Karl Philipp Moritz, 1756-1793


Biographical note

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 in Hameln in 1756. In 1789, he became a professor 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 Goethe, 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, a reader for scholars and laymen) was one of the first Germanophone journals of psychology.

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