And indeed, it is their concept of love which to this day is mostly conceived of as the Romantic notion of love. In order to avoid definitions of Romanticism or early Romanticism which exclude large sections of works whose authors are commonly regarded as Romantic, I would argue we need to widen the parameters and allow for differences, even within the subsection of early Romanticism, and so suggest the following extended hypothesis. Most early Romantic protagonists are young men who seek their artistic destiny in travelling the world and whose relationship with the world is symbolized in their relationship to a female muse.
But the nature of this love and its literary presentation vary greatly.
When Diotima expresses a desire to join Hyperion in the revolutionary activities she had originally advised against, he requests her to stay at home and quietly to guard the sacred flame and beauty for his regeneration on his return. Yet, despite lofty idealism being rooted in conventional gender norms of the time, Hyperion, in its epistolary form, is on the other hand wide enough to give a voice to Diotima, even though it is only in the form of a swan song — letters she writes to Hyperion before her death give evidence of the reflective depth a female protagonist is endowed with.
While all these different forms of love are associated with successful artistic inspiration and longing, none is consummated in the texts. Although there are a number of well-known women associated with the Romantic movement, in most Romantic texts the beloved is female, and the artist desiring her is male. This reflects the fact that, in spite of some remarkable changes to gender roles practised in Romantic circles, many patriarchal structures nevertheless prevailed on a psychological and social level. Even women in the Romantic circle rebelling against the restrictions of patriarchal society had either internalised the assumption that the human condition was generically embodied in the male thus creating male protagonists or were finding the social hurdles to become a creative artist as a woman hard to overcome.
Many of the famous Romantic women did not create fiction. They were primarily known for their personalities, lifestyle, salons and influence on the men around them, rather than for their own writing. Most of them did not engage much with recognised literary genres in the public sphere, but were active primarily in secondary kinds of writing like translation and reviews, or private writing, like letters or diaries as opposed to epistolary fiction as practised widely by eighteenth-century male novelists : Dorothea Schlegel translated extensively, but only published one unfinished novel, Florentin , and in it depicts a male protagonist.
Rahel von Varnhagen became famous for her posthumously published letters, but never wrote fiction. Although her edited and revised collections of authentic correspondences were highly successful at the time — and her writing was revived again, together with that of Karoline. While feminist scholarship has tried to reclaim the writing of Romantic women above all their letter writing as part of the canon, they have neither had a lasting influence on the style of other writers in the course of literary history, nor has their writing gained popular acclaim among a contemporary readership.
Her death in childbirth finally leaves him free to marry a more congenial lover, thus demonstrating that irony does not necessarily imply a rejection of faith in utopia. In the depiction of incompatibility in marriage, there is a noteworthy discrepancy in the causes suggested for this. The ironic stance towards the protagonist, who is nevertheless presented affectionately, is something which unites the early Romantic Jean Paul with the late Romantic E. Hoffmann, despite many differences in their concepts of love and art. There are other exceptions to the notion that early Romantic writing depicts love for a woman as overcoming the split between body and soul, sensuality and reason, temporality and eternity, as an ideal which is instrumentalised for the self-realisation and.
In the Nachtwachen, the nightwatchman Kreuzgang rhapsodically and mockingly comments on his experiences in a world which lacks meaning. Social cruelty towards lovers is satirically exposed, but the utopian concept of love and the poet dreaming it are ridiculed just as much by the emphasis on the gulf between ideal and real. But in Florentin this longing is not even temporarily fulfilled.
Diametrically opposed concepts of love can even be found in the work of one and the same writer. Thus not all early Romantic texts promote the idealisation of love, and those that do demonstrate a range of diverse notions of love. Similarly, late Romantic texts do not entirely renounce the idealisation of love. The wrong choice or loving the right woman in the wrong way can lead to the early. The refusal to merge the ideal and the real has perhaps contributed to the view that late Romanticism is pessimistic and gave up idealism. And it is again love that symbolises what can go wrong.
Rather than evoking ideals directly, much of later Romantic art depicts ideals of love, art and of the artist indirectly, by focusing in the first instance on psychological problems in achieving creativity and love, or on the effect of social decline on the artist, or on satirical portraits of failed artists wrongly held in high esteem by society. Love is portrayed more as a task which requires self-discipline than as a utopian state of being which symbolises ecstatic fulfilment.
But that does not imply that the ideal itself is rejected. As a human being, the muse proves hollow and does not fulfil the expectations her lover had of her. Rather than being lifted to a higher plane through the rapturous union with his beloved as in Lucinde, and suggested in Franz Sternbald and Heinrich von Ofterdingen , the Count aspires to, and achieves, a higher level through moral effort and steadfastness in the face of disillusionment.
Yet he only survives a serious illness by a kind of Faustian pact — in his case a blood transfusion. His magic revival results in the transference of his love for his childhood beloved to her daughter whom he marries. A love triangle ensues in which his young wife feels she takes second place in her. In his later story Raphael und seine Nachbarinnen, Arnim explores one of the conundrums in the reception of art in Romanticism.
Raphael was seen by the Romantics mainly as the artist of the divine and transcendental. Losing Benedetta, Raphael also loses sight of the spiritual aspect of love and becomes dependent for artistic creation on the sensual satisfaction Ghita provides. His early death is thus presented as the result of his recognition that he chose the wrong muse.
However, the fact that the historical Raphael produced great art in spite of having chosen the wrong muse, or even that low sensual experience was the foundation of transcendent art, points to the impossibility of making idealism merge with historical reality. In Ahnung und Gegenwart, Countess Romana is negatively portrayed as a power-hungry, amoral libertine, and most relationships of the fictional characters end in despair, with the protagonist Friedrich choosing renunciation in a hermit-like existence on top of a mountain.
Some writers from the period of late Romanticism, it is true, choose to focus less on the love of the artist, but create protagonists with a different spectrum of experiences. Heinrich von Kleist explores the extremes characters display in the context of war, revolution, or excessive demands by the state on the individual: the possibility of the coexistence, in a noble character, of love and rape in war in his Marquise von O…; of love and murder in the context of the danger and dissimulation brought about by violent revolution in Die Verlobung in St Domingo; of love and cannibalistic destruction in Penthesilea.
Yet even Kleist, so famous for the violent actions of his characters, and for exploring extreme and contradictory states of feeling, holds on to an idea of love. While the idealisation of the beloved recalls the artist-muse constellations in some of early Romantic literature, there are decisive differences. Above all, the muse is male and an established writer, whose kindness to her is to elevate the female correspondent-editor from insignificance because of his acknowledged greatness.
The female would-be artist in this epistolary fiction thus partly feeds on reflected glory made more effective as she styles herself as much younger and more naive than the author was at the time , and partly presents herself as a precocious genius. Since this fictionalised epistolary text is based on real letters, exchanged between historical persons about whom we know extra-literary historical facts, the process of idealisation is, I would suggest, from a twenty-first-century perspective, less convincing than pure fictional idealisation. Paradoxically, the most commercially successful of them often owe their success to the conservative thus non-threatening social message and the epigonal thus familiar aesthetic structures they employ.
A male first- person narrator, Guilio Franchino, spends an eerie night in a castle-like inn: the portraits in his room frighten him, as they seem to come not only alive, but to resemble him, thus hinting at the Romantic motif of making discoveries about his ancestors. This story, like many of hers, uses the supernatural conservatively to promote the sanctity of marriage. Hoffmann appears to be diametrically opposed to key tenets of early Romanticism when, in his early work, he depicts the necessity for the artist to renounce the possession of the beloved woman in order to pursue his ideals in art, i.
But religious vocabulary is for Hoffmann only a metaphor for a philosophical problem and for the high esteem in which he holds art. In his later writing, Hoffmann depicts an internalisation of what to him is a necessary separation between the love for an idealised woman and a real woman. Whereas Anselmus in Der goldene Topf ; The Golden Pot has to choose between the real girl, Veronika, and the symbolic representation of art, the green snake Serpentina, Giglio Fava in Prinzessin Brambilla ; Princess Brambilla has to recognise the coexistence of the real and the ideal, both in himself and in his beloved.
Only this act of reflection, symbolised by the mirror images of a pair of lovers reflected in the lake of Urdar, can liberate them, enable them to produce good art and let them enter into a fulfilled, loving relationship. But Hoffmann, as so many other late Romantics, does cling to aesthetic humanism. However, he explores primarily the difficulties, dangers and failures an artist may encounter in love for his muse and putting a notion of the utopian function of art into practice.
Instead of evoking an ideal directly, Hoffmann often enables his readers to deduce it from the structurally complex suggestion of the mistakes his fictional protagonists are making. Set in Renaissance Italy, for the first time in German Romanticism a woman writer is portrayed positively, by a man, as an original, independent, gifted, spirited and strong artist, one who moreover has a fulfilling sexual relationship with the man of her dreams. But as an artist, she has no conflict. Her exceptional talent is never questioned either by her or the people around her.
The conflict in her life merely arises from the contrast between her purity and superiority of mind and her decadent environment. In this struggle she bows to necessity, is physically crushed, but her spirit soars. Her cause is finally avenged by society on those who murdered her, and thus she achieves social recognition in death. Yet her purity and her lack of internal conflict or development on the one hand point to her function as a symbol of beauty to others, rather than embodying the growing and struggling of a creative artist.
Furthermore, the alleged purity of her mind stands in contradiction to the fact that she loves a man who she knows has murdered his wife and her husband. Martin Neuhold argues that early Romanticism portrays the unrepresentable by hinting at its absence through poetological means: use of the Fragment, the motif of yearning, of sentimental material and irony. A possibility, hinted at, can loom larger than a reality. Implicitly or explicitly, late Romanticism develops an ideal of love which has its base less in emotional symbiosis and ecstatic sensuality than in reflection and responsibility, although the attraction of Dionysian sensuality continues to be thematised.
This chapter has explored a range of different concepts of Romantic human fulfilment in love and of aesthetic means to achieve it. Rather than mapping literary development on a model of sudden ruptures and as direct reflections of historical experiences, I suggest that cultural and political experiences, literary examples and above all the. Any would-be rigorous definition of a movement may paradoxically exclude texts from the historical corpus whence the definition was derived. By nature, any literary grouping is always in flux, and the setting of boundaries has to bear in mind the simultaneity of continuity and change.
What I think all the Romantic writers share is the belief in the imaginative possibilities of the human mind, the exploration of experiences beyond narrow concepts of enlightened reason, and the notion that art should strive for an ideal and thus contribute towards human perfectibility.
The belief in the possibility of a triadic concept of historical development, to which their work is to contribute, separates Romantic artists from those in modernism and postmodernism. Huch, Die Romantik, 2 vols. Leipzig: Haessel, , vol. II, pp. III, pp. IV, pp. IV, p. See H. Germanistische Erkundungen einer Metapher, eds.
Saul, D. Kluckhohn, Die Auffassung der Liebe in der Literatur des See also pp. Friedrich Beissner Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, , p. Klingemann, Nachtwachen von Bonaventura, ed. Jahrhunderts Munich: Fink, Ries, F. Selected Essays —86, collected by P. Hutchinson, R. Paulin and J. There is more than one reason for its powerful impact on Friedrich Schlegel and Friedrich von Hardenberg Novalis and their contemporaries. How can you even touch the filthy volumes? His own conviction that the novel had set a canonical standard for contemporary literature was echoed a year later in the Athenaeumsfragmente, No.
This points to certain formal characteristics of the work which gave it its unusual authority. Stressing mode of presentation in the book, Schlegel models the form of Wilhelm Meister as a set of metamorphoses. But Schlegel also sees parallels to his own burgeoning understanding of the Fragment as a ground-breaking aesthetic form.
Wilhelm Meister bequeathed to its Romantic successors a conception of the novel that required full autonomy in each of its parts to be integrated with the absolute canonical authority of the whole. However, what is still a conformity of narrative substance with textual structure in Goethe is reformulated by Schlegel as an avant-garde emphasis on form. In Lucinde Friedrich Schlegel makes his debt to Goethe clear in the central section. Seduction and libertinage lead the young Julius to melancholy and cynicism.
An encounter with a prostitute, Lisette, ends in her suicide. Recognising the tragic consequences of sensuality, Julius plunges into male bonding, driven by aesthetic enterprises which are close to the real concerns of the Jena circle. Yet this homosociality, however noble its ideals, does not bring any of his many projects to fruition. After further false starts he encounters Lucinde, who perfectly matches him. What had seemed dissipated and fragmented is now drawn into a higher unity, as Julius and Lucinde are fully united in their sexual difference. With adequate elaboration this central narrative sketch could make a novel in its own right.
Instead it provides the nucleus for a different kind of work, Lucinde itself. None of this amounts to a continuous prose narrative. Instead the framing texts and the variety of genres they set in play offer a model of the unity-in-. Or so, at least, Schlegel seems to have intended. At the same time, through their sheer variety the component texts challenge the very basis of the novel genre as a sequential narrative. For Schlegel a dispersed unity in the differences and variety of the parts is everywhere present but never uniquely apparent. For subsequent exponents of the novel, this question of textual and narrative coherence returns.
As a result of her affair with Schlegel, Brendel Veit daughter of the Jewish Enlightenment philosopher Moses Mendelssohn was rabbinically divorced in , the year Lucinde appeared, and under her new Christian name, Dorothea, married Friedrich in His novel, with its allusions to their affair, was widely felt to be scandalous and even pornographic. Florentin is attracted to Juliane, daughter of an aristocratic house and already engaged to Eduard.
When he finally encounters her, she faints away. If Lucinde remakes the novel through its form and symmetries, Florentin seeks a possible coherence through half-remembered details and half-recognised figures from the past. The mystery of origins is complete.
The plot of Franz Sternbald is highly attenuated. Yet Sternbald is easily distracted, and none of the questions that look as though they will motivate the action carry it beyond fits and starts. Repeated interruptions to the ostensible narrative enigma are matched by the intermittent storyline that deals with the girl Sternbald falls in love with.
Like many Romantic fictions, Sternbald is punctuated by lyrical texts. So questions of genre are raised by the juxtaposition of poetry and prose in a novel about painting.
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By canvassing the limitations of occasional poetry — drinking songs — in a contest of poets, the novel allows Florestan to argue for a higher poetry as a kind of free play that avoids closure, only to cap his own argument with a lyric demonstration of exactly such closure. In an ironic double-take, this again gives primacy to form. Tieck is more explicit than Schlegel in drawing a parallel between the discovery of identity and the integration of experience into the realm of the aesthetic.
Sternbald stands for the artist in general, including the poet or writer; as for them, experience and imagination can only achieve their full meaning in some future moment of integration. If Goethe told of an apprenticeship, Hardenberg has a tale of apprentices. This work too challenges the very idea of linear narrative and the expectations of story-telling. Instead of unfolding a continuous action, the text moves between scientific or linguistic speculation and philosophical dialogue in an almost essayistic style that can nevertheless include fragmentary stories and a fairy tale.
The apprentices are initiated into the taxonomy of a mystical geology. When one of the students returns with a seemingly insignificant pebble, his trophy reveals the underlying pattern that reflects the organising principle — and therefore the meaning — of Nature itself. This discovery offers a model for the second part. Only secret correspondences between the natural realm and the human mind will be able to activate the living understanding that Hardenberg promotes. Mood and love invoke a further genre: the fairy tale. No sooner is this quietly recognised than the young man is drawn away by his intellectual curiosity.
This moment returns the questing hero to where he began, but raises that origin to a higher power. Love, an understanding of nature, and self-knowledge are indistinguishably.
Heinrich von Ofterdingen was substantially written in the following year. The hero is a legendary poet of the Middle Ages, yet Ofterdingen is not a historical novel. Thus Heinrich von Ofterdingen, instead of following the life of a young man who must be disabused of his imagined vocation to the theatre, traces the process by which a born poet discovers his true calling.
Whatever happens to him turns out to contribute to his artistic development. In one sense the plot is very straightforward. Heinrich travels with his mother from his home in Thuringia to visit his maternal grandfather in Augsburg. The journey is punctuated by a series of significant encounters: with merchants; with Crusaders long since returned from the Holy Land and a captive Saracen girl, Zulima; with a miner; and, in the descent into exhausted mine- workings, with Count Friedrich von Hohenzollern, a Romantic hermit like those to be found in many subsequent narratives of Arnim, Brentano, Eichendorff or Hoffmann.
The Crusader knights recall the Holy Sepulchre and encourage Heinrich to join in the next crusade himself; Zulima tells him he reminds her of her brother, who went to be close to a famous poet in Persia. Although it is written in a language he does not know, he finds in it pictures which he recognises as scenes from his own life. Ultimately all these moments are deciphered by the poet Klingsohr. Klingsohr as poet draws this out, and it will be. The novel breaks off a few pages into this second part.
Its interest lies not only in its ostensible themes and encyclopedic scope. Warfare, the Orient, nature and history, poetry, love and death are drawn together through the movement of poetic imagination and the interplay of reality, interpolated narratives and dreams. Yet, threading their way through all this variety, a network of correspondences holds the fabric of the writing together in ways that transcend the apparent linearity of the journey.
In the subterranean world, Hohenzollern describes miners as inverted astrologers. Earth and sky, macrocosm and microcosm correspond, and any single point can give access to a whole system of analogies. The reader too is always en route and always at the moment of a homecoming. As Mathilde says to Heinrich in his dream, we are always on our way home.
Such an inter- communication of significance between all its moments means that Ofterdingen can. Thus by opening the journey of self-discovery to a sense that identity is available only in a fragmented or fragmentary way Lucinde or is an unattainable male fantasy Florentin ; by showing that the pursuit of the origin — even of a secure parentage — is practically impossible, or at any rate constantly interrupted Sternbald ; finally, by folding the line of narrative into a virtuous circularity Heinrich von Ofterdingen , these early fictions model new ways to engage with the meaning and purpose of a life.
In a series of which we do not know the extremes, and believe that it has none. The second of the sonnets that preface Heinrich von Ofterdingen announces as its guiding trope the secret power of poesy that greets us in eternal metamorphoses.
What cannot be immediately grasped is the hidden power of creativity itself. If the mastery of Ofterdingen lies in the understated way in which the question of narrative coherence is opened, Clemens Brentano, in his novel Godwi, oder das steinerne Bild der Mutter —2; Godwi, or the Stone Image of the Mother ,10 drives the disruption of linear narrative to its next extreme.
This text is unsigned, but is followed by a preface over the name Maria. In its very inception the novel is hesitant and generically ambiguous — as ambiguous as the gender and identity of the signatory. The first part of Godwi is an epistolary novel. Like the stormy medias in res beginning of the first part, the novel is forever trying to catch up with itself: the enigmas of the past, of personal identity and origin, as well as love and desire, carry the characters along. Yet the second part of Godwi upsets as well as clarifies what hesitantly emerges in the first. Dissatisfied by the outcome, he withdraws the commission, and Maria sets off to find Godwi and complete the task with first-hand information.
Chapter 18 of the second part of Godwi provides a classic instance of Romantic irony, which, we recall, Friedrich Schlegel had defined as a fundamental requirement of any Romantic work of art. However, the disruption of narrative by the very act of narration is not simply an effect: like the characters themselves, this strategy raises the question of genre by putting the business of narration formally back into the narrative. Finally Godwi himself takes over the task from his exhausted redactor. However unlike Lucinde, the model for all this, Godwi does not conclude as affirmation.
The second part, with its mirror relation to the first, is not only anti- illusionistic but actively disillusioning. The failing health and ultimately the death of the original narrator indicates a failure of reflexivity. The wound is sexual and, it has been suggested, incestuous: deep within the entanglements of the back story lies the primal scene of seduction by Godwi senior of Molly and incestuous desire on the part of Godwi junior for Molly, his mother. Arnim is keen to restore Christian order to the perceived decadence of the nobility.
The abandoned daughter of a rakish aristocrat, she moves from poverty to wealth, to the guilt of seduction — by a man who turns out to be her brother- in-law — and finally to penitence. Even her name indicates that the path of Christian morality, order and fidelity will be one of dolours.
Within its theological framework, the novel proceeds via a series of parallel ethical and aesthetic narratives. Later a local aristocratic lady will fall in love with him and seek any and every means to secure him for her pleasure —with fatal consequences for herself, her secretary, and Dolores. The implication is that this moral laxity is the consequence of idleness and the collapse of traditional mores.
Count Karl is identified as a. He recognises that the ability even to conceive a radically new world demands a degree of ruthlessness of which he is ultimately incapable. It is a familiar German view: revolutionary intervention requires a rupture in historical development so radical as to be counter-productive, if not impossible. That hermeneutics can provide an alternative is a characteristically Romantic twist. Karl returns to Germany to assist an aristocratic friend from his student days, who seeks advice and support on his own accession to power.
When his dilapidated castle burns down, he is astonished to learn that the local population think of him as a ghost still haunting his former home. But it can be transformed. The old Count becomes an adviser and minister to the Prince who had been his sworn enemy. The return of the Prince heralds the cultural restoration of his Residenzstadt after the Napoleonic wars: economic prosperity goes hand in hand with revival in the arts to generate a new spirit of community.
The unfolding story is constantly interrupted by interpolated texts and subordinate narratives that offer parallels to or reflections on the questions of marriage, love and order. Dolores dies on the precise anniversary of her seduction — on 14 July, Bastille Day. The central character Count Friedrich completes his studies at the end of the summer semester of , the year of the Congress of Erfurt.
This history of national defeat and collapse thus provides a context for the narrative, but its action has a different focus. Beyond that, the novel signals its intertextual debts to most of the novels considered here, from Goethe, through Tieck and Brentano, to Arnim. His novel becomes the exploration of a fantasy landscape, of Germany and Austria, through which Friedrich and his companions travel, gathering the signs of memory and meaning that can constitute identity, both personal and, perhaps, national. Each of these offers an alternative foundation for the chain of meaning that they have pursued genetically in the recovery and reconstitution of family ties, semiotically by reading the meanings of nature and geography and historically through the national war.
None will suffice, and the chain of signification must be secured or reforged in another transcendence. Die Elixiere thus combine Romantic reflexivity the framework of prefaces, letters and a confessional manuscript with popular Gothic horror. Slippages and coincidences of identity take the central figure towards incest, the collapse of identity and madness because he is the heir to a family curse that haunts him in the half-remembered, half-recognised faces of companions and casual encounters. The drift of the Elixiere towards insanity goes hand in hand with a satirical pull towards rational explanation.
The structural conceit of the novel puts it firmly in the tradition of generic experimentation. For interleaved with the otherwise continuous autobiography of the smugly self-educated Murr are episodes from an eccentric biography of Kreisler. Hoffmann, presenting himself as the editor of this mixed text, explains that Murr, whilst writing his life and opinions, tore up a printed book that belonged to his owner, and used its pages for writing and blotting paper.
These pages have in error remained in the manuscript and been printed along with it. The effect is probably closest to Godwi, but much more entertaining. On the one hand, Kreisler undermines the empty formalities of the court. Like his predecessors, Godwi, Julius, and even Wilhelm Meister, he experiences love for different women, but not as any progressive development or even decadence: drawn simultaneously to the musically gifted Julia and to the wild Princess Hedwig, his emotional life is torn in two. His career at court is the occasion of complex intrigue, and its climax is to be a double wedding, of Julia to Ignatius, idiotic son of the ruling prince, and of Princess Hedwig to Prince Hector.
The structural trick of. And we know, therefore, that in spite of being summoned, Kreisler was absent. The framework of radical experimentation in these novels readily makes possible the integration of short narrative forms alongside the exploration of fragmentary texts and episodic plots.
Among these forms the fairy tale has definitive status. Eckbert lives in retirement with his wife Bertha until a new friend disturbs their calm. She discovers unimaginable wealth when she takes refuge with an. The undoing of her narrative reveals Bertha and Eckbert as incestuous brother and sister — and leads, in turn, to madness and death.
But for Tieck, the intuition of a crystalline, metallic truth of nature, far from revealing the origins of gold, social order, commerce and even language, as it does in Ofterdingen NS I, pp. His existence is a series of assumed identities. Abandoning the agricultural world to which his rural birth calls him, he becomes a huntsman. Tempted into the mountains, he glimpses the beautiful Lady of the Mountain and a golden tablet on which magical lore is inscribed. For a time the charm of the landscape and a deep nostalgia for the familiar enables him to settle, but by the end he has become literally unrecognisable as the man he once was.
Thus Der Runenberg offers a succinct parody of the process of in this case Romantic Bildung. Though he is generally at odds with the transcendental aspirations of his Romantic contemporaries, Heinrich von Kleist nevertheless reviews the possibility of a world remade from its very foundations in a parallel way. In Das Erdbeben in Chili ; first version , The Earthquake in Chile , the earthquake liberates two lovers just before their executions. The horse dealer Kohlhaas overturns order and due process when he realises that they will not guarantee the return of his sequestered horses.
Obsessed by this project, he leaves his original. His earlier encounter with a mysterious Gypsy grants him, at his very execution, a measure of moral victory over the Elector of Saxony. On the face of it, in other writers, this canon of poesy seems more positive. Yet for all their inventive playfulness, patterns of proliferation in his fairy-tale collections introduce a disturbing instability. From this traditional base Brentano unfolds a series of sub- narratives, each leading the plot into further complexities. Miller Wheelturn becomes King of Mainz and the children of the city, confined beneath the waters of the Rhine, can only be released if a fairy tale is told for each lost child.
There is no foreseeable end. Fundamental patterns here range from firm moral categories, transgression of rules and the breaking of conditions to the imposition of taboos. More importantly, many of the popular tales depend on the essentially literary device of evoking a world beyond, index of an alternative order which might make sense of reality. Finally, the Grimms coined a literary style for the miraculous. In his finest fairy tale, Gockel, Hinkel und Gackeleia , the main story of the dynastic rooster Alektryo, whose crop preserves the Ring of Solomon which is lost and recovered , proceeds via the usual conditions, exclusions no cats in the castle, no dolls for the child and ritual sequences.
Its repetitions and acoustic effects are mesmerising, and even lists of flowers take on lyrical qualities. Only the Christian revelation of ultimate truth can arrest this fugue state p. By promoting their folk-tales the Grimms seek to secure identity within a national order. Authentic folk-tales, Jacob Grimm insisted, bear witness to a national act of self-creation. Like his novels, Taugenichts again explores the national and psychological space of German and Austrian landscapes, contrasted with Italy and the city of Rome, but also in a dialectical.
Thus Romantic irony points in a different aesthetic direction. The same dialectic also drives Der goldene Topf ; The Golden Pot , which characteristically sets the magical career of Anselmus the student and his poetic destiny in the midst of everyday life in Dresden. The quizzical pull of rational scepticism never quite overcomes the instabilities of a supernatural, Gothic vision, however.
The heroism of a German patriot who fights. This realistic tale is told in the context of friendship between a quietly modest man Euchar who turns out to be telling his own story from the Spanish resistance and the utterly effete Ludwig, who notes that he shares his name with Tieck. Such realism ultimately dispenses with the pursuit of signs that is at the heart of Romantic narratives. Wolfgang Nehring Stuttgart: Reclam, Alfred Anger Stuttgart: Reclam, Erich Trunz, 14 vols. Munich: Beck, —60 , vol.
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Roswitha Burwick et al. Frankfurt am Main: Deutscher Klassiker Verlag, —94 , vol. Frankfurt am Main: Deutscher Klassiker Verlag —93 , vol. Wulf Segebrecht et al. Frankfurt am Main: Deutscher Klassiker Verlag — , vol. IV, eds. Wulf Segebrecht and Ursula Segebrecht, Stuttgart: Reclam, , vol. III, p. Stuttgart, Berlin, Cologne, Mainz: Kohlhammer, , vol. I, pp. Most of the poetry written by the German Romantics is remote from what we tend nowadays to appreciate in a poem. It lacks the concreteness, the precision, the dense texture and above all the love of the particular that we have largely come to associate with the modern lyric, and beyond that, in its reliance on a limited stock of themes and motifs nightingales, the heart, stars, moonlight, gardens, spring, childhood, the soul … , it seems to stand for what much modern poetry has worked against.
More so than in the writings of the English Romantics its world can seem to join up with our own experience and our articulation of it only by stark contrast. At the same time, thanks in part to Schubert, Schumann, Brahms and other composers of the Lied, if we are familiar with any German Romantic work it is likely to be a poem; and to some extent modern poetry still depends on an implicit knowledge of the once-dominant forms of the Romantic lyric to point and nuance its workings. Who, though, wrote the Romantic lyric? And as well as anticipating, Goethe later absorbed many aspects of Romanticism and sometimes actually worked with Romantic writers, as when he wrote his sonnet cycle alongside Zacharias Werner in Jena in —8 when the sonnet was virtually a Romantic form.
Still, there are good reasons for observing a distinction between Goethe and the younger poets who are more commonly thought of as Romantics. But even if one wants to see Goethe as outside Romanticism proper he feeds into it as an important source of imagery and as a poetic figure in his own right. Rather than being a kind of interruption, or shift in the course of things, it opened the world into infinite possibility and, as was also the case for Wordsworth, seemed to beckon and demand a new beginning, new ways of thinking and writing and imagining, at precisely the moment they were beginning as writers themselves.
His poetry seems at first sight to have little in common with the work of his immediate contemporaries, mainly for two connected reasons: it depends entirely on forms derived from classical Greek, and it looks back to Greece as a locus of past fulfilment and as an earnest of its future recovery in heightened, other form. But these formulations remain necessarily vague, and they are not, or only in a few rare cases, to do with the lyric as such.
When the Romantics talk of Poesie they mean not so much lyric poetry as Romantic literature, an important aspect of which in both the theory and the practice was the mixing of genres. This formal joining of opposites corresponds to a joining and bringing into relation of all sorts of disparate spheres, making of the Hymnen an die Nacht a grand metaphor or place of transition, a Romantic space in which the fleeing, fragmented forms of human consciousness are pulled into a fluid constellation.
Addressed to night, the poems turn at first to daylight, which like the choice of prose can be understood as a move to offer readers a familiar world before drawing them almost unawares into the world of night and poetry that ensues. It carries you [light] like a mother and to it you owe all your glory. A general but personal experience of night is confirmed and deepened by the more particular experience at the graveside.
The fifth hymn seeks to generalise this initiation and find a mythology to embody it. As the beloved initiates the poet into night, so Christ initiates mankind into death, and the hitherto only germinal presence of death in night now comes into flower. But here it is clearer than. That is the kind of new mythology the Hymnen an die Nacht offer.
Their language, liquid, respiring, gently unfolding, asks to be read as an emanation of night, not just referring to it and tracing its contours, but its actual manifestation, like Christ and the beloved an incarnation. Perhaps the last hymn, the only one wholly in verse — it is in the form of a church hymn — adopts this more public mode as a way of acknowledging the unsustainability and provisionality of the more inward and absolute voice that precedes it.
Jezt auch kommet ein Wehn und regt die Gipfel des Hains auf, Sieh! Such games perhaps had something to do with an important aspect of Romantic poetry: the ascendance of sound over meaning and of form over content. Much Romantic poetry has a weightlessness, an insubstantiality about it that — though it can often seem a weakness — may be its saving grace. The poem puts itself on the side of the birds, imitating their airy speech and their elusive, circling flights, winging its way by playful association towards a final untranslatable joke about the day of judgement that has little or nothing to do with its starting-point.
In the middle of this quixotic, off-hand poem, whose tone is flippant and serious at the same time, comes a stanza that interprets that tone and reaches far forward into the development of the. Not one of them knows what it is they mean, Or perhaps they know and do not say, And even if they seem to speak, What they speak of has no weight. That is, the birdsong the poem emulates, and the many voices of which it hints at in the alternatives of the first two lines, speaks and does not speak, it has no discoverable intention, it is pure sound, a kind of empty speech. It consists entirely of the evocation of mood.
Tieck seems to invent a kind of writing which almost all German Romantic poetry is inflected by. One can think of this style as a form of irony, where irony means precisely this avoidance of fixity and consequence. The cultivation of this style coincides with a historic moment at which the world seemed unusually open, unsettled, possible, and though it is not the only one it is the main connecting strand in Romantic poetry until Heine, who in fact continues it but to more political ends. Her focus on love and death as transitions to immortality, and her eclectic interest in world mythology, lead her to ritual.
Death becomes a sweet ceremony of love, Conjoins the separated elements, The end of life becomes its crowning moment. Schlegel had encouraged marks her closeness to the Jena circle, but she was a close friend of Clemens Brentano and his sisters. Almost at a stroke this collection of songs altered the diction of German poetry. Only a handful were collected from the lips of singers; many were baroque poems by writers such as Friedrich Spee, poets unread at the time. This antiquarian tendency, the recovery of lost poems from various kinds of past, is countered or realised by a modernising, inventive rewriting or adaptation of most texts to contemporary taste, though as a truly creative work it formed that taste rather than simply dishing up what was already in demand.
With great fl air and subtlety Arnim and Brentano shaped a new literary style, the famous Volksliedton folk-song tone , casting a gauze of coherence over their very disparate material. Goethe, in his review, was quite aware of the restorative, synthetic, augmentative nature of their work, and saw it as intrinsic to the process of transmission. Whereas Goethe could pick up the various layers of what were palimpsest-like texts, almost everyone else fell for the composite tone without equivocation, and several songs rapidly became folk-songs in the way Goethe had hoped — by being sung and passed on orally.
He likened. At the heart of all this is repetition: these songs and the thousands that quickly derived from them can be seen as a particularly pure form of poetry in their total espousal of the basic poetic principle of repetition.
- Carl Heinrich Ludwig Hoffmann.
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Birdsong, as an approachable ideal of naturalness, is never far away, and the dream that the songs might seem the spontaneous voicing of the popular spirit. In reality, of course, the collection was the invention of a tradition and, like all the Romantic verse which fed into it and which it spawned, a highly conscious and subtle mixing of the naive and the artful. As with the discovery of the German landscape Arnim and Brentano did for the Rhine valley what Wordsworth and others did for the Lake District finding and making went hand in hand.
This soon gained political implications, if it did not have them already. They are made of a small number of repeated words and unfold through abrupt, elliptical juxtapositions, leaving gaps in sense between the self- contained verses which, connected as they are chiefly by musicality and recurring motifs, are resonant in the way of litanies or chants. Many of his poems take the form of lullabies, often explicitly, and the lullaby fits perfectly his dwelling on euphonous sounds, dispensing him from the immediate claims of sense. The circling return of words and sounds dislocates them from any fixed meaning, they tend towards babble, towards a mode which can be felt to be both empty and replete: precisely because of its distance from accepted meaning it becomes open to a fullness of meanings, none of which definitively settles.
And the lullaby, while being something approaching empty sound, is also a song with a purpose, which is to soothe to rest, a modest form of transformation. One might compare the late poems written to Emilie Linder which as well as courting her seek to convert her. Inner and outer landscapes, the religious and the erotic, subject and object, time and space, colour and sound, they are all mixed and blended in the fluid, undelimited, bewitching, in the end mystical language of a poetry of mood.
This is its aim, a positive bridging of division, but it needs to be seen as a reaction, summoning up all the means of art, against the brokenness of the world. This awakening into song, brought about by the poetic word, points again to an ideal of oneness between poetry and the world. Just as the poem sings through the correspondence of rhymes falling into place, it is the correspondence of all things that makes the world break into song. Rhyme is the animating substance of almost all Romantic lyric, but in Eichendorff its significance is deepened by being made to intimate, as agent and symbol, the hidden order of the world.
Eichendorff thought of himself as a latecomer he was born ten years after Brentano, and twenty after A. But he made his lateness into a constituent part of his poetics. At the same time he distances himself from the extreme fusions of earlier Romanticism: the erotic and the religious are held apart, intensity is often mistrusted in favour of sobriety.
But in the best of his poems this sobriety attains a lucid intensity in which the world appears inscrutable even as it is stripped down to a basic revealing pattern. The wedding-party with which it begins, travelling on out of sight, is a recurring motif and recalls many other figures who cross landscapes leaving no trace:. A wedding passed by along the hillside, I heard the song of the birds,. And at the mere thought it all echoed away And night descends all round, Only the wind still makes the trees sway And I shudder deep in my heart. The scene of the first verse is made up of separate elements held together by rhythm and rhyme but hardly by the extremely paratactic folk-song syntax — suggesting an arbitrary and uncertain connectedness which in the second verse is borne out as the image disintegrates.
But it is also aptly carefree, and at the same time disconcertingly serious: what is being hunted? The vanity of life has passed away with, in this poem, no certainty that there is anything else. Even the rustling of the trees gives no comfort. The poem runs out into quiet terror and unconsoling transparency, finding a new use for the light, superficial tone by correcting it. Heine takes the diction, syntax and motifs of Des Knaben Wunderhorn and combines them with the manners and fashions of contemporary society, exposing the disjunction between the implicit values of a poetic style and the very different values driving into modernity.
Heine uses the language and forms of Romanticism as he later used the machinery of censorship: as a way of integrating into his writing the texture of his times. Revealing the conventions of the Romantic mode, Heine is also forced to acknowledge the conventionality of language per se, but the Romantic foil which he lays down with such virtuosity, and which cannot strictly be thought of as a foil at all, allows him to articulate in shifts and juxtapositions a new sense of self among the complexities and dissonances of the world he lived in.
His poems are political in that they do not permit themselves to retreat into autonomy or unbroken harmony, though the temptation to do so is still very powerfully felt. The weightlessness of the lyric appears also in its musicality, which itself is partly a result of the hollowing out of semantic meaning and the dependence on rhyme. Many Romantic poems were intended to be sung, and often were to existing tunes, in which form several, particularly by Eichendorff, passed into the popular repertoire and so gained an anonymity they seem intrinsically to be striving for.
But the full realisation of the musical tendencies of the poems was the settings that turned them into Lieder. There the text often serves as an almost neutral vehicle for the music, which intensifies the weightlessness by drawing the words even further from their semantic ground and into the purely acoustic. The Lied can thus be seen as an almost natural extension of the Romantic lyric, and perhaps, in its fusion of poetry and music, as a fulfilment of the Romantic longing for an all-encompassing form of art. Frankfurt am Main: Deutscher Klassiker Verlag, —93 , vol. Friedrich Beissner and Adolf Beck, 8.
Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, —85 , vol. VI, p. II, p. Manfred Windfuhr, 16 vols. VIII, p. Manfred Frank et al. Frankfurt am Main: Deutscher Klassiker Verlag, — , vol. See the whole of Lecture Walter Morgenthaler, 3 vols. Munich: Beck, , vol. XII, p. For scholars interested in serving as the next editor, please send a letter of application, c.
Volume 24 of the Goethe Yearbook is currently in the final stages of typesetting and should be in your mailboxes by late spring. Once again we are very pleased that this volume brings together very diverse scholarship, and that our contributors once again run the gamut from graduate students to emeriti. And our new book review editor Sean Franzel has brought together more than 20 thoughtful reviews of recent publications relevant to the Goethezeit. We are well on our way towards putting together the twenty-fifth volume of the Yearbook.
However, it will also contain a large number of standalone articles. As always, we would be thrilled if you submitted a manuscript, or encouraged your students and colleagues to do so. Manuscript submissions should reach us by late May, preferably earlier. Submissions should follow the Chicago Manual of Style and confine themselves to less than 35 pages. Finally, Volume 25 will be the last Goethe Yearbook under our auspices.
So please give some thought to putting your name forward when the GSNA begins its search for our successors. We have really loved our time shepherding this wonderful journal, and we are quite sure you would too! We are extremely pleased that the Goethe Yearbook is able to collect so many far-ranging contributions from a diverse group of scholars year after year. Thank you to all who have submitted, thank you to all who read submissions for us. We are now accepting contributions to Vol. As always, we hope to hear from many of you and particularly welcome contributions by younger scholars.
As Volume 23 of the Goethe Yearbook is getting ready for publication, we are busy putting together what is looking to be an even larger 24th volume. Eight contributions outside of this focus will bring together scholars from a broad range of disciplinary backgrounds and career stages. The review section, edited for the first time by Sean Franzel, will provide an overview of new publications on Goethe and his age.
We continue to be excited by the way in which the Yearbook manages to reflect the diversity among scholars of the Goethezeit , and the immense spirit of intellectual community that shines through in the reviews. In that spirit, we continue to ask scholars at any stage of their career to get in touch, to submit their work, and to review. Dear colleagues, With vol. Matthew H. Jessica C. Jane K. Gustafson review. Julie Koser. Stephanie M.
James F. Christopher R. Goethes Euphrat. Hannah V. Venkat Mani review. Carl Niekerk. Spencer Hawkins. Stefan Buck, Eckhart Nickel. Schopenhauer und Goethe: Biographische und philosophische Perspektiven eds. Fauth review. Iris Hennigfeld. May Mergenthaler. Jahrhunderts eds. Ervin Malakaj.
Asko Nivala. Mininger and Jason Michael Peck review. Johannes Wankhammer. Peter Erickson. Richard B. Call to fill the position of editor for the Yearbook of the North American Goethe Society As the current editors have successfully served their five-year term, the Society is now welcoming applications to fill the position for the next five year term.
Lyon Elliot Schreiber and John B. John B. Joseph D. Christian P. Walter K. Andrew B. Hans Rudolf Vaget. Jeffrey L. Elizabeth Powers. Moore review. Seth Berk. Joel B. Jonathan M. Daniel DiMassa. Erlis Glass Wickersham. Patricia Anne Simpson. Sara Luly.