Born Apr. 1, 1730, in Zürich; died there Mar. 2, 1788. Swiss poet and artist.
Gessner wrote in German. The son of a bookseller, he studied painting in Berlin and worked as a landscape painter and engraver in Zürich. He was the author of the prose collection The Idylls (1756) and Poems (1762), which depicted the conventional world of shepherds and shepherdesses in a gallant manner. Marx considered Gessner one of those writers who “oppose historical corruption with the idyll of an immovable condition” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 4, p. 297). Gessner illustrated his Idylls with landscapes. He was well-known in Russia as a representative of sentimentalism. Gessner’s narrative poem The Death of Abel was published by N. I. Novikov in 1780.
WORKSSchriften, vols. 1-3. 1810.
In Russian translation:
Poln. sobr. soch., parts 1-4. Moscow, 1802-03.
REFERENCELeemann-van Elck, P. Salomon Gessner. Zürich, 1930.
L. E. ROZOVA