Ivan Chemnitzer

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Ivan Chemnitzer
PGRS 2 088 Khemnitser - crop.jpg
Native name
Ива́н Ива́нович Хемни́цер
Yenotayevsk, Astrakhan Governorate
Died1784 (aged 38–39)

Ivan Ivanovitch Chemnitzer or Khemnitzer (Russian: Ива́н Ива́нович Хемни́цер; 1745–1784) was a Russian fabulist, born at Yenotayevsk, Astrakhan Governorate, the son of a German physician of Chemnitz, who had served in the Russian army under Peter the Great. He participated in the campaigns of the Seven Years' War and afterward devoted himself to mining engineering and subsequently visited Germany, Holland, and France. Upon his return he accepted a position as Consul to Smyrna, where an attack of melancholia hastened his death.

In contradistinction to Sumarokov and others among the earlier fabulists of Russia, whose works are essentially satires, Chemnitzer was the first to introduce the genuine fable into Russian literature. He was thus one of the predecessors of Krylov, having brought the Russian fable to its greatest perfection. Although to some extent translations or imitations of La Fontaine and Gellert, his works show considerable originality. Their good humor, vivacity of dialogue, simplicity, and distinctively national character have greatly endeared him to the Russian people. Among his best original fables are The Metaphysician, The Tree, The Peasant and his Load, and The Rich Man and the Poor Man. Grot produced the best edition of his works (St. Petersburg, 1873).

  • This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainGilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead. Missing or empty |title= (help)