Wednesday, July 07, 2004

A Bit from Novalis

My previous post on my Romantic propensities in blogging have set me thinking about Novalis. I don't have much in the way of Novalis on hand, but I have gone back to read George MacDonald's Phantastes again. Here is the big section quoted from Novalis at the beginning:

One can imagine stories without rational cohesion and yet filled with associations, like dreams; and poems that are merely lovely sounding, full of beautiful words, but also without rational sense and connections--with, at the most, individual verses which are intelligible, like fragments of the most varied things. This true Poesie can at most have a general allegorical meaning and an indirect efect, as music does. Thus is Nature so purely poetic, like the room of a magician or a physicist; like a children's nursery or a carptenter's shop....

A fairy-story is like a vision without rational connections, a harmonious whole of miraculous things and events--as, for example, a musical fantasia, the harmonic sequence of an Aeolian harp, indeed Nature itself.


In a genuine fairy-story, everything must be miraculous, mysterious, and interrelated; everythign must be alive, each in its own way. The whole of Nature must b ewondrously blended with the whole world of the Spirit. In fairy-story the tie of anarchy, lawlessness, freedom, the natural state of Nature makes itself felt in the world....The world of the fairy-story is that world which is opposed throughout to the world of rational truth, and precisely for tha treason it is so thoroughly an analogue to it, as Chaos is an analogue to the finished Creation.

And, at the beginning of Chapter XXV is this Novalis quote: Our life is no dream, but it ought to become one, and perhaps will.

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