Gottsched, Johann Christoph (yōˈhän krĭsˈtôf gôtˈshĕt) [key], 1700–1766, German literary critic, disciple of the Enlightenment. As professor of poetry and philosophy at the Univ. of Leipzig, he virtually dictated intellectual life in that city, and he exerted great influence upon 18th-century German letters, largely through the controversies he aroused. His rationalistic Versuch einer critischen Dichtkunst [a critical approach to poetry] (1730) rejects poetic fancy and conceits, stressing purity of language and classic construction. Gottsched's theories were convincingly refuted by Bodmer and Breitinger. He wrote much on dramatic theory and also engaged the troupe of Karoline Neuber to perform plays that he and his wife, Luise Adelgunde, wrote or adapted, notably The Dying Cato (1732).
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