Lavater, Johann Kaspar

Lavater, Johann Kaspar

(yō`hän käs`pär lä`vätər, lävä`tər), 1741–1801, Swiss theologian and mystic. He wrote several books on metaphysics, but he is chiefly remembered for his work on physiognomy, the art of determining character from facial characteristics.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Lavater, Johann Kaspar

 

Born Nov. 15, 1741, in Zürich; died there Jan. 2, 1801. Swiss writer. Wrote in German.

Lavater studied theology and was a minister in Zürich. He is the author of the collection of verses Swiss Songs (1767) and of many works of a religious nature, including the novel Pontius Pilate, or The Small Bible (1782–85), the drama Abraham and Isaac (1776), and the collections of verse Two Hundred Christian Songs (1780) and Poetry (1781). His work, only superficially related to Sturm und Drang, was full of superstitions and irrational tendencies. In the philosophical work Physiognomical Fragments for Encouraging Knowledge and Love of Man (1775–78), Lavater tried to establish a connection between the spiritual nature of man and the structure and outlines of his skull and face.

WORKS

Sämtliche Werke, vols. 1–6. Augsburg-Lindau, 1834–38.
Ausgewählte Schriften, vols. 1–8. Zürich, 1841–44.
In Russian translation:
Nastavleniia (nravouchitel’nye) slugam. St. Petersburg, 1799.

REFERENCES

Muncker, F. J. K. Lavater. Stuttgart, 1883.
Funck, H. J. W. Goethe und Lavater. Weimar, 1907.
Vömel, A. J. K. Lavater, 1741–1801: Ein Lebensbild, 2nd ed. Neukirchen, 1927.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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