Michael Denis

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Johann Nepomuk Cosmas Michael Denis.jpg
Michael Denis
Born 27 September 1729 (1729-09-27)
Schärding, then Bavaria
Died 29 September 1800 (1800-09-30) (aged 71)
Vienna
Occupation Austrian entomologist and writer

Johann Nepomuk Cosmas Michael Denis, also: Sined[a] the Bard, (27 September 1729 – 29 September 1800) was an Austrian poet, bibliographer, and lepidopterist.

Biography[edit]

He was born at Schärding on the Inn, brought up by the Jesuits, entered their order, and in 1759 was appointed professor in the Theresianum in Vienna, a Jesuit college. In 1784, after the suppression of the college, he was made second custodian of the court library, and seven years later became chief librarian.

A warm admirer of Klopstock, he was one of the leading members of the group of so-called bards; and his original poetry, published under the title Die Lieder Sineds des Barden (1772), shows all the extravagances of the bardic movement. He is best remembered as the translator of Ossian (1768–1769; also published together with his own poems in 5 vols. as Ossians und Sineds Lieder, 1784).

More important than either his original poetry or his translations were his efforts to familiarize the Austrians with the literature of Northern Germany; his Sammlung kürzerer Gedichte aus den neuern Dichtern Deutschlands, 3 vols. (1762–1766), was in this respect invaluable. He has also left a number of bibliographical compilations, Grundriss der Bibliographie und Bücherkunde (1774), Grundriss der Literaturgeschichte (1776), Einleitung in die Bücherkunde (1777), and Wiens Buchdruckergeschichte bis 1560 (1782).

In addition, working with Ignaz Schiffermüller he formed an early collection of butterflies and moths, which was kept at the Hofburg Palace but lost in the revolution of 1848, and published the first catalog of the Lepidoptera found around Vienna.[1]

Ossians und Sineds Lieder have not been reprinted since 1791; but a selection of his poetry edited by Richard Hamel will be found in vol. 48 (1884) of Kürschners Deutsche Nationalliteratur. His Literarischer Nachlass was published by Joseph Friedrich Freiherr von Retzer in 1802 (2 vols), two years after Denis had died in Vienna, aged 71.

Works[edit]

  • Poetische Bilder der meisten kriegerischen Vorgänge in Europa seit dem Jahr 1756, Wien 1760
  • Die Gedichte Ossians, eines alten celtischen Dichters, aus dem Englischen übersetzt, Wien 1768–69
  • Einleitung in die Bücherkunde, Wien 1777–1778
  • Die Lieder Sineds des Barden, Wien 1772 (which includes the text to Mozart's Gibraltar).
  • Systematisches Verzeichniß der Schmetterlinge der Wienergegend herausgegeben von einigen Lehrern am k. k. Theresianum (with Ignaz Schiffermüller), Wien 1775
  • Grundriß der Bibliographie, Wien 1777
  • Die Merkwürdigkeiten der k. k. garellischen öffentlichen Bibliothek am Theresiano, Wien 1780
  • Bibliotheca typographica Vindobonensis ab anno 1482 usque ad annum 1560, Wien 1782 (auch deutsch Wiens Buchdruckergeschichte bis 1560, Wien 1782–1793)
  • Ossian und Sineds Lieder, 5 Bände, 1784
  • Kurze Erzählung der Streitigkeiten über die alten Urkunden, Heidelberg 1785
  • Zurückerinnerungen, Wien 1794
  • Carmina quaedam, Wien 1794
  • Beschäftigungen mit Gott schon in dem 12. Jahrhundert gesammelt, Wien 1799

Literature[edit]

  • Paul von Hofmann-Wellenhof: Michael Denis. Ein Beitrag zur deutsch-oesterreichischen Literaturgeschichte des XVIII. Jahrhunderts. Wagner, Innsbruck 1881

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Sined is an anagram of Denis.

References[edit]

External links[edit]