The New International Encyclopædia/Gessner, Salomon

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GESSNER, Salomon (1730-88). A Swiss poet, painter, and etcher, very popular in his day as a writer and representative of the idyllic taste of his generation. He was born in Zurich, April 1, 1730. His first noteworthy piece, Lied eines Schweizers an sein bewaffnetes Mädchen (1751), was followed by Daphnis (1754), Idyllen (1750), and, most famous of all, Der Tod Abels (1758), which he called “a sort of idyllic prose pastoral.” Gessner's work is throughout insipidly sweet and monotonously melodious; yet it exactly suited the taste of a generation nursed on Rousseau. The idylls had a European influence, and appeared in seven languages. He died in Zurich, March 2, 1788. Gessner's Works were frequently published, last in 1841. There is a French translation in three volumes (1786-93). Gessner's Life, by Höttinger, appeared in 1796; his Correspondence with His Son in 1801. For Gessner's literary influence, consult Texte, J. J. Rousseau and Literary Cosmopolitanism (New York, 1897).