Musäus, Johann Karl August

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Musäus, Johann Karl August


Born Mar. 29, 1735, in Jena; died Oct. 28, 1787, in Weimar. German author.

Musäus was educated at the University of Jena and then lived and worked in Weimar. His Grandison the Second (vols. 1–3, 1760–62), a parody on S. Richardson’s novel, and Physiognomic Travels (vols. 1–4, 1778–79), ridiculing the views of J. K. Lavater, were written in the spirit of Enlightenment criticism. The collection German Fairy Tales (vols. 1–8, 1782–86) was a rococo adaptation of ancient German, Romance, and Slavic legends. His interest in folklore was a bond between Musäus and the brothers J. and W. Grimm. The combination of the real and the fantastic and the ironic reinterpretation of traditional fairy tale situations in his writings anticipate the fairy tales of L. Tieck, E. T. A. Hoffman, and A. Chamisso. Musäus also wrote Visions of Death in the Manner of Holbein (1785) and the short-story collection Ostrich Feathers (1787).


Legenden von Rübezahl: Märchen und Sagen. Leipzig, 1964.


Istoriia nemetskoi literatury, vol. 2. Moscow, 1963. Pages 324–25.