Johann Christoph Gottsched

Johann Christoph Gottsched

Born Feb 02, 1700 in Juditten, Prussia
Died Dec 12, 1766 in Leipzig

Alias: 

Professor Gottsched

Biography: 

Born in Juditten near Königsberg, son of the town priest Christoph Gottsched and Johanna Biemann. Married firstly (1735 in Danzig) to author Luise Kulmus (1713-1762) and secondly (1762 or 1765 in Camburg) to Ernestine Neunes.

In 1723 he graduated a Magister in philosophy and history from the University of Köningsberg, but shortly thereafter fled to Leipzig to avoid military service. In 1730 he became an extraordinary Professor of Poetry in Leipzig, and in 1734 an ordinary Professor of Logic and Metaphysics.

Gottsched first became famous for his treatise on German poetry, the Versuch einer kritischen Dichtkunst für die Deutschen (1730), but he was also a playwright in his own right, having written Der sterbende Cato (1732), a German adaption of Joseph Addison's Cato, and other plays. In 1748 he had published Grundlegung einer deutschen Sprachkunst, which is probably part of the reason why Boswell wrote of him that “it was he who set a-going the true cultivation of the German language”.1

Life with Boswell: 

Boswell called on Gottsched at Leipzig on October 4, 1764. He was well received “with a perfect politeness” and the two were “quite easy together in a few minutes”. They spent a few hours together during the next few days, discussing among other subjects the Scots and English language, Johnson's Dictionary and Boswell's own plan for a Scots Dictionary. On October 6, Gottsched gave Boswell some advice concerning his planned Scots dictionary, let him search his etymological library, and promised to correspond with him.

Notes: 

Literature: 

Most of Gottsched's writings are available via the AbeBooks.com used books search engine, as is the recent English-language book about him, Phillip Mitchell's Johann Christoph Gottsched (1700-1766): Harbinger of German Classicism.