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Drilling Technology in Nontechnical Language, 2d Ed. As we have seen, being a professional writer meant grasping every opportunity. He followed this in with his fine critical essay on Romeo and Juliet. Pushing Eschenburg aside was one thing, and here Schiller was only too willing to abet Schlegel by publishing his extracts in Die Horen.
It was to know no mercy; only the creative forces of the century were to have recognition. The Schlegel brothers, the one exalting Lessing and Kant, the other extolling Shakespeare, both elevating Goethe, gladly joined in this chorus until they found a voice of their own. At no stage, however, did they admit how useful they had found the corpus of knowledge patiently collated by painstaking scholars like Eschenburg, whom Goethe and Schiller were in the process of excoriating. Herder was to write ruefully and resignedly to Eschenburg in that they both now belonged to a past era in literature and taste, and for the moment, that was true.
Unger already had some interesting authors: The manuscripts of the twelve plays that have survived, tell their own tale. The creative process can be seen in the successive drafts. Attached to the manuscript of The Tempest is the version of printed in Die Horen. In King John , there are new sections pasted over. In fact he left out some intractable punnings and some ruderies. Caroline made a clean copy for the printer. Schlegel never made even that concession. In Berlin from July until September , he was sent the manuscript packages and passed them on to Unger. He seems even to have done the proof-reading.
August Wilhelm, as well, had been assiduous in self-promotion. He wished to set out his translation principles, not in any systematic way, but in the free flow of critical writing. If the Voss review had been closely argued, rigorous, stiff pedantic, too , he would treat Shakespeare in more associative and accessible fashion. What better way to cause pleasure in both Jena and Weimar than by invoking Goethe himself? Rather, Schlegel was concerned with the nature of creative genius itself: What it best does is to seize and give meaning to the real sense that creative genius places in its works and which is there as they take body in their essential shape, in complete, untainted form, in sharp profile, and thus to raise beholders who are less acute, but are receptive, to a higher state of perception.
But only rarely has it achieved this. Caroline would be motivated by what he could do, not discouraged by what ultimately eluded him. The printed text was final, if the result of those compromises and accommodations, compensations and approximations. Only in critical reviews was Schlegel willing to pass on insights into the actual translation process. He knew this from translating Hamlet but did not say so. Schlegel had already translated this line as. Im Herzensgrund, ja in des Herzens Herzen But let Shakespeare scholars concern themselves with these nuances. The translation can still stand up to any kind of analysis, the most favourable and even the most stringent or unfriendly.
He must deliver an example: Caroline had copied it out for the printer; it opened the first volume of the Shakespeare translation in August Wilhelm, temporarily in Dresden, asked his brother Friedrich to present Schiller with a copy. Schiller did not react, and his correspondence with Goethe did not mention it; it was also not one of the Shakespeare plays with which he felt a close bond. Goethe, who had known it from his formative years, noted it for a possible stage adaptation in , but the death of the designated actress caused him to defer the idea, eventually until True, the tragic outcome was inevitable, but so was the resolution and reconciliation of the action beyond the grave.
August Wilhelm was, however, concerned to resolve them. One way was to place the lovers in some kind of capsule, emotionally, spiritually, linguistically set apart from the world and its conventions, even from the machinations of fate. The fascination with Romeo and Juliet did not end with Die Horen. Perhaps it is wrong in the first place to apply Wordsworthian or Goethean criteria to it. It was not just a question of the formal devices that he used: The correspondence with Schiller over the poem Prometheus —in the terza rima so recently displayed in the Dante translation—is not agreeable reading and shows Schlegel trying to worst Schiller with pedantry and pedagoguery.
Schlegel the poet did not shine with general subjects, those so current in aesthetic and poetological debate, like the role of the artist as creator and shaper of higher truth. Occasional poems, those dedicated to a person or object, did however bring out the best of his poetic powers, as indeed translation also did.
His poetic powers looked different to aspiring poets: Zueignung des Trauerspiels Romeo und Julia [Dedication of the Tragedy Romeo and Juliet], written in correct ottava rima —and actually a good poem: Zueignung des Trauerspiels Romeo und Julia. Wo findet ein unendlich Sehnen Raum? Sich innig fest an den Geliebten schmiegen, Sonst kennt sie keine Zuflucht in der Noth. Was auch die ferne Zukunft mag verschleiern, Wir werden stets der Liebe Jugend feiern. Receive this poem, woven of love and travail, And press it gently to your tender breast. What moves your soul is feeling that we share, What you withhold, I know it all the same.
Their lives, they vanished like a soulless dream! They feel their way, even in their boldest strivings, In darkness, and themselves they hardly know. Fate may oppress them or it may inspire them: Can longing without end be once contained? Love can alone give wing to earthly dust, And she alone unseal the door to heaven.
Alas, for her, the monarch of the souls, How often is she prone to envious fate! To part and to torment so many pairs Hate and pride conspire time and again. Danger, though, the weak will overcomes, While love is bold and full, when dangers press. But smiling dangers threaten her with worse, When she has conquered all the wiles of chance, And every flower learns of transience: Is there a hope then for the flower of flowers?
They, as by magic caught in soft embrace, By fortune, peace and time are drawn apart, And, slipping free when others bear them down, Love drowns in bliss inside its very chalice. But greater joys, when what one treasures most The heart tears with it to the realm of shades, And like a sacrifice to all-releasing death, The cup of joy, scarce touched, is poured away. They die, but in their very dying breath Love takes them up into the higher spheres. All this may help you to assuage your sorrow, The poem brings us back into ourselves. We feel it both, the thrill and joy of love, We speak it, knowing what the other kens: Together, bonded, is our lasting worth, A secret known to us secures our bliss.
Orphisch [Deep Orphic Words]? If so, it shows both poets operating within similar conventions, while at the same time transcending them.
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Schlegel was in reality dedicating this poem to Caroline: Professor Schlegel in love? Of that we can be less certain. A joint bond of sympathy and purpose unites them, but strong personalities can unfold and dominate the common endeavour. Does this describe the association in Jena from to ? Yet what was it that enabled people of the most disparate backgrounds to coalesce; what was the cement that bonded them socially and intellectually: It is not even possible to bring all these characters together in one place unless we use the convenient—if endearing—chronological liberties and rearrangements that Penelope Fitzgerald employs for Novalis in her novel The Blue Flower.
Novalis was based at the mining academy in Freiberg in Saxony, then the salt inspectorate in Weissenfels, and was only an occasional visitor in Jena. Only August Wilhelm and Caroline Schlegel and Schelling were actually domiciled in Jena for the whole period of to Fichte, Tieck and Schelling actually wrote nothing for it, Schleiermacher and Dorothea Veit relatively little, Caroline contributed only anonymously, leaving Novalis and above all the brothers Schlegel as authors, with a few associated friends joining in towards the end.
The original contexts and contiguities were soon lost sight of. In the course of publication history the three original octavo volumes of the Athenaeum were recontextualised and their contents scattered. Enshrined in editions of Novalis, Friedrich and August Wilhelm Schlegel, as we have them now, it is often hard to envisage the mixture of plan and improvisation that is the essence of a literary periodical.
It was in Berlin that he had the oversight of the Shakespeare translation and where he negotiated with Unger, its publisher. Reichardt himself was persona non grata in Berlin, but his house at Giebichenstein near Halle, romantically overlooking the river Saale, was, as already mentioned, a meeting-place at various times for most of the Romantics. He doubtless gave Schlegel recommendations to various societies in Berlin, and Schlegel, gregarious and sociable by nature, would have taken them up. These contacts in themselves showed that Berlin was quite a different place from Jena or even Weimar: Some, like those restricted to the aristocracy, admitted only their own kind.
It was no doubt there that he met the redoubtable and influential Friedrich Nicolai, publisher and sturdy defender of the Enlightenment, ever on the lookout for young talent. It was here that Friedrich Schlegel first met the three Tiecks, Ludwig, Sophie and Friedrich, who were to play a prominent part in the affairs of the extended Schlegel family. Ludwig, who was to survive them all, was also the closest associate of both Schlegel brothers, but Sophie the writer and Friedrich the sculptor would intervene disproportionately in the artistic and emotional life of August Wilhelm.
For all of these works appeared anonymously. It may be that Friedrich was too preoccupied with his intellectual exchange with Schleiermacher, or Tieck with his close friend and co-writer of those outpourings, Wilhelm Heinrich Wackenroder, soon to die tragically young and to be the first in that Romantic necrology. Writing in , Schlegel would claim that he was the first to draw attention to Tieck and give him his due, and this was largely true. Tieck would have agreed with his correspondent that the English had no real idea of Shakespeare, but he may have been less prepared when Schlegel dropped his guard and asked: He had met her in the summer of in the salon of Henriette Herz.
Chafing under a loveless marriage—she had been married off to the banker Simon Veit and had two sons both in their turn to become leading Romantic painters —she had been attracted to this witty and brilliant younger man, while he, crushed since his teens under the weight of books, suddenly felt the forces of a belated youth bursting forth. While nobody would call Dorothea a beauty, her bright dark eyes compensated for conventional good looks, and her conversation and letters betrayed a sharp mind, and a skill with words.
As yet there was no question of separation or even divorce. Friedrich and Dorothea lived in open liaison not yet under one roof: If there were not enough scandal adhering to a relationship with a married woman seven years older than himself, her being Jewish added an extra element of piquancy. He needed an outlet for his own writings, now that Die Horen —to which he had no access as it was—had finally collapsed. In a long letter of 31 October, to August Wilhelm, he set out his views on a remedy to the situation.
He had a publisher in mind, Friedrich Vieweg in Berlin. That was the practical part. Who were to be the contributors? Themselves of course, perhaps Fichte or Novalis or Schleiermacher; they were to ask Tieck and hoped for Goethe. It was to represent the closest association, the union of two minds. There was to be an absolute consensus between them on matters of content perhaps with Caroline mediating in cases of disagreement. That would explain why even the groups of fragments that are a distinguishing feature of the Athenaeum , form entities in themselves, in the same way that the disparate items of criticism are marshalled into a coherent corpus.
It did not mean that the brothers put their all into this enterprise. There was clearly enough copy available for the number without the need for them to extend themselves. This might suggest a publication that took notice only of its own kind. It did not share his stated aim of breaking down the barriers between learned and literary discourse.
The focus was to be on art and philosophy, not, by implication, on political affairs, history, or religion, although these might feature under different guises. There was no interdict on contemporary events such as Schiller had imposed, although the journal was in no direct sense political, either. There is much in the Athenaeum that is impudent, much that contemporaries did not like and said so, but nothing that is directly seditious. The whole Jena establishment, Schiller even, received theirs. This is the great triad of modern poetry, the inmost and most sacred circle of the classics of modern poesy.
He was not entirely averse to this odorous incense offering, displeased as he was at the otherwise unenthusiastic reception of Wilhelm Meister which the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung had taken no notice of. For Friedrich was fast learning that running an avant- garde periodical involved not only the high ground of an elite and its intellectual risk-taking.
One had to contend with more mundane matters, the tergiversations of a publisher, a diminishing stock of copy, and the hostility of the general public. Volume Two, once the practical matters were sorted out, was to be more varied, with more poetry and a large section of art criticism.
Its message, set out stringently in the introduction and in larger print, for emphasis was mastery of the aesthetic and artistic basics, entering the temple forecourt propylea , before proceeding to the inner sanctum of art, which could only be achieved by a proper study of ancients and moderns alike. This would, as said, not become evident until late in Moving as they did between the main residence in Dresden and the summer palace at Pillnitz, a few miles upstream, the Ernsts somehow provided a base for their extended family.
They knew the same aristocratic circle of friends that Novalis frequented. Passing through Leipzig, he met the young Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling who was successfully negotiating for a post as professor extrordinarius of philosophy at Jena. As an experienced critic, he encouraged him to send a copy of the novel to Goethe. His main business in Berlin was, however, to negotiate with his fellow-Hanoverian and now famous actor-producer August Wilhelm Iffland. He had renewed his acquaintance with Iffland at a guest performance earlier that year in Weimar.
On 25 and 26 August, for just two days, the circle was united in Dresden. There, as in so many reactions to the Dresden collections, the beholders saw only what seemed essential, what struck the senses, what seized and overpowered the beholder with awe and reverence and the frisson of religious devotion. Again Goethe in made a long list of the Dresden paintings and included almost none that the Schlegel group was impressed by. The lighting could contribute.
The Life of August Wilhelm Schlegel
Inspecting the statuary by torchlight, as the Romantics and also Schiller did, softenedcontours and accentuated forms. The collection assembled by the Electors of Saxony, mainly up to , was an eighteenth-century creation and as such suitably eclectic. The other convert from the Schlegel family was to be the daughter of the staunchly Protestant Ernsts in Dresden, Auguste von Buttlar.
It was in Dresden that Friedrich died in , in the arms of his niece, and it is here that he is buried. In a letter to Novalis, of some considerable frankness, Caroline dropped her guard and took stock of the situation. The Athenaeum had in her view come to a standstill. It had in any case been a mistake for the brothers to have got involved with a journal, and August Wilhelm should not have become a professor. Ultimately, all this was to cost August Wilhelm his health and his marriage.
For all that, university lecturing was not merely a matter of holding forth. When lecturing on aesthetics, he appeared on the lecture lists under philosophy with Fichte and Schelling. Ast handed his notes over to Karl Christian Friedrich Krause, later a philosopher influential in the Hispanic world, and these are the only full transcripts to survive. The other lectures we must assume to be lost. It is even fair to say that these two pieces of art criticism are what put his personal stamp on the periodical. Whereas academic freedom was something that the nineteenth-century universities had to fight hard to achieve, Fichte in the eighteenth believed it was already his by right.
None of these was an issue to which the Schlegel brothers, one already a professor and the other aspiring to be one, could be indifferent. This was only the beginning. Fichte had seized the opportunity of becoming co-editor of the Philosophisches Journal in In his former colleague Friedrich Karl Forberg sent him a contribution that seemed to postulate a moral and religious existence without the necessity of a belief in God. Alarmed at what seemed to be the reduction of faith to a mere incidental, but reluctant to stifle philosophical debate, Fichte decided to append an essay of his own, setting out the notion of a world order dependent on the idea of God.
Otherwise, Saxon students would be forbidden attendance at Jena. This was the main Saxon ducal house dictating to its Ernestine laterals in Thuringia. In considerable haste, he penned a brochure, extending to pages of print, his Appellation an das Publikum that came out in January , in 2, copies and with a double impress, Jena and Leipzig. As it was, only Hanover followed the example of the Saxon and Thuringian courts. The ban on Hanoverian students studying in Jena, and the possible silencing of its star professor, would still have serious consequences for the university, the town, and the state at large.
In , with his famous Speeches to the German Nation , events would be on his side, but not now. He wrote to the minister Voigt stating that he would rather seek dismissal than accept censure. Carl August, a dislike of intellectual demagoguery deep in his heart, found this a convenient means of being rid of a turbulent professor. And so, on 1 April , having had students in the previous semester, Fichte found himself dismissed, shunned and humiliated. For a while, until he found suitable quarters for his family, Fichte actually shared lodgings with Dorothea in the Ziegelstrasse, an act of kindness but also of some forbearance, for Fichte held strongly anti-Semitic opinions.
Life returned to normal in Jena and Weimar. Other pressing plans, of which part two of the Athenaeum was but one, crowded in. Schlegel took note of one thing. Under different circumstances, this had also been the pattern of Die Horen. Ein Roman von Friedrich Schlegel. Intellectually, philosophically, the novel belongs in the world that Schleiermacher, Novalis and Friedrich Schlegel himself inhabited, where history, science and nature Novalis , religion and morals Schleiermacher and love Schlegel were elevated to universals and absolutes.
These novels had plots of a sort , whereas Lucinde was episodic and unsequent.
The reader might be drawn inexorably to scenes where the newly emancipated flesh and sportive sexual encounters caught the attention, not the philosophical and Intellectual arguments. Dorothea had given up everything for the man whom she adored and worshipped, her civil status, her reputation and her material security.
Caught between her religion and his, she did not wish to affront further her family by baptism, the necessary step to marriage. Moreover her estranged husband demanded custody of both of their sons should she take this step. Both Caroline and Dorothea wished that the novel had never been published, setting out as it did what was intimate and private and beyond articulation. This was the germ of the Jena circle. It was the Berlin fraction that was initially so much in favour of this togetherness, for they were already accepted in the circles that mattered to them and—not insignificantly—they were dealing with publishers there.
Caroline, no doubt speaking for all in Jena, had no intention of removing to a city that she did not know, with her husband a professor in Jena, as was Schelling. They had their own circle of friends and acquaintances, the publisher Frommann and his open hospitality, or the Paulus family. In Jena, one could meet Goethe, usually over from Weimar on visits of two weeks at a time.
Friedrich entrusted the Athenaeum to Schleiermacher, and it is in letters to him that we learn the most of events in Jena. Nearly all of the number was ready by July of that year, and the rest, for the remainder of its short existence, was effectively edited from a distance. Religion was to be the keynote of Jena.
Already in May of that year Friedrich had told his brother August Wilhelm that the time had come to found a new religion. Schiller they did not visit, and they affected indifference to the first performance of his Wallenstein in Weimar, while the whole group fell out of their chairs with laughter at his Lied von der Glocke [Song of the Bell]. Everyone seems to have known except August Wilhelm himself. He maintained excellent outward relations with Schelling, the man who was in reality cuckolding him.
What was one to expect when Friedrich Schlegel in a fragment declared nearly all marriages to be but concubinage? We need however to see all this in perspective. The literary feuds of the years to about —and we are not concerned here with rehearsing all of their tiresome and repetitive details—were just that: They were a Battle of the Books brought up to date. They bore only the most tenuous of links with those seditious political libelles that both scandalized and delighted pre-Revolutionary France or with the hurly-burly of Grub Street in London.
Goethe and Schiller in their Horen had wanted to be above the political fray. The Xenien waged war inside the Republic of Letters, while the Athenaeum steered clear of politics altogether, at most wrapping its historical and social discourse in poetry and myth. This was all to change once the Romantics had dispersed, the Schlegel brothers to France, and especially after , when poetry and art would be invoked to counter the humiliations visited by Napoleon on the German nation. The hack-writer Garlieb Merkel had spread a rumour that Duke Carl August had reprimanded the editors of the Athenaeum.
Already in the Romantics in Jena and Berlin had a foretaste of more scurrilous lampoons when Daniel Jenisch in his Diogenes Laterne , with singular nastiness, caricatured Friedrich and Schleiermacher for their association with Jewish women Dorothea and Henriette Herz, respectively. Kotzebue had a history of calumniations, and to these he now added Friedrich Schlegel.
Friedrich Schlegel should of course never be quoted out of context, and this Kotzebue knew. At its best, it had a wide distribution 2, subscribers and had maintained high standards of writing, as opposed to specialised scholarly discourse; and it had been a major force in the dissemination of Kant. Both he and Fichte came up with ideas, with slightly different emphases, for a so-called Kritisches Institut , a review journal that would reflect a more systematic ordering of knowledge and would accommodate the various encyclopaedic ambitions that the Jena circle entertained.
Its editorial board was to consist of both Schlegel brothers, Schleiermacher, Schelling, Tieck, and August Ferdinand Bernhardi, the Berlin schoolman and husband of Sophie Tieck, who was proving himself useful as an editor and reviewer. The break-up of the Jena circle put paid to the project. It would in any case have been difficult to tie some of its editorial board down, notably Tieck, who had promised contributions for the Athenaeum and had never delivered.
The Life of August Wilhelm Schlegel
Schlegel, for his part, was to find himself setting out the order and subdivisions of knowledge, not in a review journal, but in his lectures in Jena and Berlin. The last part of the Athenaeum appeared in March of Caroline then fell seriously ill. Dorothea, a shrewd, although hardly objective observer of humanity and its frailties, tried to be even-handed towards her sister-in-law. Despite the differences in their personalities and backgrounds, Caroline had been the first to recognize Dorothea publicly and to ensure her acceptance in Jena circles.
August Wilhelm, she continued, had not been an easy partner to live with, but he loved Caroline after his own fashion and in a way that she never did in return. She had never been open about her relationship with Schelling, who had kept up a front of politeness to August Wilhelm while disliking him in private. Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland, the great Jena doctor and father of macrobiotics, treated her according to his tried and conventional methods, but Schelling, who in addition to the nature philosophy that he professed also had some knowledge of medicine, insisted that Hufeland try the fashionable therapeutics of the Brownian method.
Brownism or Brunonism, named after the Scottish doctor John Brown, saw health as the median state of excitability, based on the fundamental doctrine of life as a state of excitation produced by external agents upon the body, and perceived disease as consisting in excess or deficiency of such stimulants. Novalis was also a Brownian. An elaborate charade was set up, with Schelling leaving first for Saalfeld, a convenient half-way house. On May 5, Caroline and Auguste left, accompanied as far as Saalfeld by Schlegel, after which they were to proceed independently to Bamberg. Schlegel returned to Jena, taking a detour via Leipzig, while Schelling, of course, was waiting in Saalfeld and saw Caroline and Auguste to quarters in Bamberg.
Early in July, all three of them were in Bocklet, the Paulus family from Jena also. There was no secrecy, for on 6 July Schelling wrote to Schlegel that Auguste had taken ill. Schelling apparently used Brownian methods, including the standard stimulant of opium, to try to bring her back to health.
It was to no avail. On 12 July, she died, aged She was buried in the churchyard at Bocklet. She returned to Bamberg with Schelling, Schlegel hurrying there as soon as he heard the news. The accident of this Franconian journey, calamitous for all who took part in it, had brought him to the same South German cultural landscape that Wackenroder and Tieck had already experienced in , both of them Berlin Protestants brought face to face with the aesthetic splendours of the rite.
Auguste he had loved as his own daughter and it was to him that the extended Jena circle expressed their condolences. Now was the time for his friends to recollect his genuine paternal affection, not to consider whether this had been on his side only. Yet this stiff, formal, professorial man loved children and wished to have children of his own. Caroline and Schlegel travelled to Gotha, where her close friend Luise Gotter took her in. From now on they journeyed together, even slept under the same roof.
Their letters remained friendly and tolerant, as they had been all along; but the marriage was over. The Jena circle was effectively at an end. The Tiecks had left in June; Schelling continued as a professor, not in any close association with the Schlegel brothers, but not estranged from them either.
But Jena, as a metonymic association of minds as they had known it, was over. Yet it was only as Schlegel shook off these idle polemics, the irksome attendants of the Jena association that he could turn, symbolically as well as in reality, to face the challenges of that new nineteenth century.
the midnight embrace literary mushrooms Manual
He announced, also in the same letter, the Ehrenpforte , of which he was to be so inordinately proud and which would go on to take pride of place in his Poetische Werke in In a sense that had its justification, for it showed what he could do, and all in a comic vein: One senses his urge to display versatility and if need be virtuosity. It was part of a self-image that his autobiographical sketch of around sought to perpetuate.
The Athenaeum , which, as we saw, was for August Wilhelm a joint enterprise and only one of several undertakings, contained some short and more ephemeral pieces of comment and criticism by him that had little sense outside of their original context, and these he never re-edited. The lectures that he gave in Jena seemed to have served if anything as drafts for later series in Berlin; but most of this material was never edited in his lifetime. The edition of his poems was, however, different, those Gedichte von August Wilhelm Schlegel , that came out in April of Although the Athenaeum did contain certain of his more important poems, there was evidence that he was also writing poetry for a different audience, one more generally receptive and perhaps less aesthetically discriminating than the readership of an avant-garde periodical.
It may be significant that when his Gedichte first appeared in , copies were immediately sent to Duke Carl August, Goethe, and Schiller. These poets, too, were the names that his Jena lectures were beginning to enshrine and that his Berlin lectures were to canonise. There was even a sonnet called Das Sonett that was both a poetic and also a prosodic demonstration of the Petrarchan form.
The second of these poems they might know if they were also readers of the Athenaeum , but the other one was new. Carl addresses his surviving younger brother, classical-style, from the land of the dead. One may guess at its motivation: Also perhaps the wish to show the world that the Schlegels were not all bookmen, but men of action as well. For the generally elegiac tone of the poem does not exclude a certain expansiveness of detail, the raising of the Hanoverian regiment, the touching farewell scene, with his only mention of both of his parents: Aber vor allem die Mutter, die liebende Mutter!
Wie ich mich innerlich schalt, mir sagte die ahnende Seele: My good pious father gave me his heartfelt blessing, Sisters crowded around, brothers embracing me. But our so loving mother, I broke down in tears on her bosom, Only just tearing myself from her arms in confusion. How I reproached myself later, for a sixth sense foretold me Never again would I answer your dearest greetings. But our mother could not hold back the urge that possessed her Just to see her beloved son this once more. She made her way, her daughters came with her, Looked down on the square from the window, the ranks all assembled, I stood with my brothers in arms, and though I could see her, I never raised an eye, to preserve my composure.
I went through the lines and hurried them on, took orders, Passed them on, immersing myself in military business, Mounted my horse, taking the lead of the marching column, And only looked homeward when we were outside the gate. The fifes and drums drowned out any sad thoughts that I might have And the song of the men who were greeting the morning. All this in verses of elegiac couplets.
It is a good poem, almost the only one by him that breathes genuine feeling. Above all it had combined the poetic with the real and autobiographical. Carl Schlegel had died in the symbolic year , and Neoptolemus in the elegy recalled how the political turmoil and chaos of the revolutionary years had brought ever more dead to join him in the realm of the shades.
This, at least, would be a sentiment that could appeal to the Goethe of Hermann und Dorothea. In , in its reissue in his re-named Poetische Werke. Schlegel of course would never have begun an elegy seemingly in mid-sentence, as Euphrosyne does. That was the privilege of genius. Following the Odyssey the Iliad rather less , it was also private and domestic, with characters who displayed a heart-warming sincerity and directness.
As a renewal of Homer, it had an unforced epic tone, and its rhythm was unconstrained by any too punctilious adaptation of the ancient hexameter. They did not however represent the sum of the elegiac tradition, and so Friedrich Schlegel reminded him of the thematic variety of the much less-known and imperfectly edited Greek elegy all in extracts translated by August Wilhelm. These poems were learned and replete with allusions: It was that philological, learned side of the Schlegel brothers that has travelled rather less well.
Nevertheless it formed part of their sense of poetic continuities, their ultimately Herderian awareness of the historical rhythms and patterns of rise and fall, efflorescence and decay, that record the Alexandrian desiccations as here as well as the new risings of sap. Goethe had an explanation. Reflecting over twenty years later, in Campagne in Frankreich , he recalled the general laxity in the writing of hexameters when, as a distraction from the Revolutionary Wars of , he first sat down to retell the story of Reynard the Fox in classical verse, as Reineke Fuchs.
It is also certain that they disagreed on the extent to which metre may have priority over sense. Goethe where possible allowed himself to be guided by the natural rhythm of the language rather than its purely metrical patterns. He himself saw none of these activities in isolation. He never put himself into compartments. All areas of endeavour had their place but were also interdependent: It was a style that he had developed earlier in the decade: They could be expressed as a philosophical principle, referring all art forms to an original ideal or model, from which all else emanated, a neo-platonic or Hemsterhuisian notion of beauty, the outward manifestation seen as but a mirror image of the inner.
These notions informed the staid verses of those didactic or poetological poems, Prometheus or Pygmalion , of which Schlegel was so proud. This, too, would guarantee its autonomy and also the validity and truthfulness of human feelings. Schlegel had formulated these ideas in the lectures that he gave at Jena. His hearers may in any case not have been aware of the extent of his borrowings from existing material.
An example was his use of his Horen essay as the source for his notions on language, not substantially altered. His ideas on euphony and musicality in language drew on his opening contribution to the Athenaeum , Die Sprachen [The Languages]. Sections on Greek poetry had been copied straight from his brother Friedrich.
The passage on Shakespeare was little advance on Eschenburg. All contain elements of the others. A didactic poem like Die Kunst der Griechen [The Art of the Greeks] was both a threnody for a lost past and also a statement positing the centrality of Greek culture for a post-classical age. Friedrich Schlegel, too, while editing the and numbers of the Athenaeum , had privately been catching up on his reading of the sixteenth and seventeenth-century Italian and Spanish classics. That at least was the theory: For August Wilhelm, Dante had seemed preferable, despite his eccentric theology. At least the characters in the Inferno had flesh and blood.
True, much offended the sensitivities Ugolino, for instance , but it was preferable to the exsangious creations of Der Messias and by extension, his model, Milton. Its two major reviewers were, not surprisingly, Schlegel and Voss. There was therefore much that Schlegel did not like: For there were absurdities in Klopstock, not least his imagined link between Greek and German fanciful ideas involving the Thracian Getae. This Schlegel could easily rectify. If one wanted brevity, better examples could be found in Aeschylus rather than in Homer, on whom Klopstock seemed to be fixated.
True, English and French had their limits as poetic languages, but Italian certainly did not. He could now see much in perspective: Klopstock had also lived in an age unfazed by manifest improbabilities, happily linking druids and bards, German and Celt, Greek and Goth as one linguistic community. This in its turn was an olive branch to the same Grimm whom Schlegel had exquisitely torn to pieces in his massive review of He would now learn that the great mother language, Sanskrit, followed Greek, Gothic perhaps as well had its poetry survived.
In , but addressing the specialist audience of his fellow-Sanskritists and linguisticians in his Indische Bibliothek , Schlegel had been yet more even-handed towards Klopstock, to Goethe and Schiller also, knowing that neither Klopstock nor Schiller were alive to appreciate this irenic gesture. It still had its gaze firmly fixed on the works of art themselves and the things to be observed as one stood in front of them. Only after this necessary analysis did the discourse merge into poetic utterance.
But there were also immediate differences between the Romantics and Goethe. Their remarks reflected existing hierarchies within art discourse or engaged with these. Historical painting ranked as superior to landscape or seascape, genre or still life. Venetian, Bolognese, and French schools stood in that order of esteem. Generally these connoisseurs followed their own dictates and looked or overlooked as they chose. If that meant more Venetians and almost no Dutch, well and good. The dialogue and the poems he had written, the descriptions of paintings were by the said lady. One can draw inferences from the respective contributions of the three interlocutors in the conversation: Louise, generally accepted as being Caroline herself, Waller, who is August Wilhelm, and Reinhold, a kind of collective figure for the remaining friends.
Waller summed up the general consensus—quoting Herder or Hemsterhuis in all but name—that statuary was not a mere question of shape or contour or mass or repose. The whole conversation was, however, called The Paintings , and so the visitors walked on towards the painting galleries, their real goal. These were in reality scattered, but the essay conveniently assembled them, one Italian Salvator Rosa , one French Claude , one Dutch Ruysdael.
Total coverage was not their aim. They were content to dispraise a Claudesque painting by Hackert as being essentially lifeless if it suited them. Instead they attempted a close, sometimes quite technical, analysis of the three paintings. This could be seen increasingly in the accounts of Correggio, who was beginning here his advance in Romantic esteem to become the equal of Raphael.
There were outright condemnations, too, that amounted to blanket rejections of schools or centuries: Louise confessed to tears. Was she in danger of becoming Catholic? But art never lost its autonomy.
It was not so suffused with feeling as to become something vague and indefinable. It did not inhibit further analysis of the supporting figures , but it raised two important issues. The first was the close relationship of the fine arts to poetry. August Wilhelm saw the matter less extravagantly. This was also the uncle of Auguste von Buttlar speaking, displeased at her embrace of Rome. There was his Flaxman essay as well.
The engravings, first produced by Tommaso Piroli in Rome in , were expensive and copies were initially hard to come by. It was not long in coming: Gone were the reservations that he had expressed but a few years ago. In those sections where Dante went beyond the powers of human expression, Flaxman used geometrical figures circle, triangle , themselves mystical symbols of the godhead, and passed beyond mere representation.
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In that sense, this Athenaeum essay was entering regions where Goethe already had reservations and later was to see merely superstition. Their effect was of necessity limited, for students did not flock to Schlegel as they did to Schelling and as they had done to Fichte, and it is only through the initiatives of two promising and intelligent young men, Ast and Savigny, that we have any record at all. Even then they have only handed down to us those lectures now called Philosophische Kunstlehre [Philosophical Art Theory].
These contain sections dealing with German literature, but they are presumably different from the lectures on the history of German poetry now lost that he also announced. In keeping with other German universities, Jena had been offering lectures on aesthetics not necessarily under this exact title for decades. Schlegel could therefore be seen as a versatile and reliable colleague in both classical and modern literatures and was also the man best suited to inject the central tenets of transcendental idealism into the academic teaching of aesthetics. Aesthetics, as the philosophical study of human awareness of art and beauty, dealt with such absolutes, themselves the absolute aims of humanity.
As man becomes aware of his ultimate purpose, so he grows in his awareness of art and beauty. Art is by this definition no mere accessory, has no ancillary function, is no frill or furbelow. These are ideas firmly rooted in Schiller or Fichte. On one level, this meant setting out the history of aesthetics from Plato and Aristotle to Baumgarten, Winckelmann and Kant. We study Homer, he said, because he was closest to this primeval poetry before it became the preserve of a chosen few and was changed into art.
Although climate and physical or phonetic differences lead to disparity, all language is by nature rhythmical, musical or image-laden.
Image is the essential of myth, and myth is the product of the powers of human expression. Here Schlegel first developed the basically anthropological ideas human figure, oracle, fate, belief in life after death, the golden age that were to form part of his Romantic mythology but also informed his later Bonn lectures on ancient history. Again, there were many prefigurations here of his later Berlin and Vienna lectures.
It was to be followed by another gap in the Romantic ranks when early in Novalis succumbed to the tuberculosis that had been undermining his frail constitution. Auguste dosed with opium against the diarrhoea that was killing her her mother was to die in identical circumstances nine years later ; Novalis, a Keatsian phthisic, not in Rome but in wintry Weissenfels. Significantly, they did not include his radical Die Christenheit oder Europa [Christendom or Europe], a vision of history too controversial for readers in the new nineteenth century.
Despite differences, personal between Caroline and Dorothea, ideological between Friedrich Schlegel and Schelling, the former Romantic circle was nevertheless able to show a united front when it suited, as in the two volumes called Charakteristiken und Kritiken in During the Athenaeum years one would hardly have known that the map of Europe was being redrawn or that tumultuous events were happening, in the far-off Mediterranean or Egypt, so absorbed had these men and women of letters been with matters of the mind or wars with literary rivals.
We hear much more now of the threats, real or imagined, of armies on the move, of real captures and quarterings imposed on the civil population. In , Caroline experienced the political repercussions of the times at first hand in Harburg, with the cession of the Hanoverian lands to Prussia. Yet the postal service still functioned. During the peace interludes Friedrich and Dorothea travelled unhindered to Paris and set themselves up there, relying on the diligence to get letters, proofs and packets of books from one land to another.
It was in more ways than one a repetition of the journey in the same direction she had once made from Mainz. She was, as then, accompanied by August Wilhelm, now as ever linked by bonds of friendship and respect, devotion even. Their marriage was over. There remained still a strong residue of the affection, solicitude and camaraderie that had once been the mainstay of their relationship.
He was still helping her financially. She, as before, could still be relied upon to pass on her critical and practical insights and her encouragement, as Schlegel sought to forge for himself a career as a dramatist and as a public lecturer in Berlin. It was she who advised him not to break with his publisher Unger over a breach of contract with the Shakespeare edition, shrewdly noting that no-one else would take on this enterprise with a litigious translator.
It also represented a leave-taking from Jena and its associations. The Schlegel brothers wrote no novellas, but they knew that Goethe had consciously revived this Renaissance narrative form in , and they were to see its explosive expansion during their own lifetime. The essay is part of the Romantic discovery and rehabilitation of Italian and Spanish literature as sources of original, vital poetry, that saw Cervantes placed on the same scale of esteem as Dante and Shakespeare.
While going through the requisite rites of mourning he emancipated himself once and for all from mentoring and tutoring. This Johnson did with some nobility. The Germans, it seems, had been less generous to their downtrodden artists. Schlegel clearly did not wish to kick a fallen man, but neither did he wish to write a hagiography. His aim was to be fair, even if fairness involved the occasional severity.
Thus his essay should not be read as a direct reply to the points raised by Schiller. The times had not been favourable to him, says Schlegel, in that the period of his greatest influence was the immediate aftermath of the Sturm und Drang, in the s, not the high-pitched turbulence of the s. He was after all still close to Weimar. In , when reissuing the essay, he marred its generally even-handed tone with querulous and carping comments on Schiller, who was no longer able to answer. He sought for two things that in many ways cancelled each other out: Popularity was fine, but it could have the effect of depressing the level of quality, of being poetically all things to all men.
This paradox also contained a fatal contradiction. This service to poetry, says Schlegel the historian of the romance form, cannot be praised too highly. There had been great poetry nevertheless, such as that ballad Lenore , that Schlegel could not praise enough, that had taken the English by storm. Even if he never himself attempted a translation of this play, he was not willing to compromise the standards of Shakespearean rendition that he himself had established in theory and even more so in practice.
One could not apply to him the high standards that the Berlin lectures were to require of great and lasting poetry, but he was accorded a place, more modest but not without its own honour, in the national literature. It was to be his base until A short exception was the brief return visit to Jena in the late summer of After a final journey to Berlin and Dresden where his sister Charlotte Ernst unwisely lent them money , Friedrich and Dorothea left in stages for Paris. There was, he said, no chance of earning a living in Germany, with them constantly on the move—a wanderlust occasioned by his creditors, one might add.
He would be able to use his writings in Paris and work from that base. The much-admired Georg Forster had existed in this fashion, an analogy that even Friedrich must have known to be unfortunate in all of its associations. Yet the Schlegel brothers, while never agreeing on the subject of their respective partners or spouses, could in many ways not live without each other. A kind of exodus from Jena to Heidelberg did take place. Overtures were made to Tieck; Paulus eventually went there; Schelling at one stage showed interest the Schlegel brothers never.
It might instead be fair to say that the content of the Athenaeum had been determined, dictated even, by the arguments of the s, by associations, like those with Fichte, Schleiermacher or Novalis, that no longer held in the new century. Or that Goethe, and the desire to please him, had absorbed a disproportionate amount of its attention. If one were searching for a manifesto of things new, as opposed to the old order, one would not look to the artificial divide between Jena and Heidelberg, but to the works of the circle itself. This was where the future lay.
Yet as other Romantics, his brother Friedrich, Schleiermacher, Ludwig Tieck among them, were removing themselves from Berlin, it seemed as if August Wilhelm was trying to reconstitute the Prusssian capital as a focal point for the movement. In this he also found himself being drawn into the turbulent affairs of the Tieck family, the three siblings, Ludwig, Sophie, and Friedrich.
Friedrich, in his turn, not always through his own fault, was at times reduced to a hand-to-mouth existence. He was no longer in Berlin, having spent himself in polemics and controversies directed at the anti-Romantic clique there. August Wilhelm, now an author with Johann Friedrich Cotta, also publisher to Goethe and Schiller, had negotiated terms: With the death of Novalis in March , a double memorialisation seemed called for.
Tieck and both Schlegel brothers were to be the main contributors, but anyone capable of acceptable verse and of the right disposition might also be invited. As usual, it was Schlegel who saw the little volume through the press. Ballads or religious verse stanzas from different traditions, Catholic and Protestant, were also prominent. Religious the almanac certainly was, with those extraordinary poems by Novalis as its centrepiece, a kind of ecumenical religiosity that took in elements of whatever provenance and reflected the sense, formulated by Schleiermacher, that all facets of intellectual and cultural life were subject to a spiritual dimension.
The Schlegels translated the swooning cadences of the medieval hymn and the devotional verse of the Spanish Baroque. The blessed feast never ends, Love is never sated. Still, it is noticeable, when at the end of Tieck showed all the signs of crisis and nervous collapse, that it was Friedrich Schlegel to whom he wrote a great confessional letter, not August Wilhelm.
Whereas the Schlegels did not go in for sibling rivalry, with the Tiecks it assumed textbook dimensions. Those who defend Sophie mostly women point to her invidious position as the middle sibling between two brothers, hemmed in by domesticity, marriage and childbearing, disparaged and exploited by writers in her immediate entourage. Those who do not defend her largely men find her neurotic, exploitative, rapacious, vampiric even, and these are the terms that one tends to hear in the Schlegel narrative not of course from August Wilhelm himself. Bernhardi, a classicist and schoolmaster at the Friedrichswerder Gymnasium in Berlin, was a friend of her brother Ludwig, and his marriage to Sophie in seemed a natural consequence.
Their first child, Wilhelm, was born in , but the marriage failed.
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Bernhardi had few friends. He may have had an unpleasant and unattractive personality, but he surely does not deserve the demonisation visited on him by the Tieck-Schlegel circle. Schlegel was to do a long review of his important handbook on language for Europa. He needed no introductions to the world of the theatre: Madame Unzelmann was very glad of his company, more than glad, some alleged.
He commemorated her acting in prose and verse. Through the Bernhardis, Schlegel found a lawyer willing to take the publisher Unger to court unsuccessfully, as it turned out. Perhaps also solicitude when this little mite died the following February. The letters that they exchanged from the period of his absence in Jena, from August until October , are, however, full of passion. Bernhardi was of course to be kept in the dark. Schlegel still had too much affection for her.
In the autumn of Schlegel waxed lyrical in a poem to Sophie with perhaps a veiled reference to a child that she was carrying, and when in November Felix Theodor Bernhardi was born, Schlegel had reason to believe that he was the father. Knorring, a Baltic nobleman, had been taking private Greek lessons with Bernhardi, perhaps a little more than that. Schlegel, it hardly needs to be said, made regular contributions to her exchequer.
Friedrich had been absent from Berlin since Tieck also did busts of Goethe commemorated in a distich by Schlegel and of members of the ducal house and court. Had Tieck possessed the determination of Schadow or Christian Daniel Rauch, his work would be more widely known. These showed the five main characters in different forms of Greek dress, the royal figures, the priestess, the old man, each in a symbolic colour relating to rank and status. Of course it is but one further example of those classicizing adaptations for which in the eighteenth century the English, the Italians, the French—and now the Germans—had such a weakness and in which those Schlegel uncles, Johann Elias and Johann Heinrich, had had a minor part, a footnote in the family chronicle.
As for neo-classical dramas, the Romantic generation felt no inhibitions: He could hardly conceal his dismay that Goethe had translated Voltaire and was having him staged in Weimar, in order to train his actors in proper declamation and harmonious unity of movement, the kind of thing that Schlegel himself so admired in Friederike Unzelmann in Berlin. Schlegel did not wish to come over as a mere professor passing on insights, a kind of Euripides at the lectern, if one will.
The two forums of public performance, the stage and the rostrum, therefore complemented each other. Like Goethe, Schlegel has no chorus, but Ion sings a song the music by Johann Friedrich Reichardt to be accompanied by that most un-Greek of instruments, the pianoforte. The style was uniformly elevated, reinforced by the use of masks.
He was therefore not present when it was duly performed on 2 January Even Schiller attended, despite his perennial illness. True, the great Weimar actress Karoline Jagemann was praised in the title role. There were however elements in the audience inimical to both Goethe and Schlegel.
These centred on Kotzebue, and they planned mischief. There were titters and whisperings, then jeers. So strong was the anti-Goethe and anti-Romantic faction in both Weimar and Berlin that Schlegel wished to preserve his anonymity, at least until the play was performed in Berlin. Friedrich Schlegel unwisely told Dorothea, and then the secret was out. Hearing of this, Goethe confronted Bertuch, threatening to go to the duke with his resignation as director of the court theatre if he proceeded. It was remarkable what one could achieve if one was the major name in a minor ducal residence.
Iffland had shown far less enthusiasm for the play than Goethe. He did nevertheless have it performed twice in May, taking himself the role of Xuthus, with the celebrated Friederike Unzelmann in the title role. Nor could the book edition of rescue its reputation; printing the play in his poetic works in did not help either. Ion remained a dismal flop. It is fair to say that in this intervening period those Romantics still actively involved were subjected to a barrage of polemics—lampoons, parodies, caricatures—that threatened to consume their energies.
Ludwig Tieck had actually withdrawn from Berlin to Dresden and then to remotest Ziebingen partially to escape from this tiresome business. Friedrich Schlegel had not helped matters by persuading Goethe to have his tragedy Alarcos performed in Weimar in April, There were scenes similar to the Ion fiasco, Goethe as then prompted to Olympian pronouncements. There are those who defend Alarcos in preference to Ion , but the choice is essentially one between two evils. The Weimar audience took itself less seriously than its authors. The duke had had a good laugh.
Were one even to list the titles of all the anti-Romantic ephemera and squibs many of them damp from to one would fill several pages. His links with the English literary scene enabled him to achieve an even wider circle of dissemination. The artists involved were no Gillrays or Rowlandsons, nor would German censorship have permitted such excesses. On Parnassus itself Kotzebue, modishly dressed in the new pantalon , is wielding a flail in defence.
But Die neuere Aesthetik [The New Aesthetics] is altogether more entertaining, not least for having affinities with a French carnival print. These engravings have maintained their wit, which cannot be said for the other polemical ephemera of the period. The Romantics could not respond in kind. Courtesy of Wallstein Verlag, image in the public domain. Herausgegeben von Friedrich Schlegel Frankfurt am Main, , Frontispiece and title page. As said, by late , Friedrich and Dorothea were in Paris.
It was in some measure a parting of the ways for the two brothers. Of course there were enough protestations of solidarity: Im Herbst [To Friedrich Schlegel. In the Autumn of ], but not published until when the brothers were together for a brief time in Vienna, seemed to suggest a common purpose, a conjoint effort, but with a division of labour. The poetic images speak of one brother Friedrich putting down roots, steering the course, delving in the innermost parts of the earth, the other August Wilhelm as rising sap, trimming the sails, tending the products of the soil.
Both, in the terms of the poem, would return to their homeland to enjoy the fruits of their labours. It was not to be.