Gotthelf, Jeremias

Gotthelf, Jeremias

(yārāmē`äs gôt`hĕlf), 1797–1854, Swiss writer and clergyman. His real name was Albert Bitzius; his pen name is that of the hero of his autobiographical Bauernspiegel (1837). Gotthelf, working as Protestant pastor in Bern canton, took an active interest in the education and economic improvement of the poverty-stricken rural population. His 38 volumes of prose are characterized by Christian fervor, humor, sincerity, and vigor. Many were written in the Swiss-German idiom. Best known are Ulric, the Farm Servant (1840, tr. 1888) and Die schwarze Spinne [The Black Spider] (1842, tr. 1975).
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Gotthelf, Jeremias


(pseudonym of Albrecht Bitzius). Born Oct. 4, 1797, in the canton of Bern; died there Oct. 22, 1854. Swiss author who wrote in German.

Gotthelf was the son of a pastor and a pastor himself. He acquired fame through his first novel, The Peasants’ Mirror, or the Life Story of Jeremias Gotthelf (1836). His novel The Joys and Sorrows of a Schoolmaster (vols. 1–2, 1838–39) deals with the pressing problems of mass education. In the novels Uli the Farm Servant (1841) and Uli the Tenant Farmer (1849) and the short stories Swiss Pictures and Legends (1842—46) and The Wanderings of Apprentice Jakob Through Switzerland (1846–47), Gotthelf describes the wretched conditions of the peasantry and artisans. However, the descriptions of the Utopian ideal of a well-to-do peasant community in Cheese-making in Weifreit (1850) and the idealization of the Swiss past in Black Spider (1842) and Elsie, the Strange Maiden (1843) are also characteristic of Gotthelf.


Sämlliche Werke, vols. 1–24. Erlenbach-Zürich, 1911–32.


Literatura Shveitsarii Ocherki. Moscow, 1969.
Baumgartner, P. Jeremias Gotthelfs Zeitgeist und Bernergeist.Bern [1945].
Muschg, W. Jeremias Gotthelf: Eine Einf ü hrung in seine Werke (2nded.). Bern-Munich, 1960.
Muschg, W. Gotthelf. . . Munich [1967].


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