Georg Forster

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Forster, Georg


(full name Johann Georg Adam Forster). Born Nov. 27, 1754, in Nassenhuben, near Danzig (now Gdansk); died Jan. 12, 1794, in Paris. German scientist and revolutionary democrat.

In 1765 and 1766, Forster traveled through Russia with his father, and from 1772 to 1775 he accompanied J. Cook on his second voyage around the world. From 1778 to 1784 he was a professor of natural sciences at the University of Kassel, and from 1784 to 1787, at the University of Wilno. In 1788 he was appointed librarian at the University of Mainz. Forster’s Voyage Around the World (English edition, 1777; German editions, 1778–80 and 1784) and Observations on the Lower Rhine (German edition, vols. 1–3, 1791–94) covered a wide range of topics, including geography, natural history, ethnography, aesthetics, and cultural history and were suffused with an antifeudal and anticlerical spirit.

Influenced by the French materialists, Forster adopted a materialist position at the end of the 1780’s, subscribing to a sensationalist theory of knowledge. Forster, who had previously shown an interest in Utopian socialism, welcomed the French Revolution. In November 1792 he joined the Society of Friends of Freedom and Equality, which was founded at the beginning of the revolutionary events in Mainz (seeMAINZ COMMUNE); he soon became its vice-president and later, its president. In 1793 he was elected president of the Rhenish German National Convention. In March 1793, on Forster’s initiative, the convention declared Mainz a republic and adopted a resolution on uniting the republic with revolutionary France. Forster led a delegation of the Mainz convention to Paris. After the fall of the Mainz Commune, he remained in France and became a supporter of the Jacobins.

A brilliant publicist, Forster wrote on literature and art. He translated M. V. Lomonosov’s A Short Russian Chronicle into English and the Jacobin constitution into German and English. F. Engels spoke highly of Forster’s work (see K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 2, p. 572).


Werke, vols. 1–4, 7–9, 12. Berlin, 1958–73.
In Russian translation:
Izbr. proizv. Moscow, 1960.


Moshkovskaia, Iu. Ia. G. Forster—nemetskiiprosvetitel’ i revoliutsioner XVIII v. Moscow, 1961.
Gulyga, A. V. Iz istorii nemetskogo materializma. Moscow, 1962.
Fiedler, H. G. Forster: Bibliographie, 1767–1970. Berlin, 1971.
Die Mainzer Republik: Protokolle des Jakobinerklubs. Berlin, 1975.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The full operation consisted of an 8,288 container/13,005 teu (twenty-foot equivalent unit) exchange, inclusive of 10-high deck stowage, on the call of the CMA-CGM Georg Forster, one of the French Shipping Line's 18,000 teu capacity vessels.
She examines nature writing, landscape paintings, nature photography, and films representing travels to the Pacific Islands and New Zealand, Latin America, the Baltic coast, the American West, the Caribbean, the Amazon, and other locales by Georg Forster, Alexander von Humboldt, Caspar David Friedrich, Albert Bierstadt, Leni Riefenstahl, and Werner Herzog, to illustrate the emergence of the modern German environmental imagination.
The CMA CGM Group, a worldwide leading shipping group, is pleased to announce that the CMA CGM GEORG FORSTER was delivered on June, 2nd in South Korea.
Several important figures in the history of science are discussed, among them Carl von Hugel, a botanist; anthropologists Georg Forster and Johann Reinhold Foster; Sven Berggren (a botanist and a lonely Swede), and most prominently, Ferdinand Hochstetter, a geologist who is the subject of several chapters, placing his expedition of 1857-59 into historical context.
Georg Forster would later go on to criticize the 'monogenetic' account of race addressing human diversity.
(2) "Grabschrift auf Georg Forster" (Epitaph for Georg Forster [99]) is dedicated to the ethnologist, travel writer, and revolutionary Georg Forster (1754-94) from Mainz, with whom Brun stayed for several days in 1791 (see Keith-Smith and Moens, Briefe XXV).
Intellectual discussions of cannibalism, its origins and contemporary practices, and indeed its relation to natural law continued in the work of Cook and his men, including distinguished philosophers such as Reinhold and Georg Forster. Soon settlers imputed cannibalism to Australian aborigines; and then on to New Guinea where even now one can take "cannibal tours" to witness erstwhile man-eaters.
Georg Forster in particular can be considered an Enlightenment scholar, and the emphasis on him here is consistent with what appears to be a recurrent endeavour in this volume to situate Cook and his works against the backdrop of the Enlightenment.
Finally, Horst Brunner attempts to achieve a better understanding of sixteenth-century love songs through an investigation of the wide variety of songs found in the Frische teutsche Liedlein by Georg Forster.