The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Bodmer, Johann Jakob

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BODMER, Johann Jakob, German-Swiss literary critic: b. Greifensee, Switzerland, 19 July 1698; d. Zürich, 2 Jan. 1783. With Breitinger from 1721-23 he issued the periodical Diskurse der Maler, in which German poetry was severely criticised for its servility to French models. Based on national and ancient standards, he formed a German literary school in opposition to Gottsched of Leipzig, with whom he carried on a prolonged controversy to the final discomfiture of his opponent. He translated Milton's ‘Paradise Lost,’ wrote poems and dramas of no signal merit, but published valuable editions of older German poets. For 50 years he was professor of Swiss history and politics in Zürich. Bodmer was appointed professor of history at Zürich in 1725. Perhaps his greatest service to German letters were his editions of the ‘Minnesingers’ and of part of the ‘Nibelungenlied.’