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Bible Encyclopedias

1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

Johann Peter Eckermann

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JOHANN PETER ECKERMANN (1792-1854), German poet and author, best known owing to his association with Goethe, was born at Winsen in Hanover on the 21st of September 1792, of humble parentage, and was brought up in penury and privation. After serving as a volunteer in the War of Liberation (1813-1814), he obtained a secretarial appointment under the war department at Hanover. In 1817, although twenty-five years of age, he was enabled to attend the gymnasium of Hanover and afterwards:the university of Gottingen, which, however, after one year's residence as a student of law, he left in 182 2. His acquaintance with Goethe began in the following year, when he sent to him the manuscript of his Beitrdge zur Poesie (1823). Soon afterwards he went to Weimar, where he supported himself as a private tutor. For several years he also instructed the son of the grand duke. In 1830 he travelled in Italy with Goethe's son. In 1838 he was given the title of grand-ducal councillor and appointed librarian to the grand-duchess. Eckermann is chiefly remembered for his important contributions to the knowledge of the great poet contained in his Conversations with Goethe (1836-1848). To Eckermann Goethe entrusted the publication of his Nachgelassene Schriften (posthumous works) (1832-1833). He was also jointeditor with Friedrich Wilhelm Riemer (1774-1845) of the complete edition of Goethe's works in 40 vols. (1839-1840). He died at Weimar on the 3rd of December 1854.

Eckermann's Gesprache mit Goethe (vols. i. and ii. 1836; vol. iii. 1848; 7th ed., Leipzig, 1899; best edition by L. Geiger, Leipzig, 1902) have been translated into almost all the European languages, not excepting Turkish. (English translations by Margaret Fuller, Boston, 1839, and John Oxenford, London, 1850.) Besides this work and the Beitrdge zur Poesie, Eckermann published a volume of poems ( Gedichte, 1838), which are of little value. See J. P. Eckermanns Nachlass, herausgegeben von F. Tewes, vol. i. (1905), and an article by R. M. Meyer in the Goethe-Jahrbuch, xvii. (1896).

A town of Germany, in the Prussian province of Schleswig-Holstein, on a fjord of the Baltic, 20 m. by rail N.W. from Kiel. Pop. (1905) 7088. It has a good harbour, fishing, trade in agricultural products, and manufactures of tobacco, salt and iron goods. There are a technical school of building and a Protestant teachers' seminary. EckernfOrde is mentioned as far back as 1197. It was taken by Christian IV. of Denmark in 1628 from the Imperial troops. In 1813 the Danes were defeated here, while in 1849 the harbour was the scene of the blowing up of the Danish line-of-battle ship "Christian VIII." and of the surrender of the frigate "Gefion" after an engagement with the German shore batteries. The place lost most of its trade after the union with Germany in 1864, and suffered severely from a sea-flood in 1872. In the immediate neighbourhood is the village of Borby, much frequented for sea-bathing.

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Johann Peter Eckermann'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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