Johann Heinrich Joseph Duntzer - Encyclopedia

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JOHANN HEINRICH JOSEPH DUNTZER (1813-1901), German philologist and historian of literature, was born at Cologne on the 12th of July 1813. After studying philology and especially ancient classics and Sanskrit at Bonn and Berlin (1830-1835), he took the degree of doctor of philosophy and established himself in 1837 at Bonn as Privat docent for classical literature. He had already, in his Goethes Faust in seiner Einheit and Ganzheit (1836) and Goethe als Dramatiker (1837), advocated a new critical method in interpreting the German classics, which he wished to see treated like the ancient classics. He subsequently turned his attention almost exclusively to the poets of the German classical period, notably Goethe and Schiller. Diintzer's method met with much opposition and he consequently failed to obtain the professorship he coveted. In 1846 he accepted the post of librarian at the Roman Catholic gymnasium in Cologne, where he died on the 16th of December 1901. Diintzer was a painstaking and accurate critic, but lacking in inspiration and finer literary taste; consequently his work as a biographer and commentator has, to a great extent, been superseded and discredited.

Among his philological writings may be mentioned Die Lehre von der lateinischen Wortbildung (1836); Die Deklination der indogermanischen Sprachen (1839); Homer and der epische Kyklos (1839); Die homerischen Beiworter des Gotterand Menschengeschlechts (1859). Of his works on the German classical poets, especially Goethe, Schiller and Herder, the following are particularly worthy of note, Erlauterungen zu den deutschen Klassikern (1853-1892); Goethes Prometheus and Pandora (1850); Goethes Faust (2 vols., 1850-1851; 2nd ed. 1857); Goethes Giitz and Egmont (1854); Aus Goethes Freundeskreise (1868); Abhandlungen zu Goethes Leben and Werken (2 vols., 1885); Goethes Tagebiicher der sechs ersten weimarischen Jahre (1889); Goethes Leben (1880; 2nd ed. 1.883; Engl. transl. by T. Ly ter, London, 1884); Schillers Leben (1881); Schiller and Goethe; Ubersicht and Erlduterung zum Briefwechsel zwischen Schiller and Goethe (1859)Herders Reise nach Italien (1859); Aus Herders Nachlass (3 vols., 1856-1857), and further, Charlotte von Stein (1874).

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