Christian Fürchtegott Gellert - Professor of Poetry

Personal data
Portrait
Portrait of Gellert by Anton Graff (ca. 1769)
Born July 04, 1715
in Hainichen

Died December 13, 1769
in Leipzig
Alias
Professor Gellert
Biography

From 1745 Privatdozent of Philosophy1 at the University of Leipzig. In 1751 he was appointed Extraordinary Professor of Philosophy, also in Leipzig.

He was one of the most popular German authors of his time, and was, according to Boswell, sometimes referred to as the “Gay of Germany”.2 Among his most popular works are Fabeln und Erzählungen (1746-1748), Geistliche Oden und Lieder (1758) and the play Die zärtlichen Schwestern (1747).

  • 1. Privatdozent - an academic title used in German-speaking countries, resembling that of an Associate Professor.
  • 2. Boswell on the Grand Tour I, p. 123, referring to the English poet John Gay (1685-1732), the author of one of Boswell's favourite theatre pieces The Beggar's Opera
Life with Boswell

Boswell went, on Bel's recommendation, to see Gellert on October 5, 1764, in Leipzig. Boswell found him basically “a good creature”, but much overrated. He described him as “a poor, sickly creature”, and “a poor mind, with hardly any science” who had “a tolerable fancy and a knack of versifying, which has pleased the German ladies and got him a mushroom reputation”.

Literature

A large selection of Gellert's works is usually available via the AbeBooks used books search engine, some of them in English translations. Search for author "Christian Gellert". In the 1980s most of his surviving  correspondence was published in annotated editions from Walter de Gruyter - search for "C.F. Gellerts Briefwechsel"