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Originally appearing in Volume V19, Page 662 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CHRISTOPH FRIEDRICH NICOLAI (1733-1811), German author and bookseller, was born on the 18th of March 1733 at Berlin, where his father, Christoph Gottlieb Nicolai (d. 1752), was the founder of the famous Nicolaische Buchhandlung. He received a good education, and in 1749 went to Frankfort-on-Oder to learn his father's business, finding time also to become acquainted with English literature. In 1752 he returned to Berlin, and began to take part in literary controversy by defending Milton against the attacks of J. C. Gottsched. His Briefe fiber den jetzigen Zustand der schonen Wissenschaften in Deutschland, pub- lished anonymously in 1755 and reprinted by G. Ellinger in 1894, were directed against both Gottsched and Gottsched's Swiss opponents, Johann Jakob Bodmer and Johann Jakob Breitinger; his enthusiasm for English literature won for him the friendship of Lessing and Moses Mendelssohn. In association with Mendelssohn he established in 1757 the Bibliothek der schonen Wissenschaften, a periodical which he conducted until 176o. With Lessing and Mendelssohn Nicolai founded in 1759 the famous Briefe, die neueste Literatur betreffend; and from 1765 to 1792 he edited the Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek. • This latter periodical served as the organ of the so-called " popular philosophers," who warred against authority in religion and against what they conceived to be extravagance in literature. The new movement of ideas represented by Herder, ' oethe, Schiller, Kant and Fichte, Nicolai was incapable of understanding, and he made himself ridiculous by foolish misrepresentation of the aims of these writers. Of Nicolai's independent works, perhaps the only one which has some historical value is his Anekdoten von Friedrich II. (1788–1792). His romances are forgotten, although Das Leben and die Meinungen des Herrn Magister Sebaldus Nothanker (1773–1776), and his satire on Goethe's Werther, Freuden des jungen Werthers (1775), had a certain reputation in their day. Between 1788 and 1796 Nicolai published in 12 vols. a Beschreibung einer Reise durch Deutschland and die Schweiz, which bears witness to the narrow conservatism of his views in later life. He died in Berlin on the 11th of January 1811. Nicolai's Bildniss and Selbstbiographie was published by M. S. Lowe in the Bildnisse jetzt lebender Berliner Gelehrter, in 18o6. See also L. F. G. von Gockingk, F. Nicolai's Leben and literarischer Nachiass (182o) ; J. Minor, Lessings Jugendfreunde, in J. Kiirschner's Deutsche Nationalliteratur, vol. lxxii. (1883) ; O. Hoffmann, Herders Briefwechsel mit Nicolai (1887); E. Friedel, Zur Geschichte der Nicolaischen Buchhandlung (1891); and E. Altenkruger, F. Nicolais Jugendschriften (1894). NICOLA!, OTTO (1810-1849), German composer, was born on the 9th of June in Konigsberg. He studied music in Berlin and in 1833 became organist to the German embassy in Rome. There his operas Enrico II (1839) and Il Templario (1840) were produced, besides some church music, a series of songs, and a number of compositions for the pianoforte. He was subsequently appointed Hof Kapellmeister at the Berlin Opera House; and there, only two days before he died (on the 11th of March 1849), was performed his brilliant opera, The Merry Wives of Windsor, the work by which he is now remembered.
End of Article: CHRISTOPH FRIEDRICH NICOLAI (1733-1811)

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