chapter  Chapter Three
18 Pages

Klopstock and the ‘Göttinger Hain’

WithS. S. Prawer

We have now seen Hagedorn concerned to break down the impersonality of Baroque as well as of early Aufklärung poetry, by infusing into nature something of his own. With Klopstock such impersonality disappears altogether: the individual, often in conscious opposition to society, to the profanum vulgus, asserts himself uncompromisingly. Klopstock conceives himself as a poet-prophet, who has the mission of inspiring others to share his own high thoughts and feelings. Not for him the niedrige Tändeleien of the anacreontics—already in his farewell speech at Schulpforta, at the age of twenty-one, he had lamented the fate of German poetry: