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Johann Jakob Bodmer

Johann Jakob BodmerBorn: 19-Jul-1698
Birthplace: Greifensee, Switzerland
Died: 2-Jan-1783
Location of death: Zürich, Switzerland
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Author

Nationality: Switzerland
Executive summary: Von dem Wunderbaren in der Poesie

Swiss-German author, was born at Greifensee, near Zürich, on the 19th of July 1698. After first studying theology and then trying a commercial career, he finally found his vocation in letters. In 1725 he was appointed professor of Helvetian history in Zürich, a chair which he held for half a century, and in 1735 became a member of the "Grosser Rat." He published (1721-23), in conjunction with J. J. Breitinger (1701-1774) and several others, Die Discourse der Mahlern, a weekly journal after the model of the Spectator. Through his prose translation of John Milton's Paradise Lost (1732) and his successful endeavors to make a knowledge of English literature accessible to Germany, he aroused the hostile criticism of Gottsched and his school, a struggle which ended in the complete discomfiture of the latter. His most important writings are the treatises Von dem Wunderbaren in der Poesie (1740) and Kritische Betrachtungen über die poetischen Gemälde der Dichter (1741), in which he pleaded for the freedom of the imagination from the restriction imposed upon it by French pseudo-classicism. Bodmer's epics Die Sündfluth (1751) and Noah (1751) are weak imitations of Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock's Messias, and his plays are entirely deficient in dramatic qualities. He did valuable service to German literature by his editions of the Minnesingers and part of the Nibelungenlied. He died at Zürich on the 2nd of January 1783.

    Professor: Helvetian History, University of Zürich (1725-)



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