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Romanticizing Nature and the Self

Romanticizing Nature and the Self

Chapter:
(p.48) Chapter Three Romanticizing Nature and the Self
Source:
The Romantic Absolute
Author(s):
Dalia Nassar
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226084237.003.0004

This chapter offers a discussion of Novalis’ philosophy of nature, and his parallel concern with education and moral development. It argues that in both instances, Novalis is concerned with “romanticizing” the world— whether it be through discerning the ideal in the real (nature), or instantiating the ideal through moral action— and argues that, for Novalis, understanding nature and undertaking moral action are interdependent activities. The chapter offers a detailed account of Novalis’ turn to the study of nature in 1797-98, demonstrates the significance and influence of Goethe on Novalis’ scientific practice, in particular, Goethe’s use of imagination in his study of nature. It then moves to explore Novalis’ notion of moral harmony, and shows that for Novalis, the activity of nature remains incomplete without moral activity.

Keywords:   Friedrich von Hardenberg, Goethe, romantic science, Goethe’s science, romantic novel, romanticism, Romanticizing, German romanticism, Naturphilosophie, history of philosophy

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