Johann Gottfried Herder, the eminent German cultural historian and literary critic, was born at Mohrungen, East Prussia, on 25 August 1744 to a parish sexton and schoolmaster. His humble circumstances predestined him, like many other intellectually gifted young men in the Age of Goethe, to study theology (Königsberg University, 1762-64). However, he preferred to audit lectures by the famous philosopher Immanuel Kant who inspired him to think independently. He also befriended Johann Georg Hamann (1730-88), well known for his praise of the intuitive capacity of geniuses. Influenced by these two contemporaries, but also by the ancient Greeks and their esteemed interpreter Johann J. Winckelmann, by British poets such as Shakespeare, …
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Hoffmeister, Gerhart. "Johann Gottfried von Herder". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 May 2008
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