The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Fischart, Johann

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FISCHART, fish'ärt, Johann, German satirist: b. Mainz, between 1545 and 1550; d. Forbach, about 1590. As a satirist he is the most unrestrained of his age, inexhaustible in droll, humorous and witty thoughts, not seldom guilty of equivoque and obscenity, intimately acquainted with the follies of his age, and never at a loss whether to ridicule or lash them. He treats the German language with the greatest freedom, coining new words and turns of expression without any regard to analogy, and displaying, in his most arbitrary formations, erudition and wit. In the broad comic and burlesque he is not to be surpassed, and even in his most satirical effusions there is an honesty and good nature always observable. His most celebrated works are a rifaccimento of the Gargantua of Rabelais, first printed in 1575; ‘Das gluckhaft Schiff von Zürich’ (The Lucky Ship of Zürich) (1576); ‘Aller Praklik Grossmutter’ (1572); ‘Eulenspiegel Reimensweiss’ (1572), and several others. We find in Fischart the first attempt at German hexameters.