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This is the first complete biographical and critical study of Karl Philipp Moritz (1756–93), German novelist, teacher, journalist, and philogist. His psychological novel, Anton Reiser, replete with insights into the sociological and psychological life of the time, was one of the most important eighteenth-century German novels. Moritz was in close touch with most of the major intellectual currents in Weimar and Berlin—from aesthetics and linguistics on the one hand to pietistical and mystical movements on the other—and he was a friend of Goethe and of other significant German literary figures as well. His career was a turbulent one, made all the more difficult by his many-sided psychological problems, which play a large role in his autobiographical writings.
Karl Philipp Moritz has never been totally forgotten, but scholarly interest in him has increased dramatically in the last few decades. His works, particularly Anton Reiser, have also generated considerable popular interest. This is the first comprehensive monograph on this multi-faceted modern writer—an amazing fact in light of the homage paid Moritz by such contemporaries as Goethe, Schiller, and Jean Paul. Mark Boulby has succeeded admirably in relating all the frequently disparate ideas of Moritz to the trends of the period, and has combined theoretical analysis and biographical investigation in a readable and lively book.