Jacques-Henri Master

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Jakob Heinrich Meister (born August 6, 1744 in Bückeburg , Schaumburg-Lippe , † November 9, 1826 in Zurich ) was a Swiss-French theologian , author and journalist .

Live and act

His father was the Reformed pastor Johann Heinrich Meister , his mother Marie Malherbe († 1782) came from Touraine and came from a Huguenot family. His paternal grandfather, Johannes Meister (1698–1746), was a deacon in Stein am Rhein , the grandmother's name was Anna Künzlin.

The family changed their place of residence several times due to the professional activities of the father, for example they lived in Bayreuth in 1721 , in Schwabach from 1730 and in Bückeburg, which then belonged to the Grafschaft Schaumburg-Lippe , from 1730 . When Jakob Heinrich was around three years old, the family moved to Erlangen in 1747 . Another station followed in 1757 in Küsnacht , where the father had been the dean since 1758; Jakob Heinrich was now thirteen years old. In Zurich he attended the Collegium Carolinum school of scholars . In 1763 he was appointed priest ordained . The views of Johann Jakob Bodmer were formative for him during this time .

During his travels and stays in Geneva in 1764 and in Paris from 1766 to 1767, Master met Voltaire and Rousseau personally, and he found access to the leading Parisian salons .

Returning to his new hometown of Zurich, he published the deistic pamphlet De l'origine des principes religieux (1768) in 1768, in which he rejected the revelation belief, which is why he was condemned by both the Small Council and the Great Council . He lost his citizenship in Zurich and the writing was burned by the executioner . Meister received high praise from Voltaire for his statements, but had to remain in exile in Paris for a long time, from 1769 to 1792 .

Front page of a reprint of Correspondance littéraire published in 1879.

Since he had now completely moved his center of life to Paris, Meister wrote his other writings almost entirely in French. In 1775 he took over the editing of the " Correspondance littéraire, philosophique et critique " from Friedrich Melchior Grimm , whose secretary he was for many years. An activity as an editor occupied his whole attention from 1773 to 1793. This handwritten copied publication had a wide reach; It was read at sixteen European courts and also by private individuals from Petersburg to Florence: In terms of content, it brought news from the cultural, literary and social life of the French capital. The work as a journalist and editor of the "Correspondance littéraire" was very much in keeping with the diverse interests of Meister.

Events during the French Revolution forced him to leave France in the autumn of 1792. He traveled to England , which he had first visited in 1789. In 1794 he returned to Zurich via Coppet and Bern . On March 2, 1806 he married Ursula Anna Schulthess (1748–1834), the widow of Johann Heinrich Bürkli . The marriage remained childless.

Works (selection)

  • De l'origine des principes religieux. 1768 ( digitized version )
  • À la mémoire de M. Diderot. , better known as aux mânes de Diderot. 1786
  • De la moral naturelle. Volland, Paris 1788 ( digitized version ); German Of natural morality. Edited by Christoph Martin Wieland . Göschen, Leipzig 1789 ( digitized version )
  • The premiers principes du système social appliqués à la révolution présente. Guerbart, Nice, Paris 1790
  • Lettres sur l'imagination. Orell, Gessner, Füssli, Zurich 1794; German letters about the imagination . Orell, Gessner, Füssli and Comp., Zurich 1794 ( digitized version )
  • Betzi ou L'amour comme il est: roman qui n'en est pas un précédé d'entretiens philosophiques et politiques. A.-A. Renouard, Paris 1801
  • Essai de poésies religieuses. Impr. De P. Didot l'aîné, Paris 1801
  • Sur la Suisse à la fin du dix-huitième siècle. Lunéville 1801; German About Switzerland at the end of the 18th century. 1801 ( digitized version )
  • Cinq nouvelles helvétiennes. A.-A. Renouard, Paris 1805
  • Euthanasia ou Mes derniers entretiens avec elle sur l'immortalité de l'âme. A.-A. Renouard, Paris 1809
  • Heures ou Méditations religieuses à l'usage de toutes les communions de l'Église. Printed by Fürsti, Zurich 1820
  • Mélanges de philosophie, de morale et de littérature. Genève and Paris 1822
  • Souvenirs de mon dernier voyage à Paris. 1795. A. Picard et fils, Paris 1910 ( digitized version )


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Gertrud Muraro-Ganz:  Meister, Jakob Heinrich (Jacques-Henri). In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 16, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1990, ISBN 3-428-00197-4 , p. 726 f. ( Digitized version ) .; Dictionnaire des journalistes (1600-1789). Jeanne Carriat: 565 Jakob MEISTER (1744-1826)
  2. ^ Heinrich BreitingerMeister, Johann Heinrich . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 21, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1885, p. 259.
  3. Register. Henri Meister 1744-1826 Letter Collection and Library
  4. Heinrich Meister. The library of Jakob Heinrich Meister