Friday, November 21, 2014

Nassar on Jena Romanticism

I know a few people have found my occasional excerpts from the later works of Karl Wilhelm Friedrich von Schlegel to be somewhat interesting; those who have might be interested in this interview with Dalia Nassar on Jena Romanticism. The works I've been quoting have been from a much later period in Schlegel's life, indeed, the last period of Schlegel's life, when he was very conservative, devoutly Catholic, and an enthusiastic advocate of the importance of Sanskrit and Indian literature; but in his early days, Schlegel was a freethinking Young Turk of Jena. Indeed, as noted in the interview, he was one of the Big Three of Jena Romantic philosophy, the other two being Novalis and Schelling.

Between the young Schlegel and the old Schlegel there is a vast gap, one that began to grow as soon as he left Jena and became extraordinary during his period in Cologne; but our oldest reflections always carry something of our youngest enthusiasms, however distant the two may be from each other, and many of Schlegel's basic themes remained constant his entire life.

A Basic Timeline of Schlegel's Life

1772 -- Birth (March 10)

1796 -- Moves to Jena and begins collaborating with his brother August, Novalis, Fichte, and others.

1797 -- Moves to Berlin.

1798 -- August and Friedrich found the Athenaeum literary magazine, one of the key events creating the German Romantic movement.

1799 -- Marries Dorothea Veit, the daughter of Moses Mendelssohn, and moves back to Jena.

1801 -- Death of Novalis. Schlegel moves to Berlin. This year is usually regarded as the end of the Jena Romantic movement in the strict sense.

1803 -- Arrives in Paris and founds the review, Europa.

1804 -- Moves to Cologne and begins studying Gothic architecture and Sanskrit.

1808 -- Publishes On the Language and Wisdom of India. Friedrich and Dorothea convert to Catholicism.

1809 -- Goes to Vienna and is appointed Imperial court secretary for Archduke Charles of Teschen; accompanies the archduke in the War of the Fifth Coalition against Napoleon.

1814 -- Knighted in the Supreme Order of Christ

1820 -- Founds the conservative Catholic review, Concordia.

1828 -- Begins publishing some of his recent lectures as Philosophy of Life and Philosophy of History. The lecture series on Philosophy of Language was never fully completed.

1829 -- Death (January 12)

1 comment:

  1. Wade McKenzie7:43 PM

    "...but our oldest reflections always carry something of our youngest enthusiasms, however distant the two may be from each other..."

    This is an insightful remark. Though I'm middle-aged now and consider myself to be very different from the person I was, not only as a child or a teenager, but even as a thirtysomething, I marvel betimes at the consonance of my interests from then till now. I suppose it testifies to the idea of a "soul".

    And in reference to those philosophers--like Schlegel--whose thought is believed to have "developed", it would suggest that development is in some sense reformulation and transposition. Schlegel's own case--which encompasses an earlier romanticism and a later conservatism and Catholicism--implies that there is a link between the two apparently different stages and their respective commitments. How would you characterize that link?

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