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Birth of Novalis, The

Friedrich von Hardenberg's Journal of 1797, with Selected Letters and Documents

Novalis,, Friedrich von Hardenberg, Bruce Donehower

Publication Year: 2007

Friedrich von Hardenberg, who later became known as the poet Novalis, kept a journal between April and July 1797 that captured his moods, thoughts, and observations following the death of his fifteen-year-old fiancée Sophie von Kühn and his dearly loved younger brother Erasmus. The journal’s short, day-to-day entries allow a frank and candid glimpse into the inner life of the maturing poet, and are complemented by selections from Hardenberg’s letters. Taken together, and read in conjunction with the fragments written before, during, and shortly after this period of time, the journal and letters shed light on a process of self-discovery during which Hardenberg became convinced of his poetic vocation and acknowledged this conviction in an act of self-christening, as the poet Novalis.

Published by: State University of New York Press


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pp. i-i

Title page copyright page

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pp. ii-v


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pp. vi-vi

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pp. 1-34

Between April and July 1797, the twenty-five-year-old Saxon aristocrat and former apprentice law clerk Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg (1772–1801) kept a journal that captured the moods, thoughts, and observations that followed the deaths of his fifteen-yearold fiancée, Sophie von Kühn (1782–1797), and his dearly loved younger brother, Erasmus (1774–1797). This journal, which consists...

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Selected Letters and Documents 1792–1797

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pp. 35-78

The following narrative of selected letters and letter excerpts is extracted from the years 1792 to 1797. This covers a period that begins with Friedrich von Hardenberg’s years as a university student in Jena and Leipzig through his graduation from Wittenberg with a degree in law and into the period of legal apprenticeship with August Cölestin Just in Tennstedt where Hardenberg met Sophie von Kühn

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Journal April 18–July 6, 1797

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pp. 79-97

Early in the day, sensual stirrings. Many thoughts about her and about me. Philosophy rather bright and easy. The end thought stood rather firm—feelings of weakness—but [at the same time] extension and progression. Moritz.2 At the table and afterward, rather bright and talkative. Just played the song: Sing o! Song and zither accompaniment....

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Autobiographical and Biographical Testimonies

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pp. 99-136

.... . . I now come to the end of your letter, where you urge me to make public some details of my personal circumstances. Your amiable goodness of spirit encourages me to let you know something of the story of my last years. May your friendly interest in my personality allow you to receive this as evidence of my complete trust, and it would please me...

Timeline of Events

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pp. 137-140


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pp. 141-151

Select Bibliography, and back cover

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pp. 157-161


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pp. 164-168

E-ISBN-13: 9780791480687
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791469699
Print-ISBN-10: 0791469697

Page Count: 159
Publication Year: 2007

OCLC Number: 868030719
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Birth of Novalis, The

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Subject Headings

  • Novalis, 1772-1801 -- Diaries.
  • Novalis, 1772-1801 -- Correspondence.
  • Authors, German -- 18th century -- Biography.
  • Novalis, 1772-1801 -- Translations into English.
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