University Of Tasmania
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Poetry and philosophical ascesis : Schlegel, Novalis, Holderlin

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posted on 2023-05-27, 15:18 authored by van Riet, A
This thesis argues that the tum to poetry undertaken by Schlegel, Novalis and HOlderlin during the period of early German Romanticism is largely a tum that seeks to culminate in a particular and comprehensive philosophical ascesis. While contemporary discourse (Frank, Beiser, Henrich, Bowie, Millan-Zaibert et al) has done much to uncover the philosophical underpinnings of early German Romanticism, and has secured the place of thinkers such as Holderlin within the history of German philosophy, the theme of poetry and philosophical ascesis has not been sufficiently explored. This thesis focuses on the determination with which Schlegel, Novalis and Holderlin seek to expand philosophical understanding by integrating traditional philosophical reasoning with comprehensive poetic processes. This thesis argues that this integration exploits a symbiotic relationship between poetry and philosophy that enables a refined response to philosophical issues such as Fichte's theory of subjectivity, the discrepancy and reconciliation between idealism and realism, and the moral education of humankind. The strategy of this thesis is first to elicit the technicalities of the symbiotic relationship between poetry and philosophy, followed by an exploration of Holderlin's calculative approach to Fichte's theory of subjectivity that seeks also to achieve a metaphorical representation of an 'intellectual intuition.' In conjunction, Holderlin's theory of tones, plus the preparation and function of the poet, are explored. The thesis then turns to Schlegel's 'formula' that seeks to articulate the nature of God in relation to the poetic ideal. This is followed by an investigation into the moral education of humankind and finally an in investigation into Novalis' Magical Idealism. This thesis concludes that although there are differences between the kinds of methods and responses on which each thinker draws, all share a preoccupation with the unity of subject and object, and its role as an analogue for the unity that underpins all binary oppositions. The identification of the tum to poetry undertaken by Schlegel, Novalis and Holderlin is seen to be based in an assertion of a symbiotic relationship between poetry and philosophy that itself constitutes an ascesis in which the subjective self integrates with the determination of the very 'thing' that it contemplates. There are two qualifications that apply to the research undertaken here. First, the focus is philosophical rather than poetic in that the concern is with philosophical theory rather than poetic success. Second, while the aim of the thesis is to identify a level of philosophical asceticism at work in the thinking of Schlegel, Novalis and Holderlin, the full elaboration of such asceticism and its implications is not attempted.


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Copyright 2009 the author Thesis (PhD)--University of Tasmania, 2009. Includes bibliographical references. Introduction -- Ch. 1. The symbiotic relationship between poetry and philosophy -- Ch. 2. Poetry and the structure of consciousness -- Ch. 3. Becoming, dissolution and remembrance - Holderlin's Tonal Theory -- Ch. 4. The preparation and function of the poet -- Ch. 5. Schlegel's formula - a philosophical ascesis in an equation -- Ch. 6. Poetry and the moral education of humankind: the romantic adaptation of Bildung -- Ch. 7. Novalis' 'Magical Idealism' -- Conclusion

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