From the System of Fragments to the Romantic Novel
This chapter investigates Schlegel’s notion of fragment and explicates the way in which Schlegel employed the metaphor of the plant to construct his ideal of a “system of fragments.” In opposition to the widespread interpretation of Schlegel’s conception of the fragment, it argues that although the fragment resists closure, this does not imply that fragments are in a state of infinite struggle or contradiction. By contrast, the chapter illustrates that Schlegel’s goal was to construct a system in which the fragments form a harmonizing whole, which he likens to the unity in a work of music. The chapter concludes with an exploration of the relation between natural and artistic products, through an investigation of Schlegel’s notion of an encyclopedia and his novel, Lucinde.
Keywords: Friedrich Schlegel, German romanticism, romantic novel, romantic fragment, romantic poetry, transcendental philosophy, system of fragments, history of philosophy, Lucinde, romantic encyclopedia