Georg Forster

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Georg Forster, painting by JHW Tischbein

Johann Georg Adam Forster (born November 27, 1754 in Nassenhuben , Prussia , † January 10, 1794 in Paris ) was a German naturalist , ethnologist , travel writer and revolutionary during the Enlightenment . He is considered to be one of the first exponents of scientific travel literature and also emerged as a translator , journalist and essayist .

Forster took part in James Cook's second circumnavigation and made important contributions to the comparative geography and ethnography of the South Seas . He taught natural history at universities in Kassel and Wilna . As a German Jacobin and member of the Mainz Jacobin Club , he was one of the protagonists of the short-lived Mainz Republic .


Johann and Georg Forster in the South Seas, painting by John Francis Rigaud

Georg Forster's life was short, but rich in experiences that only a few people could enjoy in the 18th century. Of all the German scouts , Georg Forster is likely to have seen the most of the world.

Early trip to Russia and work as a translator

Georg Forster was the son of the natural scientist and Protestant Reformed pastor Johann Reinhold Forster and his wife Justina Elisabeth, née. Nicolai. The father, more interested in philosophy and the natural sciences than in theology , took his ten-year-old firstborn on a study trip to the lower Volga in 1765 . German emigrants who had followed the call of Catherine the Great began to settle there recently . On behalf of the Russian government, Johann Reinhold Forster was supposed to investigate the administration and living conditions of the Volga Germans . The journey took him from May to August 1765 to Lake Elton in the Caspian Depression , about 160 km east of today's Volgograd . Even then, the young Forster was involved in cartographic studies and soil investigations. Father and son spent the following year in Saint Petersburg , where Johann edited his reports. During this time Georg attended the Petri school and learned fluent Russian .

In August 1766, Johann Reinhold Forster moved from St. Petersburg to London in order to build up an existence as a teacher and translator in the land of his ancestors according to his inclinations . Georg accompanied him there and learned English on the long voyage . At the age of 13 he published his first book in England : a translation of Lomonossov's work on Russian history ( A chronological abridgment of the Russian history; translated from the original Russian ... and continued to the present time by the translator. T . Snelling, London 1767) from Russian into English, which received laudatory recognition in scientific circles.

Forster used his talent for languages ​​not only for his later ethnological research, but also to earn a living as a translator. In the course of his life he mainly translated texts from English and French into German, occasionally from other European languages ​​such as Russian, Dutch and Swedish and vice versa from German, Russian or French into English. These were mainly travel reports, such as that of Captain William Bligh about his journey with the Bounty and the famous mutiny . Forster also translated specialist texts from various fields of knowledge.

Circumnavigation with Captain Cook

Captain James Cook , painting by Nathaniel Dance
Cook's ships Resolution and Adventure in 1776 in Matawai Bay, Tahiti ; Painting by William Hodges
Kuka'ilimoku, feather sculpture of the Hawaiian god of war, exhibit from the Cook-Forster collection in Göttingen

Since the botanist Joseph Banks , the scientific companion of Captain James Cooks on his first voyage, refused to accompany Cook on his second voyage to the South Seas, the British Admiralty made Reinhold Forster an offer to take part in the expedition, a scientific report in 1772 about the trip and to publish it on return. He agreed on the condition that his son Georg, who was only seventeen years old, was allowed to come along as a draftsman and scientific assistant.

On July 13, 1772, father and son Forster set sail aboard the Resolution in Plymouth . The journey led first to the South Atlantic , then through the Indian Ocean and Antarctic waters to the South Pacific and the islands of Polynesia and finally back to England around Cape Horn , where the expedition arrived on July 30, 1775. On their three-year journey with Cook, the Forsters had explored New Zealand , the Tonga Islands, New Caledonia , Tahiti , the Marquesas Islands and Easter Island, among others , and had advanced further south than any human before them. Cook's second trip definitively disproved the theory of a large, habitable southern continent .

Georg Forster took part - mostly as a draftsman and initially under the guidance of his father - in studies of the fauna and flora of the South Seas . Both of them gained a lot of new knowledge in the field of botany and described a large number of plants previously unknown in Europe, including a genus from the Phyllanthaceae family . The genus of Forstera from the family Stylidiaceae was named after them. Georg Forster's official botanical author's abbreviation is “ G.Forst. ".

His real areas of interest, however, on which he soon undertook independent research, were comparative geography and ethnology . He quickly learned the languages ​​of the Polynesian islands. His reports on the Polynesians are recognized to this day, as they reflect Forster's endeavors to treat the inhabitants of the South Sea islands with empathy, sympathy and largely without Christian-Western prejudice. With this kind of empathic observation, Forster was way ahead of other ethnologists of his time. At the same time, he was careful not to idealize the “noble savages”. In contrast to Louis Antoine de Bougainville , who a few years earlier founded the rather uncritical, idealizing South Sea romanticism with his travelogue about Tahiti, Forster perceived the societies of the South Pacific islands in a very differentiated manner. In contrast to the classification of people according to " races " that was customary at the time , as also used by Kant , Forster emphasized

"That the nature of man is climatically different everywhere, but on the whole, both in organization and in relation to the instincts and the course of their development, is specifically the same."

He described the different social systems and religions , which he, for example, the Society Islands , the Friendly Islands , in New Zealand and on the Easter Island vorfand, and led her back to the respective different living conditions. At the same time he registered that the languages ​​on these widely scattered islands were relatively closely related. For example, he wrote about the inhabitants of the Nomuka archipelago neighboring Tonga:

“Your language, the vehicles, weapons, household items, clothing, punctures [tattoos], the way you trim your beard; in short, their whole being exactly matched what we had seen of this on Tongatabu. Only we […] could not perceive any kind of subordination among them, which, on the other hand, was very conspicuous on Tongatabu and, in the honors for the king, almost went as far as the extreme slavery. "

The ethnographica that Forster collected together with his father in the South Pacific are now exhibited as the Cook-Forster collection in the Ethnological Museum in Göttingen . Part of the collection was owned by the father and son, Prince Leopold III. Donated to Friedrich Franz von Anhalt-Dessau , who exhibited them in the South Sea pavilion in Wörlitz Park .

Justification of modern travel literature

While his father wrote the scientific report requested by the Admiralty after his return, Georg Forster published the travelogue A Voyage Round The World in London in 1777, intended for the general public . Together with Rudolf Erich Raspe, he then got the translation for the German edition of Reise um die Welt , which appeared in Berlin in 1778/80 and from which the above quotation comes. The work, which marks the beginning of modern German travel literature , immediately made the young author famous and is still considered to be one of the most important travelogues ever written. It was praised by Christoph Martin Wieland as the most remarkable book of its time and exerted a strong influence on Alexander von Humboldt , who named Forster as his role model and accompanied him on several trips. In addition, it shaped many ethnologists of later times.

Forster wrote polished German prose . Scientifically precise and factually based, he knew how to formulate it in an exciting and easily legible way. What sets his works apart from the travel literature that was customary up to then is that they do not just string together data, but - based on in-depth and participatory observations - offer coherent, descriptive and reliable ethnographic facts. Forster repeatedly interrupts the pure description in order to reflect philosophically on his observations .

His main focus is always on the people he met, their behavior , their customs , customs and religions as well as their forms of society. In Reise um die Welt he even reproduces Polynesian song texts and notation . The book is one of the most important sources for research on societies in the South Seas from the time before European influence took hold there.

Beginnings of the academic career

Its publication earned Forster scientific honors from all over Europe. The prestigious Royal Society in London accepted the not yet 23-year-old as a member in 1777. Scientific academies from Berlin to Madrid did the same . From 1777 he was a member of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences . But since the honors did not bring in any money, he returned to Germany in 1778. In 1780 he was elected a member of the Leopoldina learned society .

Forster initially taught natural history at the Collegium Carolinum in Kassel from 1778 to 1784 . Since then he has also been in close contact with the most important representatives of the Enlightenment in Germany, including a. with Lichtenberg , Lessing , Kant , Herder , Wieland and Goethe . He regularly published articles on research and discovery journeys of his time, such as Cook's third trip to the South Seas, in which he himself did not take part, and the later bounty expedition. Forster had been in contact with its initiator, the private scholar Sir Joseph Banks , who had accompanied Cook on his first circumnavigation of the world, since the London years.

In Kassel he became a member of the Freemason lodge Zum crowned Lion and the local Gold and Rosicrucian Circle. Probably in 1776 he had already become a member of the well-known Les Neuf Sœurs lodge in Paris . In 1784 he joined the Freemasons' Lodge on True Unity in Vienna, which he particularly valued for their educational and reform activities and which organized a festival box in his honor.

From 1784 to 1787 Forster taught as a professor of natural history at the Schola Principis Magni Ducatus Lithuaniae in the Polish-Lithuanian town of Wilna , today's Vilnius University . At that time he had not yet received his doctorate and therefore wrote a dissertation (De plantis esculentis insularum oceani australis commentatio botanica) on edible plants from the South Sea islands. However, Forster did not like the work. One reason was that he should give his lectures in Latin , which he found difficult: “The little Latin I know, I owe only to my reading; Reading alone is not enough for writing, and it has been a long time since I read Latin authors. ”He also struggled with economic difficulties and did not feel at home in Vilnius:“ I and my wife, apart from each other, enjoy no joy "No pleasure, no leisurely pace - in an inhospitable and ugly country - and it must hurt three or ten times that I can't even get by."

Private life

On September 3, 1785, Forster married Therese Heyne , the daughter of the ancient scientist Christian Gottlob Heyne . She had met him during his time in Göttingen and later became one of the first independent writers in Germany. Georg Christoph Lichtenberg commented critically on the planned wedding: “I wish the good Forster the best of luck, but I don't think he will find it. Forster is for love in the real mind; Therese for the à la Grenadière […]. ”Further statements by him and other contemporaries can be interpreted as evidence of Forster's predisposition to the same sex. In fact, he maintained close friendships with numerous homosexual men and married relatively late, according to his own admission, also for economic reasons. There is no clear evidence of Forster's homosexual disposition. He has always denied it himself. It is possible that his relationships with men were just an expression of the friendship cult typical of the 18th century.

As Lichtenberg suspects, the marriage was extremely unhappy. Both partners had different attitudes towards sexuality: The diary entries of the pastor's son Forster suggest that he suffered from his sex drive not least because of religious convictions. Forster had four children with Therese. With the two youngest, who were born in Mainz, the paternity is controversial. Therese fell in love with other men twice, first with Friedrich Ludwig Wilhelm Meyer , and around 1791/92 with Ludwig Ferdinand Huber , whom she later married. Forster had proposed a ménage à trois both times , but Therese refused. She left him in December 1792, shortly after the occupation of Mainz by French revolutionary troops, to take herself and the children to safety in Strasbourg. Forster remained closely connected to her by letter until his death. A letter that Forster wrote to his wife Therese in 1793 was added by Walter Benjamin to his collection of letters, German People . Huber wrote a short biography about her deceased ex-husband for the Conversations-Lexicon von Brockhaus (1817), in which it is said that even after he separated from her, he had her "except for his deathbed" with "exalted love " honored. According to Huber, Forster's life was characterized by a constant "dissonance" between the "size of his views and the smallness of his sphere of activity" or the "admiration of the crowd and the insignificance of his domestic circumstances".

Failed expedition plans and relocation to Mainz

Because of the unsatisfactory situation in Vilnius, Forster was delighted when he learned in June 1787 that he had been chosen to head a large Russian expedition to the Pacific that Tsarina Catherine the Great was planning to finance. The voyage was planned for four years and was to take five ships from England via Madeira , Brazil , the Cape of Good Hope , Australia, New Zealand, the Friendship , Society and Sandwich Islands to the Pacific coast of America, the Kuriles and Japan and Lead china. During the expedition, Forster was to receive an annual salary of 2,000 rubles and his wife an annual allowance of 1,000 rubles. After his return, he - in the event of his death, his wife - was to enjoy an annual pension of 1,500 rubles for life. The Russian government also paid off its debts in Vilnius. Forster let himself be released from his obligations there and returned to Göttingen with his wife in August. However, the expedition did not materialize because the Russo-Turkish War broke out in 1787 . Therefore, In 1788 Forster accepted the position of senior librarian at the University of Mainz , which he had been offered through the mediation of the historian Johannes von Müller (1752-1809).

Views of the Lower Rhine

From Mainz, Forster went on an extensive journey with the young Alexander von Humboldt in the spring of 1790 , which took him to the Rhineland , the Austrian Netherlands , Holland , England and Paris. He described his impressions in the three-volume work Views of the Lower Rhine, Brabant, Flanders, Holland, England and France in April, May and June 1790 , published between 1791 and 1794 . In a letter to the author, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe praised it as "as pleasant as teaching, when you have finished you like to start all over again and wish to travel with such a good, well-trained observer". In addition to many economic considerations, the book also contains detailed art-historical considerations that were just as influential for scientific art history as A Voyage round the world was for ethnology . Forster, for example, was one of the first to arrive at a fair assessment of Gothic art , which at the time was still largely dismissed as "barbaric" , and anticipated ideas from the Romantic era .

Like 15 years earlier in the South Seas, his main interest on this new trip was again people's social behavior. Popular uprisings in Flanders and Brabant, and of course the revolution in France, had aroused Forster's interest. His trip to these areas as well as to the Netherlands and England, where civil liberties were comparatively well developed, should not least serve him to assure himself of his own political judgment. Because at that time he was already a staunch opponent of the Ancien Régime . Like many other German scholars, he had welcomed the outbreak of the revolution the previous year as a logical consequence of the Enlightenment. As early as July 30, 1789, shortly after the storm on the Bastille became known , he had written to his father-in-law, the Göttingen philologist Christian Gottlob Heyne :

“But it is nice to see what philosophy has matured in the mind and then brought about in the state. [...] So it is the safest way to educate people about their rights; then the rest of the matter will appear by itself. "

Jacobin Club and Republic of Mainz

Assembly of the Mainz Jacobin Club. Probably Georg Forster at the lectern.
Liberty tree with Jacobin cap in the Moselle landscape on the border between the Duchy of Luxembourg and the French Republic. Watercolor over pen and pencil drawing by J. W. Goethe (1792).

On October 21, 1792, the French Revolutionary Army under General Custine occupied Mainz . Two days later, on the initiative of Georg Wilhelm Böhmer, the Mainz Jacobin Club was founded, which Forster joined at the beginning of November after initial hesitation. From the beginning of 1793 he was actively involved in the establishment of the Mainz Republic . The first republic on German soil based on bourgeois democratic principles comprised roughly the area on the left bank of the Rhine between Landau and Bingen . Forster became vice-president of the provisional administration and was elected as a member of the Rhine-German National Convention . After the decision of the Paris National Convention to introduce democracy in the occupied territories, Forster was one of the initiators of a “constitutional survey” in Mainz and 40 villages, in which 10% of the Mainz guild citizens and 29 villages voted for the “Franconian constitution”.

From January to March 1793 he was editor of Die neue Mainzer Zeitung or Der Volksfreund . In his first article he wrote: “The freedom of the press finally prevails within these walls where the printing press was invented.” The freedom did not last long, however, because the Mainz Republic only existed until the French withdrew in July 1793.

Death in revolutionary Paris

Forster was no longer in Mainz at that time. As a member of the National Convention, the first democratic parliament in Germany, he was sent to Paris to apply for the annexation of the Mainz republic, which was not viable on its own, to France. The order was accepted, but it was done away with by the recapture of Mainz by the troops of the anti-French coalition.

Due to a decree of Emperor Franz II , which made the cooperation of German "subjects" with the French revolutionary government a punishable offense, Forster succumbed to imperial ban and could not return to Germany. Completely destitute and without his wife, who had already left him with the children in Mainz, he stayed in Paris. There the revolution was just entering the phase of the reign of terror , the territory of the welfare committee under Maximilien de Robespierre .

Forster now became aware of the contradiction between the revolution's claim to promote the happiness of mankind and revolutionary practice, which could cruelly ignore the happiness and life of the individual. In contrast to many other German supporters of the revolution, such as Friedrich Schiller , Forster did not turn away from revolutionary ideals even under the impression of the terrorist regime. He compared the events in France with a natural event that could not be stopped. Shortly before his death he wrote:

“The revolution is a hurricane. Who can restrain it? A person, put into action by them, can do things that posterity will not comprehend with horror. "

Before the reign of terror reached its climax, Georg Forster died in January 1794, at the age of 40, of pneumonia in a small attic apartment on Rue des Moulins in Paris.


Soon after Forster's death, his work was almost completely forgotten outside of the professional world, not least as a result of his involvement during the French Revolution. Depending on the current political trends, Forster has been judged differently up to the present day.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the philosopher Friedrich Schlegel wrote about him: "Among all actual prose writers, none breathes the spirit of free progression as much as Georg Forster." Forster was also judged rather positively in Vormärz . His daughter - who was not named - published the first complete edition of his works together with Georg Gottfried Gervinus in 1843, thus ensuring Forster's impact.

In general, however, in the time of burgeoning nationalism in post- Napoleonic Germany, the image of the alleged “traitor to the fatherland” increasingly obscured that of the researcher and writer. Forster's memory was ostracized during the German Empire and even more so at the time of National Socialism . An exception to this was the designation of the non-ferrous metal ore mine Georg Forster in the Bensberg ore district in Bergisch Gladbach in 1850 .

The GDR, on the other hand, incorporated the memory of the researcher and revolutionary into its own tradition. For example, the first German research station in Antarctica , which was established by the GDR in 1976, was named Georg Forster Station . A high school, now a grammar school, in Berlin-Friedrichsfelde bears Forster's name.

In the search for democratic traditions in German history, a differentiated debate with Forster began in the Federal Republic of Germany since the 1970s . In the 1980s, for example, the University Society of Kassel founded the Georg Forster Prize for outstanding achievements at the University of Kassel that not only stand out in terms of their subject, but also go beyond the horizon of their own subject. The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation also awards a Georg Forster Research Prize. And since 2015, the Rhineland-Palatinate state parliament has honored its former members with the Georg Forster Medal.

The CMA CGM Georg Forster

On the campus of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz there has been the "Georg Forster Building" since 2013, which houses the social sciences and the Institute for Art History and Musicology. On the building at Neue Universitätsstrasse 2 in Mainz there is a memorial plaque for Forster, also in Göttingen at Haus Papendiek 16. In the meantime, streets and schools all over Germany have been named for Forster, since 2007, for example, the Integrated Comprehensive School Wörrstadt , which is on the territory of the former Republic of Mainz and since 2012 the Georg-Forster-Gymnasium in Kamp-Lintfort on the Lower Rhine. In addition, the forest tern and a mega container ship of the French shipping and logistics company CMA CGM are named after him.

Forster's reputation as one of the first and most important German ethnologists is undisputed today. His work contributed significantly to establishing ethnology as an independent branch of science in Germany.


Work editions

  • Georg Forster's all writings. Edited by his daughter and accompanied by Forster's characteristics by GG Gervinus in 9 volumes (= first complete edition). Brockhaus, Leipzig 1843.
    • Voyages of discovery to Tahiti and the South Seas. Edited by Hermann Homann. Extract (volume 1 and 2) from the complete edition in 9 volumes from 1843. Reprint Edition Erdmann, 1988, ISBN 3-522-60160-2 .
  • Georg Forster's works, all writings, diaries, letters. Edited by the German Academy of Sciences in Berlin, G. Steiner, H. Fiedler a. a. Akademie, Berlin 1958 ff. (Previously Vol. 1–18 without 6.3 and 10.2; 19 and 20 planned).
  • Works in four volumes. Edited by Gerhard Steiner, Leipzig 1971
  • Forster's works in two volumes. Selected and introduced by Gerhard Steiner. 3rd edition, Berlin and Weimar 1983 (Library of German Classics)
  • Ranger. Reading book for our time. Ed. Gerhard Steiner, Manfred Häckel & Lu Märten. Series: Reading books for our time. Thüringer Volksverlag, Weimar 1952 a. ö.



  • Georg Forster, letters to Ernst Friedrich Hector Falcke . Newly found Forsteriana from the Gold and Rosicrucian times. Edited and with an introduction by Michael Ewert and Hermann Schüttler. Kassel University Press, Kassel 2009, ISBN 978-3-89958-485-1 .



  • Georg Forster Studies. Edited by Horst Dippel and Helmut Scheuer on behalf of the Georg Forster Society , since 2007 by Stefan Greif and Michael Ewert. Kassel University Press, Kassel 1997 ff. ISSN  1439-9105
  • Hanno Beck : Georg Forster - geographer, circumnavigator and revolutionary (1754–1794). In: Hanno Beck: Great Geographers. Pioneers - outsiders - scholars. Dietrich Reimer Verlag, Berlin 1982, ISBN 3-496-00507-6 , pp. 54-82
  • Ulrike Bergmann: The mesalliance. Georg Forster: circumnavigator - Therese Forster: writer. Frankfurt am Main 2008, ISBN 978-3-940111-54-8 .
  • Alfred DoveForster, Georg . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 7, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1877, pp. 172-181.
  • Ulrich Enzensberger : Georg Forster. Circumnavigator and revolutionary. Wagenbach, Berlin 1979, ISBN 3-8031-2057-8 .
  • Ulrich Enzensberger: Georg Forster. A life in pieces. Eichborn, Frankfurt am Main 1996. dtv, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-423-13248-5 .
  • Michael Ewert: "Reason, feeling and fantasy, united in the most beautiful dance". The essay by Georg Forster. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 1993, ISBN 3-88479-769-7 .
  • Michael Ewert: Georg Forster in the light of newly discovered sources . In: Georg Forster Studies XI / 1 (2006), pp. 31–62.
  • Rotraut Fischer: Travel as the art of experience. Georg Forster's "Views of the Lower Rhine". The "truth" in the "pictures of the real". Hain, Frankfurt am Main 1990, ISBN 3-445-08944-2 .
  • Jörn Garber (Ed.): Perception - Construction - Text. Images of the real in Georg Forster's work. Niemeyer, Tübingen 2000, ISBN 3-484-81012-2 .
  • Jörn Garber, Tanja van Hoorn: Nature-Man-Culture. Georg Forster in the scientific field of his time. Wehrhahn, Hannover 2006, ISBN 3-86525-017-3 .
  • Jürgen Goldstein: Georg Forster. Between freedom and the force of nature . Matthes & Seitz, Berlin 2015, ISBN 978-3-95757-090-1 .
  • Klaus Harpprecht : Georg Forster or Love for the World. A biography. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1990, ISBN 978-3-499-12634-5 .
  • Dieter Heintze: Georg Forster (1754–1794) , in: Klassiker der Kulturanthropologie , Wolfgang Marshall (Ed.), CH Beck, Munich 1990, pp. 69–87, 323–327.
  • Carola Hilmes: Georg Forster and Therese Huber - A marriage in letters. In: Gislinde Seybert (Ed.): The literary couple. Le couple littéraire. Intertextuality of the gender discourses. Intertextualité et discours des sex. Aisthesis, Bielefeld 2003, ISBN 3-89528-324-X , pp. 111–135. ( Full text , PDF, 0.2 MB)
  • Tanja van Hoorn: Read from the body. Georg Forster in the context of physical anthropology of the 18th century. Hallesche's contributions to the European Enlightenment 23. Niemeyer, Tübingen 2004, ISBN 3-484-81023-8 . ( Review by Meike Steiger , IASL)
  • Kurt Kersten : The circumnavigator. Johann Georg Adam Forster 1754–1794. Francke, Bern 1957.
  • Claus-Volker Klenke, Jörn Garber, Dieter Heintze: Georg Forster from an interdisciplinary perspective. Contributions to the International Georg Forster Symposium in Kassel, 1. – 4. April 1993. Academy, Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-05-002614-6
  • Christian Graf von Krockow : The great dream of education. On the trail of the great explorers James Cook and Georg Forster. List, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-548-60518-4 .
  • Gundolf Krüger: Earliest cultural documents from Polynesia: The Göttingen Cook / Forster Collection . In: Gundolf Krüger, Ulrich Menter, Jutta Steffen-Schrade (eds.): TABU ?! Hidden Powers - Secret Knowledge. Imhof Verlag, 2012, ISBN 3-86568-864-0 , pp. 128-131 and numerous illustrations from the museum's holdings.
  • Wolf Lepenies : A forgotten tradition of German anthropology , in: Saeculum , 24, 1973, pp. 50–78.
  • Helmut Mathy : Georg Forster in Mainz. From spiritual enlightenment to concrete revolution. in: The Republic of Mainz. The Rhine-German National Convention. Edited by Landtag Rheinland-Pfalz, Mainz 1990, ISBN 3-7758-1284-9 , pp. 185–190.
  • Jakob Moleschott : Georg Forster, the natural scientist of the people . Frankfurt am Main 1854
  • Johannes Paul : Georg Forster: Sensitive circumnavigation. In: Adventurous Journey through Life - Seven Biographical Essays. Wilhelm Köhler, Minden 1954, pp. 67-112
  • Christine-Kai Pommer: Heinrich Friedrich Link - The journey of a naturalist and medical doctor to France, Spain and Portugal , dissertation, 2008, digitized
  • Alois Prinz : Paradise is nowhere. The life story of Georg Forster. Frankfurt 2008 ISBN 978-3-458-35053-8
  • Charlotte Thomas: A trip around the world. Story about Georg Forster's childhood and youth . Knabes Youth Library, Weimar 1967
  • Gerhard Steiner:  Forster, Johann Georg Adam. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 5, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1961, ISBN 3-428-00186-9 , p. 301 ( digitized version ).
  • Gerhard Steiner: Freemason and Rosicrucian. Georg Forster's way through secret societies. Academy, Berlin 1987 ISBN 3-05-000448-7
  • Gerhard Steiner: Georg Forster and the French Revolution. in: Erik Neutsch: Forster in Paris. Narrative. Mitteldeutscher Verlag, Leipzig 1981; again in One Tale, Three Essays. Dingsda, Querfurt 1994 ISBN 3-928498-36-3
  • Gerhard Steiner: Georg Forster. Metzler, Stuttgart 1977
  • Ruth Stummann-Bowert: Georg Forster: translator, editor and reviewer using the example of the "News from the Pelew Islands in the western region of the Pacific" 1789, in: Georg-Forster-Studien, 9, 2004, pp. 181–223
  • Tilman Spreckelsen : The draftsman of Captain Cook. Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung , September 23, 2007, pp. 72–73
  • Ludwig Uhlig: Georg Forster. Life adventure of a learned world citizen (1754–1794). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2004 ISBN 3-525-36731-7
  • Frank Vorpahl: The world explorer. Looking for Georg Forster . Galiani, Berlin 2018 ISBN 3-86971-149-3 .
  • Eva Waniek: Positioning and Exceeding - The “island groups” of the feminine in Georg Forster's journey around the world. In: Living with Conquest. Reflections on a modern syndrome, communications from the Institute for Science and Art, 48th year, 1993 / No. 1 and 2, pp. 53–60.
  • Georg Forster. The South Seas in Wörlitz. Edited by Frank Vorpahl and the Dessau-Wörlitz Cultural Foundation. Munich: Hirmer 2019. ISBN 978-3-7774-3179-6 [German. Ed.], ISBN 978-3-7774-3314-1 [engl. Output].
  • Elisabeth Décultot , Jana Kittelmann, Andrea Thiele, Ingo Uhlig (eds.): Collecting the world. Johann Reinhold Forster and Georg Forster. Wallstein-Verlag, Göttingen 2020.

Fictional representations


  • Ina Seidel : The labyrinth. George Forster's life novel. Novel. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt , Stuttgart 1922. Several new editions; Ullstein, Frankfurt 1983
  • Andreas Kollender : Teori. dtv, Munich 2000 ISBN 3-423-24194-2 (novel-like description of the trip with James Cook).
  • Hans Jürgen Geerdts: Rhenish Overture. Historical novel. Verlag der Nation, Berlin (GDR), 1978.



  • Permanent exhibition "Georg Forster". Wörlitz Castle , two parts since 2018; 3rd part from May 2019

Web links

Commons : Georg Forster  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Georg Forster  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Ludwig Uhlig: Georg Forster: Life adventures of a learned world citizen (1754-1794). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht , Göttingen 2004, p. 25 ff.
  2. Article by Michael Schreiber in the Germersheimer Translators' Dictionary , 2017 with a list of his known translations, information on co-translators.
  3. Lotte Burkhardt: Directory of eponymous plant names . Extended Edition. Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin, Free University Berlin Berlin 2018. [1]
  4. cit. according to Frank Vorpahl: Ulu im Umu. From Forsters Brodbaum to Global Breadfruit , in: Stefan Greif u. Michael Ewert (Ed.): Georg Forster Studies XXI: Georg Forster: Postkolonialismus und Künste , Kassel University Press, 2018, pp. 49 - 62, p. 54
  5. Also under the title: Discovery trip to Tahiti and the South Seas . Stuttgart 1995, ISBN 3-522-60160-2 or ISBN 3-8291-1211-4 (an excerpt from the nine-volume work).
  6. Holger Krahnke: The members of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen 1751-2001 (= Treatises of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen, Philological-Historical Class. Volume 3, Vol. 246 = Treatises of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen, Mathematical-Physical Class. Episode 3, vol. 50). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2001, ISBN 3-525-82516-1 , p. 83.
  7. ^ Member entry by Georg Forster at the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina , accessed on January 12, 2017.
  8. In his work On the Use of Teleological Principles in Philosophy (1788), Kant goes into detail on Forster's criticism of Kant's concept of race and also on Forster's work of 1786, in which he sets up "a color ladder of the skin" of the inhabitants of the northern hemisphere .
  9. ^ Georg Forster: Letters to Ernst Friedrich Hector Falcke. Newly found Forsteriana from the Gold and Rosicrucian times. Edited and with an introduction by Michael Ewert and Hermann Schüttler. Kassel University Press, Kassel 2009.
  10. According to B. Blawis in: The Freemason Museum . Volume V., pp. 190 ff.
  11. ^ Eckart Kleßmann : Universitätsmamsellen. Eichborn, Frankfurt am Main 2008, ISBN 978-3-8218-4588-3 , p. 162 ff.
  12. ^ Georg Friedrich Lichtenberg: Writings and Letters, Vol. 4, Munich 1967, p. 605.
  13. Bernd-Ulrich Hergemöller: Mann for Mann, Hamburg 1998, p. 234 f.
  14. Hermann Kettner (ed.): Johann Georg Adam Forster's correspondence with S. Th. Sömmerring , Braunschweig 1877, p. 212 f.
  15. Georg Forster's Works , Vol. 12, Diaries, Berlin 1993, p. 21.
  16. Georg Forster's works , vol. 12, diaries, Berlin 1993, pp. 69, 93 and 148
  17. Bernd-Ulrich Hergemöller: Mann for Mann, Hamburg 1998, p. 235.
  18. Carola Hilmes: Georg Forster and Therese Huber: A marriage in letters ,, January 12, 2004 (PDF; 175 kB).
  19. Johann Georg Adam Forster , in: Conversations-Lexicon or encyclopaean concise dictionary for educated classes , Vol. 3, Leipzig and Altenburg 1817 (FA Brockhaus), p. 710 f.
  20. ^ Cf. Heinrich Benedikt: When Belgium was Austrian . Herold, Vienna, Munich 1965, p. 247 ff .
  21. ^ Letter from Goethe to Forster dated June 25, 1792.
  22. ^ Franz Dumont, The Mainzer Republic 1792/93 . French export of revolution and German attempt at democracy , Issue 55 of the series of publications by the Rhineland-Palatinate State Parliament, ISSN  1610-3432 , ISBN 978-3-9811001-3-6 , pp. 64, 74, 75
  23. ^ Georg Forster Prize of the Kassel University Society,
  24. Georg Forster Research Prize at the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (; Retrieved December 17, 2014.
  25. CMA CGM Georg Forster: baptized in Hamburg ,
  26. Anthology, excerpts from all major works. With a very detailed timetable and explanations of words. 506 pages, 11 b / w illustrations
  27. A dedication with the abbreviation JGAF identifies Forster as a translator
This version was added to the list of excellent articles on August 23, 2004 .