Universal German Library
Universal German Library is a work begun in 1765, under the direction of Frederick Nicolai, with about fifty writers, afterwards increased to one hundred and thirty. It became at once the public organ of all those who felt called upon to lift their voice against superstition, fanaticism, and prejudice, as well as everything which was spiritually elevated or that was related to a more lively imagination and a deeper feeling. It was the high tribunal of rationalism. Not alone the orthodox, nor supposed enthusiasts and pietists, nor Lavater, but Goethe, and even poetry, and philosophy wherever it arose above arbitrary and secular discussion (e.g. Kant and Fichte), were spurned by this inquisitorial court as folly, flattery, and secret Jesuitism. The much-lauded tolerance was immediately converted into intolerance and bigotry. All the articles in the Library, however, were not colored by Nicoiai's skepticism, for there were also many weighty opinions of worthy scholars. The work served an important purpose in bringing to the knowledge of the world literary productions of value, and in fostering and encouraging a taste for reading. See Hagenbach, Hist. of the Church in the 18th and 19th Centuries, 1, 307 sq.