Monthly Archives: December 2016

Fichte’s Semiotics and the Romantic Fragment

I’m looking forward to presenting at the British Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies annual conference at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford this January! 

Considering the emergence of the Romantic Fragment as a philosophical expression in the writings of Novalis (Friedrich von Hardenberg) and Friedrich Schlegel, I will examine how Fichte;s semiotic theory played a formative role in the development of the early Romantic Movement. He is the first and only idealist philosopher to establish a critical consideration of linguistics, and, though Novalis and Schlegel rejected the overtly systematic philosophy of Fichte, his theories provided a point of departure, and the movement’s poetry and philosophy began as deviations from his system. [1] The Early German Romantics’ fragment form challenged the ancient and modern notions of ideas as autonomous, contained, united, and complete. Novalis and Schlegel called into suspicion the very notion of unity and authority; originality and authorship were replaced with “Symphilosophie,” the collective and collaborative process of composing, editing, and publishing philosophical ideas. In efforts to come to a better understanding of how the fragment form emerged and the significance of its radical implications on literature and philosophical expression, I will specifically examine Novalis and Schlegel’s elaborations on and deviations from Fichte’s linguistic theories, .

[1] See the mysticism discussed in Tieck and Solger’s correspondence, A.W. Schlegel’s Viennese lectures, Friedrich Schlegel’s letters to Novalis in the winter of 1795-6, Novalis’ novel Die Lehrlinge zu Sais, and Caspar David Friedrich’s early paintings; these were in response to Fichte’s hostile dichotomy of the ego and nature.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized