Karl Philipp Moritz
|Karl Philipp Moritz|
Portrait by Karl Franz Jacob Heinrich Schumann (1763-1827)
Karl Philipp Moritz (Hamelin, 15 September 1756 – Berlin, 26 June 1793) was a German author, editor and essayist of the Sturm und Drang, late enlightenment, and classicist periods, influencing early German Romanticism as well. He led a life as a hatter's apprentice, teacher, journalist, literary critic, professor of art and linguistics, and member of both of Berlin's academies.
Moritz was born into impoverished circumstances in Hameln in 1756. After receiving a scanty schooling, he was apprenticed to a hat maker. After distressful attempts to gain a living, he caught the attention of a patron in Hanover and entered a gymnasium; however, he soon accepted an engagement as actor under Ekhof at Gotha, failing in which he returned to study (1776) at Erfurt; but tiring again he joined the Herrnhuter (Moravian Church) 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 he became professor at the gymnasium at Berlin (German: Köllnisches Gymnasium). Next he tried editing the Vossische Zeitung to make it proletarian, but failed. Later he traveled to Italy (1786) where he met Goethe, and on his return to Germany he took up residence as Goethe's guest at Weimar. Duke Karl August helped him join the Berlin Academy of Sciences, and in 1789 Moritz became a professor of antiquities at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin. Among his students were Ludwig Tieck, Wilhelm Heinrich Wackenroder and Alexander von Humboldt. He was an avid admirer of Jean Paul, and befriended Moses Mendelssohn, and Asmus Jakob Carstens.
Apart from a four-part autobiographical novel, Anton Reiser, and two fictional Andreas Hartknopf novels, he also wrote a number of theoretical writings on aesthetics, especially "Über die bildende Nachahmung des Schönen" (On the Formative Imitation of Beauty), which Goethe excerpted in his Italian Journey. Moritz's Magazin zur Erfahrungsseelenkunde als ein Lesebuch für Gelehrte und Ungelehrte (Journal of Experiential Psychology, as reading for scholars and laymen) was one of the first Germanophone journals of psychology. His works include:
- Gilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "Moritz, Karl Philipp". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Moritz, Karl Philipp". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Rines, George Edwin, ed. (1920). "Moritz, Karl Philipp". Encyclopedia Americana.
- Apel, Kim. Predigten in der Literatur: homiletische Erkundungen bei Karl Philipp Moritz. Praktische Theologie in Geschichte und Gegenwart (Tuebingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2009).
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