Jena romantics

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The Jena romantics was a group centred in Jena from about 1798 to 1804 which played an important part in the first phase of Romanticism in German literature. The group was led by the versatile writer Ludwig Tieck. Two members of the group, brothers August Wilhelm and Friedrich von Schlegel, who laid down the theoretical basis for Romanticism in the circle’s organ, the Athenäum, maintained that the first duty of criticism was to understand and appreciate the right of genius to follow its natural bent.

The greatest imaginative achievement of this circle is to be found in the lyrics and fragmentary novels of Friedrich Leopold von Hardenberg. The works of Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling expounded the Romantic doctrine in philosophy, whereas the theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher demonstrated the necessity of individualism in religious thought. By 1804, the circle at Jena had dispersed. A second phase of Romanticism was initiated two years later in Heidelberg.

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