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Eschenburg, Johann Joachim

ESCHENBURG, JOHANN JOACHIM (1743-1820), German critic and literary historian, was born at Hamburg on the 7th of December 1743. After receiving his early education in his native town, he studied at Leipzig and Göttingen. In 1767 he was appointed tutor, and subsequently professor, at the Collegium Carolinum in Brunswick. The title of "Hofrat" was conferred on him in 1786, and in 1814 he was made one of the directors of the Carolinum. He is best known by his efforts to familiarize his countrymen with English literature. He published a series of German translations of the principal English writers on aesthetics, such as J. Brown, D. Webb, Charles Burney, Joseph Priestley and R. Hurd; and Germany owes also to him the first complete translation (in prose) of Shakespeare's plays (William Shakespear's Schauspiele, 13 vols., Zürich, 1775-1782). This is virtually a revised edition of the incomplete translation published by Wieland between 1762 and 1766. Eschenburg died at Brunswick on the 29th of February 1820.

Besides editing, with memoirs, the works of Hagedorn, Zachariä and other German poets, he was the author of a Handbuch der klassischen Literatur (1783); Entwurf einer Theorie und Literatur der schönen Wissenschaften (1783); Beispielsammlung zur Theorie und Literatur der schönen Wissenschaften (8 vols., 1788-1795); Lehrbuch der Wissenschaftskunde (1792); and Denkmäler altdeutscher Dichtkunst (1799). Most of these works have passed through several editions. Eschenburg was also a poet of some pretensions, and some of his religious hymns, e.g. Ich will dich noch im Tod erheben and Dir trau' ich, Gott, und wanke nicht, are contained in many hymnals to this day.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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