Johann Jakob Bodmer

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Bodmer, Johann Jakob


Born July 19, 1698, in Greifensee; died Jan. 2, 1783, in Zürich. Swiss critic and poet.

Bodmer was the son of a pastor, and he studied theology. In 1721, together with J. Breitinger, he founded the weekly Die Diskurse der Mahlern, which dealt with questions of literature. In his book A Critical Examination of the Miraculous in Poetry (1740), Bodmer, who was waging a polemic against J. C. Gottsched, went beyond the limits of rationalistic concepts about the essence of art; he recognized the role of feeling and imagination in folk poetry. Bodmer published part of the Nibelungenlied, songs of the Minnesingers, and Old Swabian and Old English ballads. He also translated J. Milton’s Paradise Lost into German.


Schriften. Selected by Fritz Ernst. Frauenfeld-Zurich, [1938].
Meisterwerke deutscher Literaturkritik, vol. 1. Berlin, 1956.


Wehrli, M. Bodmer und die Geschichte der Literatur. Frauenfeld, 1936.