Novalis_paper - The Romantic Experience(GM067 Professor...

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The Romantic Experience (GM067) Professor Eykman February 6, 2008 Symbolism of Night versus Light in “Hymns to Night” Novalis presents myriad symbolism for both Light and Night throughout his work “Hymns to Night.” However, while his overall perception of Night generally stays the same, his feelings towards Light change multiple times. Night symbolizes death, the afterlife, Heaven, and God. Although this may appear to be a broad range of symbolism, these elements are connected with one another, and remain consistent throughout the work. On the other hand, Light, in connection to day, is first a life-giving force, but eventually becomes painful and monotonous, as it is the force that keeps Novalis away from his beloved Sophie. Novalis focuses on his love and longing for Night throughout “Hymns to the Night” as he expresses his sorrow over the loss of his fiancée. His descriptions and symbolism of Night ordinarily would have dark, negative connotations, such as death and the afterlife, but Novalis presents Night in a way that shows true admiration for it. He describes Night as “holy, ineffable, [and] mysterious,” and uses phrases like “sunk in a deep grave” (I) when first introducing the idea of Night in his work. Clearly, Novalis is depressed, and asks “in drops of dew let me sink down and mix with the ashes,” (I) a request, directed at “Night,” that points to a longing for death. However, when considered in the context of the whole work, these are not suicidal wishes for immediate departure from life, but a desire to be reunited with his recently dead fiancée. Novalis understands that he must wake to face Light everyday until he is taken from the earth, as expressed toward the end of the work when he says “willingly will I bestir myself…praise your splendor’s full glory…gladly follow the meaningful course of your gigantic, luminous clock…”
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(IV). Through his imagery of death in talking to the Night, Novalis symbolizes death with Night.
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Novalis_paper - The Romantic Experience(GM067 Professor...

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