Johann Christoph Gottsched

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Johann Christoph Gottsched
BirthplaceJuditten, Brandenburg-Prussia
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Gottsched, Johann Christoph


Born Feb. 2, 1700, in Königsberg; died Dec. 12. 1766, in Leipzig. German author and critic.

Gottsched was a representative of the early German Enlightenment. He edited some moralistic weeklies and collaborated with the theatrical company of Karoline Neuber. A convinced adherent of classicism, Gottsched argued against the extremes of baroque and for clarity and verisimilitude. His principal works were An Attempt at a Critical Poetics for the Germans (1730) and German Theater, by the Rules of Ancient Greece and Rome (vols. 1–6, 1741–45). German translations by Gottsched and his wife of the works of Corneille. Racine, and Molière played a definite role in shaping the German literary language and ideas of enlightenment. However, Gottsched’s servility to those in power and the abstract and lifeless nature of his classicism became a target of ridicule by G. E. Lessing and the writers of the Sturm und Drang school.


Gesammelte Schriften, vols. 1–5. Berlin, 1903–06. In Russian translation, in the book by N. V. Gerbel’. Nemetskie poety ν biogra-fiiakh i obraztsakh. St. Petersburg. 1877.


Reichel, E. Gottsched, vols. 1–2. Berlin-Schöneberg, 1912.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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J.C. Gottsched emerges in this characterization as a transitional figure with strong cultural and literary ties to the gallant culture of the late seventeenth century, while Luise Kulmus emerges as more thoroughly embodying new values of an enlightened middle class and--especially in her nuptial translations of Horace--even anticipating those of the Empfindsamkeit.