatur. Frauenfeld, 1936.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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