The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Moritz, Karl Philipp

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Edition of 1920. See also Karl Philipp Moritz on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

MORITZ, mō'rĭts, Karl Philipp, German author: b. Hameln, 15 Sept. 1756; d. Berlin, 26 July 1793. He was born of poor parents and became one of the most extraordinary figures in the Sturm und Drang (Storm and Stress) period. After distressful attempts to gain a living he caught the attention of a patron in Hanover and entered the gymnasium to reach quick promotion, but soon accepted an engagement as actor under Ekhof at Gotha, failing in which he returned to study (1776) at Erfurt; but tiring again be joined the Herrnhuter (Moravians) at Barby, and studied theology at Wittenberg (1777); then taught philanthropy at the Potsdam military orphanage, soon again to take to wandering. Teaching in Berlin, he made a reputation as writer, preacher and poet, and went to England; then became professor at the Kölnisches Gymnasium; next tried editing the Vossische Zeitung to make it proletarian, but failed. Later, he traveled to Italy (1786) where he met Goethe, who made a favorable influence on his mind, and on his return to Germany he took up residence as Goethe's guest at Weimar. Duke Karl August aided him to a membership in the Berlin Academy of Sciences and he became (1789) professor of antiquities at the Berlin Academy of Art. He wrote much of his life's vicissitudes into his works, notably, ‘Anton Reiser’ (Berlin 1785-90), an autobiographical novel; ‘Andreas Hartkopf’ (ib. 1786), also contains other elements from his life. Other important works are ‘Versuch einer deutschen Prosodie’ (Berlin 1786; later ed., 1815); ‘Ueber die bildende Nachahmung des Schönen’ (Brunswick 1788; Heilbronn 1888) ‘Götterlehre’ (Berlin 1791; 10th ed., 1851); ‘Reisen eines Deutschen in England’ (ib. 1783); ‘Reisen eines Deutschen in Italien’ (ib. 1792-93). Consult Dessoir, ‘Karl Philipp Moritz als Aesthetiker’ (Berlin 1889); Eibisch, Hugo, ‘Anton Reisers kritische Autobiographie’ (Leipzig 1909).