Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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p. vii

List of Abbreviations

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pp. ix-xi

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Preface

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pp. xiii-xvi

This panegyric to duty marks out in concise form the terrain of paradox that is the focus of this study. The human subject, Kant is saying, is fundamentally divided as a result of leading a double life as a natural being on the one hand and a moral agent on the other. Moral activity demands the setting aside of what we commonly take to be the defining features...

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Introduction: Energetic Signs: Autonomy and Novelty in the Age of Revolution

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pp. 1-27

Somewhere around 1805–6, while composing the first version of his novella “Michael Kohlhaas,” Heinrich von Kleist began writing a short essay entitled “Über die allmähliche Verfertigung der Gedanken beim Reden” (On theGradual Production of Thoughts Whilst Speaking). Published only in 1878,more than sixty years after his death, the essay was slow to gain critical attention...

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1 Revealing Freedom: Crisis and Enthusiasm in Kant’s Philosophy of History

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pp. 28-73

Kant’s Der Streit der Fakultäten (The Conflict of the Faculties) (1798) more or less explicitly addresses all the issues of principal concern to us here. In his attempt to establish a foundation for a philosophical history, an enterprise he considers the intrinsic political responsibility of philosophy, Kant raises fundamental questions about foundations as such. In particular, he uncovers what...

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2 The Poetics of Containment: Goethe’s Conversations of German Refugees and the Crisis of Communication

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pp. 74-106

While working on his novel Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre (Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship) in the winter of 1794, Goethe also wrote the novella cycle Unterhaltungen deutscher Ausgewanderten (Conversations of German Refugees). In a curious exchange of provenance, the former, which builds on the specifically German form of the bildungsroman, became a model for the great French and...

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3 Border Narratives: Kleist’s Michael Kohlhaas

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pp. 107-149

Wilhelm Grimm did well to warn Kleist’s readers against judging his storie s“according to the pattern of a narrative voice that is modeled on the elegant social tone.”1 Like all of Kleist’s novellas, Michael Kohlhaas lacks the air of a tale that can be told, to the delight of its listeners, in the conversational atmosphere of a salon. This resistance to the smoothness of conversational form...

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Conclusion: The Big Either

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pp. 150-157

Each of the texts discussed in the preceding pages reads the French Revolution as the historical manifestation of a unique moral passion focused on the principles of human freedom and justice. In its intensity and extra subjective orientation, this passion exceeds, and thus disrupts, the operations of ordinary life: the rituals of sociability, the utilitarian calculus of pleasures and profits,...

Notes

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pp. 159-195

References

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pp. 197-212

Index

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pp. 213-222