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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume IV. Prose and Poetry: Sir Thomas North to Michael Drayton.

XII. Shakespeare on the Continent

§ 10. Strength of Classicism

Johann Christoph Gottsched, the representative of classicism in Germany at that time, asserted the superior standpoint of Voltaire, with an intellectual arrogance beyond even that which distinguished the French critic’s methods; but, in so doing, he awakened a certain respect for the “drunken savage” in one of his own disciples, Johann Elias Schlegel. This young writer—Voltairean as he was—presumed to detect merits in Shakespeare which, although admittedly at variance with the requirements of French classicism, were at least justified by the practices of a German dramatist of an older generation, Andreas Gryphius. In Switzerland, about the same time, Johann Jakob Bodmer instinctively felt that the “Sasper” with whom his Italian authorities had acquainted him, and whom he had found praised in The Spectator, might be a useful ally in his controversy with the Leipzig classicists concerning the legitimacy of the “marvellous” in poetry; but of Shakespeare’s works, Bodmer, at this time, seems to have known little or nothing.