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Romeo and Juliet[edit]

The article says: "Influences from the literature of that time can be seen. The metaphors of the hymns are closely connected to the books Novalis had read at about the time of his writing of the hymns. These are prominently Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet..". May I know which that metaphores are?Deafussy (talk) 23:49, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

Biography assessment rating comment[edit]

WikiProject Biography Summer 2007 Assessment Drive

The article may be improved by following the WikiProject Biography 11 easy steps to producing at least a B article. -- Yamara 22:17, 27 June 2007 (UTC)


Please leave in external link to Times article. It contains excellent information on Novalis. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dydimus (talkcontribs) 12:14, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

I am soon going to load up an updated version of the Novalis article. It is a translation of a the German article written by a friend of mine. As I am not a native speaker of English, I would be very pleased if someone could check the article for mistakes etc. I think I'll upload the text this afternoon.

Ok, maybe you should upload it onto this talk page first, then we'll incorporate it? Or is that what you meant? Dsol 12:22, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

I upload the text onto this talk page. I've shortened the original article, because I thought that some elements are only of little interest for users of the English Wikipedia.

“Novalis” (* 2. May 1772 on the château Oberwiederstedt; + 25. March 1801 in Weißenfels) was an author and philosopher of the early German Romanticism. His real name was Georg Philipp “Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg”.


Friedrich von Hardenberg was born on the 2. May 1772 on the château Oberwiederstedt located in the Harz mountains. The parental residence was rather a manor than a real château. Novalis descended from ancient, Low German nobility. In the different lines of the family, many important, influential magistrates and ministry officials can be found, for example the Prussian chancellor Karl August von Hardenberg (1750-1822), who is known because of the Stein-Hardenbergschen reforms.

Beside an oil painting, a christening cap, which is commonly assigned to Novalis, is the only artefact that is left of him. In the church in Wiederstedt he was christened Georg Philipp Friedrich. Novalis spent his childhood on the family estate and used it as starting point for his travels into the Harz mountains.

Novalis’ father, the estate owner and saline manager Heinrich Ulrich Erasmus Freiherr von Hardenberg (1738-1814), was a strictly pietistic man. Due to his experiences in the past, he had become a member of the Morovian (Herrnhuter) sect. In his second marriage, Novalis’ father was married to Auguste Bernhardine von Hardenberg, née Bölzig (1749-1818), who gave birth to eleven children. Their second child had been Georg Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg, who later on named himself Novalis.

At first Novalis was taught by private tutors. Amongst others by Christian Daniel Erhard Schmid (1762-1812), whom he met again at the beginning of his university education. Novalis attended the Luther grammar school in Eisleben, where he acquired skills in rhetoric and ancient literature, which were common parts of the education of this time.

From his twelfth year on, Novalis was in charge of his uncle Friedrich Wilhelm Freiherr von Hardenberg at the château Lucklum.

Novalis studied law from 1790 to 1794 at Jena (where he was attended by his former private teacher Christian Daniel Erhard Schmid), Leipzig, and Wittenberg. He passed his exams with distinction. During his studies he attended Schiller’s lecture courses on history and befriended Schiller during his (Schiller’s) illness. Furthermore he met Goethe, Herder, and Jean Paul, and he became friends with Ludwig Tieck, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling and the brothers Friedrich und August Wilhelm Schlegel.

In October 1794 Novalis Novalis did not become a civil servant – in contrary to his plans - but worked as actuary for August Coelestin Just, who was not only his boss, but also his friend and later on his biographer. During this time Novalis met the young Sophie von Kühn (1783-1797). On the 15th March 1795 he became engaged with her. In the following January, Novalis was appointed auditor to the directorate of the saline in Weißenfels. The early and cruel death of his fiancée in March 1797 had a deep impact on him.

1795/1796 Novalis concerned himself with the scientific doctrin of Johann Gottlieb Fichte, which had an great influence on his world view. Because he did not only read Fichte’s philosophies, but he also developed the concepts further. He transformed Fichte’s “Nicht-Ich” (germ. “not I”) to a “Du” (germ. “you), an equal subject to the “Ich” (germ. “I”). This was the starting point for his “Liebesreligion” (germ. “religion of love”).

A few months later he entered the Mining Academy of Freiberg in Saxony, a leading academy concerning science in this time, to study geology under professor Abraham Gottlob Werner (1750-1817). He soon befriended him. During his studies in Freiberg he learned about mining, mathematics, chemistry and other subjects. This was quite an extensive education. Furthermore he had to undergo a lot of practical schooling in the mines. This schooling was a family tradition.

In 1798 his first fragments were published in the “Athenäum”, a magazine edited by the brothers Friedrich and August Wilhelm Schlegel, who were also part of the early Romanticism. The title of Novalis’ first publication was “Blüthenstaub”, this is also the first appearance of his pseudonym “Novalis”.

In December 1798 Novalis became engaged for the second time. His fiancée was “Julie von Charpentier” (1788-1811), a daughter of Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Toussaint von Charpentier, a professor in Freiberg. Since Pentecost 1799 Novalis worked again in the directorate of the saline. In December of the same year he became assessor of the saline and member of the directorate of the saline. In July 1799 Novalis became acquainted with Ludwig Tieck, in late autumn of the same year he met other authors of the so called “Jenaer Romanticism”.

Already in the succeeding year, on the 6th December 1800, the 28 years old Hardenberg was appointed “Supernumerar-Amtshauptmann” for the Thuringian District. A position which can be compared with a magistrate of today.

Since August 1800 Hardenberg suffered incurable from tuberculosis, which made the further practise of his profession impossible. On the 25th March 1801 he died in Weißenfels. After his death he was buried on the old cemetery in Weißenfels.

Novalis lived to see only the publication of the “Blüthenstaub-Fragmente”, “Glaube und Liebe oder der König und die Königin”, and “Hymnen an die Nacht”. His unfinished novels “Heinrich von Ofterdingen” and “Die Lehrlinge zu Sais”, as well as his political speech “Europa” were published posthumously by his friends Ludwig Tieck and Friedrich Schlegel.


It can be justly said that the tireless, contemplating and creative Friedrich von Hardenberg was the most important representative of the early German Romanticism. He had only a few years to discover and develop his writing skills. Novalis, who had great knowledge in science, law, philosophy, politics and economy, started writing quite early. He left an astonishing abundance of notes on the above mentioned fields of knowledge and already his early work shows that he was very educated and well read. His later works are closely connected to his studies and his profession. Novalis collected everything that he had learned, reflected upon it and drew connections in the sense of an encyclopaedic overview on art and science. These notes from the years 1798/1799 are called “Allgemeines Brouillon”. Together with Friedrich Schlegel, Novalis developed the fragment as a literary form of art. The core of Hardenberg’s literary works is the quest for the connection of science and poetry, and the result was supposed to be a “progressive universal utopia”. Furthermore he was convinced that philosophy and the higher-ranking poetry have to be in a continual interrelation.

The fact that the romantic fragment is the adequate form for a depiction of the “progressive universal utopia”, can be seen especially in the success of this new genre in the later reception.

Novalis’ whole works are based upon a idea of education (“Wir sind auf einer Mißion: Zur Bildung der Erde sind wir berufen”). It has to be made clear that everything is in a continual process. Same with humans, who always try to approach an earlier – hypothetically assumed - condition, which is characterised by harmony between human and nature.

This idea of the romantic universal utopia can be seen clearly in the romantic triade. This theoretical structure always shows the recipient that the described moment is exactly the moment (kairos) in which the future is decided. These frequently mentioned critical points correspond with the artist’s feeling for the present, which Novalis shares with many other contemporaries of his time. Therefore a triadic structure can be found in most of his works. This means that there are three corresponding structural elements which are written different concerning the content and the form.

Hardenberg’s intensive study of the works of Jakob Böhme, since 1800, has had a verifiable influence on his own writing.

A mystical world view, a high standard of education and the frequently perceivable pietistic influences are combined in Hardenberg’s attempt to reach a new concept of Christendom, faith, and God. Furthermore he always tries to adjust these with his transcendental philosophy. This can be seen in the “Geistliche Lieder” (published 1802), which soon are a part of Lutheran hymn-books.


In August 1800, eight months after completion, the revised edition of the “Hymnen an die Nacht” is published in the “Athenaeum”. They are often considered to be the climax of Novalis’ lyrical works and the most important poetry of the German early Romanticism.

The six hymns contain many elements which can be understood as autobiographical. Even though not Novalis, but a lyrical I is the speaker, there are many relations between the hymns and Hardenberg’s experiences from 1797-1800. The topic is the romantic interpretation of life and death, the threshold which is symbolised by the night. Life and death are – according to Novalis – developed to entwined concepts. So in the end death is the romantic principle of life. Influences of the contemporary literature at that time can be proven. The metaphors of the hymns is closely connected to the books Novalis had read in temporal closeness to the writing of the hymns. These are prominently Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” (in the translation by A.W.Schlegel 1797) and Jean Paul’s “Unsichtbare Loge” (1793). The “Hymnen an die Nacht” display a universal religion with a intermediary. This concept is based on the idea that there is always a third party between human and God. This intermediary can either be Jesus – like in Christian Mythology – or the dead beloved like in the hymns. This works consists of three times two hymns. These three components can be structured in the following principle: in each case the first hymn shows, with help of the Romantic triade, the development from an assumed, happy life on earth, over a painful era of alienation to salvation in the eternal night. The following hymn tells of the awakening from this vision and longing for a return to it. Continually the pairs of hymns increase and with each step show a higher level of experience and knowledge.


The novel fragments “Heinrich von Ofterdingen” and “Die Lehrlinge zu Sais” clearly reflect the idea of describing an universal world harmony with help of poetry. The novel “Heinrich von Ofterdingen” contains the “blue flower”, a symbol that became an emblem for the whole German Romanticism. Originally the novel was supposed to be an answer to Goethe’s “Wilhelm Meister”, a work that Novalis had read with enthusiasm but later on judged as being highly unpoetical. He dislike the victory of the economical over the poetry.

The speech called “Europa” was written in 1799, but was first published in 1826. It is a poetical, culture historical speech with a focus on a political utopia with regard to the middle ages. In this text Novalis tries to develop a new Europe which is based on a new poetical Christendom which shall lead to unity and freedom. He got the inspiration for this text from Schleiermacher’s “Über die Religion” (1799).


My name is Paul Stoll and I was wondering where you got all this information. I am related to Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg and I'm trying to find out about my family tree.

Regards Paul Stoll —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:36, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

Influence on Hesse[edit]

I added a note about Novalis' influence on Hesse. This information was taken from a 1972 Panther reprint of Hesse's 'Demian', where the translator notes that Hesse "so much admired...the poet Novalis", and explains that Emil Sinclair (the pseudonym used by Hesse on the initial publication of the novel) was Novalis' friend.

Any more information of this sort would be welcome and useful; it would help illuminated this great writer's work and broaden his relevance for modern and English-speaking audiences.

--Euchrid9 15:28, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

"The name Sinclair was intended as a tribute to the poet Hölderlin's friend Isaak von Sinclair." Hesse, Hermann. Siddhartha, Demian and Other Writings. The German Library 71. New York: Continuum, 1992. p. 221.
"Even when he signs one of his books with a pseudonym, as Demian appeared under the pseudonym Emil Sinclair, it is to find himself again by trying to identify himself magically with a chosen historic personality: Hölderlin's friend." Blanchot, Maurice. The Book to Come. Meridian. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2003. p. 167.
See also Kaznina, Elena. "Die Geschichte von Emil Sinclairs Jugend (Hermann Hesse - Demian): Parallelen zwischen dem Leben der Hauptperson und dem des Autors". 2003. (talk) 04:22, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

Influence - James Thomson (B.V.)?[edit]

Should mention be made of the poet James Thomson (B.V.), author of The City of Dreadful Night? The B.V. in his name stands for Bysshe Vanolis, the latter being an anagram of Novalis. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:13, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

Magical idealism - need stub[edit]

Can anybody start a stub article on Magical idealism? Thanks. -- 15:44, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

Done. Of course, I botched the capitalization on the article, so there's a stub for Magical idealism but not Magical Idealism. Someone fix that? Hansonfan 06:48, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

I merged it back into the article. Not much there. —Viriditas | Talk 11:08, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

Proposed edit into good English[edit]

I'm fairly new to Wikipedia but my native language is English and this article reads like a translation. So I'd like to reshape the language, to let it read comfortably in English without changing any of the meaning. Unfortunately, because the author/translator has not signed, I cannot ask you direct. Therefore I'm going to leave this note for a few days, and if nobody objects, I shall edit. Thanks Lucy Skywalker 22:35, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

Done! Lucy Skywalker 18:28, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Novalis and opium of people[edit]

Some people ascribe a quote (not excact) to Novalis 'Your so-called religion is like opium: it transforms and deadens the pain, instead of giving the strength'. Can you clarify that, when and where he said/wrote that if he ever did? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:59, 13 January 2009 (UTC) Deafussy (talk) 23:49, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

It's in a collection of fragments by Novalis called Pollen.KD Tries Again (talk) 02:59, 17 April 2010 (UTC)KD Tries Again

Early Romanticism[edit]

"More recently, Novalis, as well as the Early Romantic (Frühromantik) movement as a whole, has been recognized as constituting a separate philosophical school, as opposed to simply a literary movement. Recognition of the distinctness of Fruhromantik philosophy is owed in large part, in the English speaking world at least, to the writer Frederick Beiser."

This lacks a reference. Perhaps it should be removed? (talk) 04:28, 24 December 2012 (UTC)