Gregor Wilhelm Nitzsch
Brother of Karl Immanuel Nitzsch, he was born at Wittenberg. In 1827, he was appointed professor of ancient literature at Kiel but, in 1852, was dismissed by the Danish government for his German sympathies. In the same year, he accepted a similar post at Leipzig, which he held until his death.
In opposition to F. A. Wolf and Karl Lachmann, Nitzsch maintained that the Iliad and Odyssey were not an aggregate of single, short poems but long and complete ones, composed by the same single author according to a uniform plan with a central dramatic idea. His writings were broad, dealing with every side of the controversy. In the earlier part of his Metetemata (1830), he took up the question of written or unwritten literature, on which Wolf's entire argument turned, and showed that the art of writing must be anterior to Peisistratos. In the later part of the same series of discussions (1837), and in his chief work (Die Sagenpoesie der Griechen, 1852), he investigated the structure of the Homeric poems, and their relation to the other epics of the Trojan cycle.
Nitzsch died at Leipzig.
- Erklärende Anmerkungen zu Homers Odyssee, i.–xii. (1826–1840)
- Die Sagenpoesie der Griechen (1852)
- Beiträge zur Geschichte der epischen Poesie der Griechen (pub. 1862, ed. C. W. Nitzsch)
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press