The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Klopstock, Friedrich Gottlieb

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KLOPSTOCK, klŏp'stŏck, Friedrich Gottlieb, German poet: b. Quedlinburg, Prussia, 2 July 1724; d. Hamburg, 14 March 1803. He studied at the school in his native town and at Schulpforta, and later pursued the course in theology at Jena and Leipzig. He is widely famous as the author of the sacred epic, ‘Der Messias,’ the first three cantos of which were published in 1748. They are in the Miltonic style, and excited general attention. In consequence, Klopstock was invited to Copenhagen by the minister Bernstoff, and offered a small pension. In 1764 he wrote his drama ‘Hermanns Schlacht’ (Battle of Arminius), and in 1771 left Copenhagen for Hamburg, under the character of Danish secretary of legation and counsellor of the margiaviate of Baden. In Hamburg he finished his ‘Messias’ (1773). He also wrote ‘Die Gelehrtenrepublik’ (The Scholar's Republic) (1744), his chief work in prose; ‘Geistliche Lieder’ (1758); ‘Oden’ (1771); and several dramas, in addition to the one already named. His reputation did not survive, but he is still known for his great service to German literature in assisting to free it from foreign, especially French, influence. His collected works were published in 12 volumes at Leipzig 1798-1817. A fine edition by Muncker appeared in 4 volumes, 1887. (See Messiah, The). Consult Lyon, ‘Ueber Klopstocks Verhältniss zu Goethe’ (1879); Lappenberg, ‘Briefe von und an Klopstock’ (1867); Habler, ‘Milton und Klopstock’ (1893).