E essay was the last text ever published in athenäum

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e essay was the last text ever published in Athenäum -magazine. Its intention was to teach the future readers in the approaching nineteenth century to interpret the metaphorical language of early Romanticism. 60 For example Manfred Frank and Ludwig Stockinger have recognized the problem, but an overall interpretation of this theme remains to be done. See Stockinger 1988, pp. 189, 191, 205; Frank 1989, p. 292; Frank 1998, pp. 19–20, 932, 935. On censorship in the eighteenth century in general see Plachta 1994. 61 Strauss [1952] 1988, pp. 30–33. 62 KFSA II, pp. 363–372. See Schumacher 2000, pp. 157–255, especially pp. 162–163, 176–181, 185–186, 190, 199, 203–207. 97
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Asko Nivala Schlegel believed rmly that although the magazine was misunderstood, people would learn to read it in the future: Another ground for consolation as regards the generally recognized unin- telligibility of the Athenäum … the problem will be temporary. e new age is heralding itself as eet of foot and winged of sole; the dawn has put on seven-league boots. … en the nineteenth century will indeed begin, and then every little mystery regarding the unintelligibility of the Athenäum will be solved. What a catastrophe! en there will be readers who know how to read. In the nineteenth century everyone will be able to enjoy the fragments with ease and pleasure in the after-dinner hours, and will not need a nutcracker even for the hardest, most indigestible one. 63 Schlegel had con dence that the new century would bring di erent so- cial conditions in which the literature of Jena Romanticism could be understood. His optimism concerning the potential competence of the general public challenged his contemporaries’ notion of Romantics as elitist authors, albeit Schlegel clearly regarded the Jena circle as a vanguard of the new century. He associated the nineteenth century with winged- sandalled Hermes, who was the great messenger of gods, the inventor of writing and the patron of literature. One may justi ably consider ‘On Incomprehensibility’ as a hermeneutic programme. Together with his friend Friedrich Schleiermacher, Schlegel contributed to the foundation of modern philosophical hermeneutics. 64 A key section of the essay ‘On Incomprehensibility’ is Schlegel’s inter- pretation of the widely known Athenäum -fragment no. 216. e fragment de ned the most important tendencies of his era. He rst cited the frag- ment: e French Revolution, Fichte’s Science of Knowledge , and Goethe’s Meister are the major tendencies of the age. Whoever takes o ense at this combina- tion, whoever cannot appreciate a revolution that is not loud and material, has not yet raised himself to the lofty, expansive view of the history of hu- manity. Even in our impoverished cultural histories – which, accompanied by a running commentary, generally resemble a collection of variants on a classical text that itself was lost – many a small book to which the noisy 63 (My ellipsis.) Schlegel [1800] 1997, p. 126; KFSA II, pp. 370–371.
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  • Fall '15
  • Duran
  • History, cultural history

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