Sunday, May 04, 2008

Adler, Jeremy. "Novalis and Philo-Sophie." TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT April 16, 2008.

  • Novalis. Notes for a Romantic Encyclopaedia. Trans. and ed. David W. Wood. Albany: SUNY Press, 2007.
  • Novalis. The Birth of Novalis: Friedrich von Hardenberg's Journal of 1797, with Selected Letters and Documents. Trans. and ed. Bruce Donehower. Albany: SUNY Press, 2007.
The success of the French Encyclopédie and its place in the Enlightenment has tended to obscure the role of encyclopaedism in German culture. Yet the ideal of universal knowledge has been a potent force in Germany, shaping the way the nation defined itself ever since the seventeenth century. Novalis played a key part in this debate, not least in seeking to redefine what he called “total science” – his name for encyclopaedism – as a means to achieve cultural renewal. Yet he was sentimentalized after his early death as the dreamy poet of the Blue Flower, and while this ensured his posthumous appeal, it resulted in the comparative neglect of his philosophy. His contribution to German idealism was only fully revealed, a century and a half after his death, by the editors of the critical edition of his works, a literary monument forty years in the making (reviewed in the TLS, October 13, 2000). The edition showed the full extent of the unpublished journals and notebooks, including hundreds of jottings and aphorisms, often circling round a plan for a Romantic encyclopaedia. The new image of Novalis, not unlike that of Coleridge brought about by the editing of his Notebooks, led to a wider revaluation, in which the Romantic dreamer has given way to the incisive philosopher. Now, two centuries after his death, the new material is at long last becoming available in English. . . . Read the rest here:

No comments:

Post a Comment