Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

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Lichtenberg, Georg Christoph


Born July 1, 1742, in Ober-Ramstadt; died Feb. 24, 1799, in Göttingen. German writer, publicist, and scientist.

Lichtenberg graduated from the University of Göttingen, where he became a professor of physics in 1769. He researched the spark discharge at the interface between the solid dielectric and gas. In 1795 he was made an honorary member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences. Lichtenberg wrote pamphlets opposing the physiological fabrications of Lavater and the excessive sentimentality of Sturm und Drang writers. The height of his Enlightenment satire was reached with Ample Commentary on the Engravings of Hogarth (1794–99) and Commentary on the Copper Engravings of Daniel Chodowiecki. In Aphorisms (1762–99; published 1902–08) he spoke out against serfdom and political fragmentation, hailed the French Revolution, and defended realist art.


Aphorismen, Essays, Briefe. Leipzig, 1963.
In Russian translation:
Aforizmy, 2nd ed. Foreword and concluding remarks by G. S. Slobodkin. Moscow, 1965.


Tronskaia, M. L. Nemetskaia satira epokhi Prosveshcheniia, ch. 5. Leningrad, 1962.
Promies, W. Georg Christoph Lichtenberg in Selbstzeugnissen und Bilddokumenten. Reinbek bei Hamburg, 1964.
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The following year, Georg C. Lichtenberg, who had encouraged Chladni to begin his investigation, had even harsher words.