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MODERN LANGUAGE NOTES

VOLUME XXXV JANUARY, 1920 NUMBER 1

SCHILLER AND THE GENESIS OF ROMANTICISMI

PART I
In two papers previouslypublished in this journal1 I have
shownthat the conceptionof "Romantic" poetrywas developed
by FriedrichSchlegelas a consequenceof his preoccupationduring
his firstperiod (1793-6) with the problemof formnulating the
distinguishinag characteristicsof classical, or ancient, and of
modernart. The oestheticqualities which,afterhe had learned
to admire them, Schlegel named " Romantic,"were simplythe
qualities which he had earlier defined,and condemned,as the
attributesof das eigentiimlichModerne. During his period of
"classicism" Schlegel,as I have also pointedout, adheredto an
-esthetictheoryin whichthe (supposed) exampleof Greekpractise,
and abstract principles derived by analogy from the IKailtiani
epistemology,were curiously interwoven. Art must aim at
" objective" beauty,mustconformto aesthetic laws whichare based
upon the essentialconstitutionof the human mind as such, and
are thereforethe same for all peoples and in all ages. Modern
poetry,in its typical manifestations, is degeneratebecaLuseit is
"interessanatePoesie," that is, because it appeals to the varying
subjective"interest" of individualsor of special typesof mind;
becauseit takesforits lavoritetheme" das Charakteristische," that
is, the individual person or unique situation, rather than the
generictype; and becausein its endeavorto representthe fulhiess
and varietyof life,it forgetsthe fundamentaltruththat " all art
in limitation,"by austereadherenceto whichGreekpoetry
colnsists
had been able to achieveoestheticperfection.
1 " On the Meaning of 'Romantic' in Early German Romanticism, Pt. I,
November,1916. Pt. II, February, 1917.
1
2 iIMODERN LANGUAGE NOTES

All this is close akin to Schiller'soestheticsof the same period.


Schiller at this time, as Walzel has remarked,fully shared the
Grbkomanie forwhichhe afterwards ridiculedSchlegel; and it was
in its "objectivity" that,for him too, the superiorityof ancient
art lay.2 "Objective" beauty,thoughit dependsupon an appeal
to the sensesand requiresa sensiblemedium,is "independentof
all empiricalconditionsof sensibility,and remainsthe same even
when the subjectivecondition(Privatbeschaffenheit) of the indi-
vidual is altered. . . . It is pleasing,not to the individual,merely,
but to the species." Like the valid judgmentin the Kantian logic,
the workof art must attain " necessityand universality." "Das
Gebiet der eigentlich schonen Kunst kann sich nur so weit
erstrecken, als sich in der Verkniipfungder ErscheinungenNot-
wendigkeitentdeckenlasst." But nothingis "necessary" in the
constitution of any individualmind exceptits " genericcharacter."
The poet, therefore,must address himself exclusivelyto those
feelingswhichare uniformand commonto the race; and in order
to do this,he must,at least for the moment,striphimselfof all
that is peculiar and distinctivein his own personality. "Nur
alsdann, wenn er nicht als der oder der bestimmteMensch (in
welchemdie Gattungimmerbeschranktsein wiirde),sonderrn. wenn
er als Mensch iiberhauptempfindet, ist er gewiss, dass die ganze
Gattungihm nachempfinden werde." Schiller's 'rageagainst the
unique, the individual as such, goes so far, in this " classical"
periodof his wstheticopinions,thathe does not shrinkfromassert-
ing the singularparadox that "every individualman is the less
man, by so much as he is individual."4 And in " objective" art
the thingportrayed, a.swell as the mindof the artist,mustbe gen-
eralized,purgedof all that is specificor idiosyncratic:"in einemn
Gedichtdarf nichtswirkliche(historische)Natur sein, denn alle
Wirklichkeit ist mehroderwenigerBeschrainkung jener allgemeinen
Naturwahrheit." "
In the Briefeilberdie dsthetisclhe Erziehlungdes Menschen(pub-
lished in Die Horen in the beginningof 1795) Schiller'sposition
is in some respectsa transitionalone. But he still insistsupon
the " objectivity,"" universal validity," and immutabilityof
oestheticstandards; regards the quieting of the passions as a
2 Zerstreute Betrachtungen, usw. 1793.
3 From the review of Friedrich Matthisson's Gedichte, 1794.
4 Ibid. 5 Ibid.
THE GENESIS OF ROMANTICISM 3

criterionof beauty; reiteratesthe already familiarthesis of the


"disinterestedness"of oestheticenijoyment;denies estheticvalue
to "didactic" or "philosophical" poetry;definesthe creationor
perceptionof beauty as at once completefreedomand rigorous
subjectionto law; *characterizes art as a kind of "play"; and
assignsto the Greeksthe rank of " suprememasters" in art. In
makingthe "cesthetic" result fromthe interactiouof two anti-
theticelementsor impulsionsin the human mind,the sinnlicher
Trieb or Stofftiieband the Formtrteb,Schiller again was merely
devisinga terminology of his own to expressan antithesiswhich
was prominentin Schlegel'searly estheticessays. The Stofftrieb
has "life in the widestsen-seforits object" and causes the artist
to seek " the most many-sidedcontact with the world."6 The
Forimtrieb " seeksunityand permanence " ratherthan fullnessand
varietyof content;it " imposesharmonyupon the diversityof the
manifestationis of man's nature"; it gives laws which are not
subjectto change,and is the sourceof all "necessityand univer-
sality" in our judgmentsof whateversort. Just so did Schlegel
contrastthe cravingfor Stoif,whichhe coniceived to be the weak-
ness of moderntaste,withthe predomin-ance of the sen-seof form
in Greek art: "Inm Grundevollig gleichgiiltiggegen alle Form.
und nur voll unersattlichen Durstesnach Stoff,verlangtauch das
feilierePublikum von dem Kiinstler nichtsals interessantemndi-
vidualitat." 7

Schiller,its is true,alreadyregardedbotlhthese " impulsions"


as necessaryin any valid operationof the mind,whetherit be a
logical judgmentor an act of oestheticcreationor appreciation.
Arguingas he did fromthe analogyof Kant's theoryof knowledge,
he was, of course,pre-committed to this view. There are, he
observes,two extremesin esthetictheory,bothfaultyin theirone-
sidedness. There are thosewho " fearto rob beautyof its freedom
by a too severe analysis"; but these fail to reflect"that the
freedomin whichtheyare entirelyrightin placing the essenceof
beautyis not lawlessness,but a harmonyof laws, not capricebut
the highestinternal necessity." There are, on the other hand,
thosewho " fearlest througha too bold inclusiveness, the distinct-
ness of the coinceptof beautymaybe destroyed "; theseforgetthat
" this distinctnessof beauty which they are equally right in
6 Letter 13.
7Ueber das Studium usw.; Minor, Jugendschiiften,i, 91.
4 MODERN LANGUAGE NOTES

demanding,consists,not in the exclusionof certainrealities,but


in theabsoluteinclusionof all; so thatit is notlimitation(Begren-
zung) but infinitude." This seems a negationof the maxim in
whichSchlegelsummedup the essenceof classicism:alle Kunst ist
beschra1nkt.But for Schiller,too, in point of fact, " form" is
still the paramountconsiderationin art: " nur von der Form ist
wahre asthetischeFreiheit zu erwarten. Darin also bestehtdas
eigentlicheKunstgeheimi.iis des AMeisters, dass er den Stoffdurch
die Form vertilgt."9
Thus throughoutthe firsthalf of the seveenteen-nineties Schiller
and FriedrichSchlegel,in spiteof minordifferences, employedthe
same generalcategoriesin theirreflection upon cestheticquestions
and adheredto the same typeof estheticdoctrine-to a doctrine
characterized by an insistenceupon " objective" aesthetic standards,
by a convictionof the priority of " form " over " content,'?of unity
over expressiveness, in art, and by a belief in the superiority of
ancient art, as the most adequate realization of these standards.
Meanwhile there were at work in Fr. Schlegel's thoughtfroni
the firsttwo forceswhichbecame powerfulpredisposingcauses of
his eventualconversion fromthe " classical" to theRomanticideal.
The firstof thesewas theinfluenceuponhimof theveryphilosophy
fromwhichhe and Schiller had derivedthe principaltheoretical
justificationfor their classicism. That justification,as I have
pointedout, consistedlargelyin a transferto the fieldof aesthetics
of certain conceptionsand categorieswhich they had found in
Kant's epistemology.But therewas a curiousdualityabout the
Kantian influence;it ten(dedin twoquite oppositedirections. An
oesthetics constructedout of analogies taken fromthe theoretical
philosophyof Kant, and fromone portionof his moralphilosophy,
would,indeed,seekto confineart withinthe strait-jacket of " laws
of universalvalidity,"uniformfor all peoples and all times,and
to attainthisuniformity by the avoidanceof all themesand moods
whichare " characteristic," i. e., individualor local or peculiarto
a specialhistoricalsituation. But therewas anotherpart of Kant's
ethics which suggested,by analogy,a verydifferent standardof
aestheticvalues. In its finalformulation, the categoricalimperative
is representedby Kant as an ideal capable,notof actual realization,
but onlyof an endlesslyprogressiveapproximation.
8Letter 18. 9 Letter 22.
TITE GENESIS OF ROMANTICISM 5

The object of a will that is capable of being determinedby the


ml-oral
law is theproductionin theworldof thehighestgood. Now,
the supremeconditionof the highestgood is the perfectharmony
of the dispositionwiththe moral law . . .-a perfectionof which
no rationalbeing existingin the worldof sense is capable at any
imioment of his life. . . . Since, nevertheless,
such a harmony is
morallyrequiredof us, . . . the pure practicalreasonforcesus to
assume a practical progresstowardsit, in infinitum, as the real
objectof our will. . . . A finiterationalbeingis capable onlyof an
infiniteprogressfromlowerto higherstagesof moralperfection.10

Fichte had, by 1794, convertedtnis Kantian conceptionof the


moral ideal as an endless pursuitof a foreverunattainablegoal
into a metaphysicalprinciple,and had represented the verynature
of all existenceas an infiniteand insatiablestrivingof the Absolute
Ego, wherebyit firstsets up the externalworld as an obstacleto
its own activity,and then graduallybut endlesslytriumphsover
this obstacle. The notion of infinitythus took precedencein
philosophyoverthat of the finiteand determinate, the categoryof
Becomingover that of Being, the ideal of activityover that of
achieved completion,the mood of endless longing over that of
quietudeand collectednessof mind.
Now, this Kantian principle,when transferred fromethics to
aesthetics,was obviouslyirreconcilable withthosecriticalstandards
whichwere of the essenceof the young Schlegel's "classicism";
it impliedthatthe " laws ofbeauty" are relativeand variablefrom
age to age,ancdthatart is subjectto a continuousevolution. What,
therefore, we finidin his estheticwritingsfromthe beginningis a
conflictbetweenthe two tendencies,both alike chieflyKantian in
theirorigin-a conflictin whichtheideal of classical" objectivity "
at firsthas on thewholethe upperhand,but onlyprecariouslyand
by means of palpable inconsistencies. In what is probablythe
earliestof Schlegel'sattemptsto definethe essenceof classical and
of moderniculture (lVom Wert des Stutdiumsder Griechenund
Romer,1794) we alreadyfindhim attempting to " explainancient
history by means of a theory based .upon the most recentphilos-
ophy,"i. e., upon theKantian. Thereare,he observes,twvo possible
ways of conceivingthe general courseof history-as a movement
whichreturn-s upon itselfin repeatedcycles,or as an endlessand
unceasingprogression. The firstof theseconceptions, the System
10 Kritik der praktischen Vernutnft,
219-221.
6 MODERN LANGUAGE NOTES

des Kreislaufes,satisfiesthe betterthe demanidsof what Kant


called thetheoreticalreason; it does so, Schlegelapparenltly means,
becauseit alone enablesus to conceiveof the contentof history,in
Kantian terms,as a "completed syn.thesis," as a genuine unity.
But " the onlyway of representing historywhichwould satisfythe
practical reason," with its necessityfor seeking a perpetually
nearerapproachto an unattainableperfection, is the Systemder
unendlichenFortschreitung.Thus, upon Kantian principles," it
is manifesta priori that there must exist two typesof culture,
accordingas the representative facultyor the conativefaculty(das
vorstellende oderdas strebendeVerm6gen)is primaryanidprepon-
derant: a natural and an artificialculture; that the formermutst
come firstin time,and is a necessaryantecedentto the latter; anid
thattneSystemdes Kr-eislaufes is possibleonlyin the niaturaltype
of culture,the System der unendlichen Fortschreititng onlyin the
artificialtype."""
Thus the culture of the ancients is based upon the former,
moderncultureupon the latter,conceptioni of the historicprocess.
The underlyingcommonfactorin the civilizationof the Greeks
and Romans,the thing whichgives un-ityto theirhistory,is the
manifoldinfluenceupon theirthoughtand life of the Systemdes
Kreislaufes,in otherwords,of the assumptionthat no continuous
forwardmovement,in any provinceof human activity,is to be
expectedor desired. This, "more or less definitely expressed,was
not onlythe view of the greatestGreekand Romanhistorians,but
was also the universalmodeof thoughtof the people whicherred
onlyin this,that it regardedthe outcomeof theirown historvas
havinguniversalvalidity,as if it werethe outcomeof the history
of all mankind." The circularityof ancientcivilizationis shown,
amongotherways,by its inevitabledecline. Having a finitegoal,
it was able to attainthatgoal completely;but afterit had done so,
it could changeonlyforthe worse.
Since moderncivilizationis, on the otherhand, informedby a
whollydifTerent conceptionof history,its art and all the other
nanifestationis spirit caninotand should not be
of its distinctiv.e
11 I accept Walzel's identificationof the version of this essay printed by

him in DNIL, 143, with the original text, though the possibility that this
version may represent one of the two later revisions does not seem to me
to be absolutely excluded. The internal evidence, however, is on the whole
in favor of the earlier date.
THE GENESIS OF ROMANTICISM 7

mere attemptsto reproducethe alien excellenceattained by the


ancients. We moderns"must learn tha-tit is not our vocationto
live wie Bettler-von den Almosender Vorwelt." Every age, like
everyindividual,is an end in itself,and has " an unalienableright
to be itself." "Through the satisfactionof the demandsof the
practicalreason,which alone determinesthe directionof modern
culture,the power and perfectionof ancient culture gains its
highestworth; and if our historymust remain-ever uncompleted,
our goal unattained,our strivingunsatisfied,yet is our goal
infinitelygreat." This has the air not only of a declarationof
independenceof " classical" standards,but even of a bold procla-
mationof the superiorityof the aestheticand moral ideals of the
modernworld. Yet the greaterpart of the essayis rathera glori-
ficationof the ancients. "The studyof the Greeksand Romans
is a school of the great, the good, the noble, the beautiful,o-f
humanity;fromit we may regain free abundance,living power,
unity,balance, harmony,completeness, which the still crude art
of modern culture has belittled,mutilated,confused,deranged,
dismemberedand destroyed." " The most eminent Greeks andl
Romans of the best period are a sort of supermen(wie Wesen
iibermenschlicher Art), men in the highescstyle."12 Here, manli-
festly,is a doctrineimperfectly at unitywithitself,a Grdkomnanie
whichis tryingto keep house with its own negation. If modern
art has a fundamentallydifferent meaniingand ideal, it was an
obvious inconsistencyto demand that the modernartist should
gain his inspirationfromancielntmodels: and if the modernideal
of unendlicheVervolllcommnung is the higher,not even the best
embodiments of a distinctively"classical" culturecould properly
he regardedas exemplifying the full possibilitiesof humannature.
The same unstableequilibriumin Schlegel's standardsis illus-
tratedin alnotherof his essays,of aboutthe same date,whichdeals
more specificallywith aestheticquestions (Uber die Grenzendes
12
Cf. also the following (op. cit.,p. 263): " In der Gescliichteder Grieclien
und Romer sinid die Stufen der Bildung ganz bestimmt, die reinen Arten
entschieden und vollkommen,das Einzelne so ktihn und vollendet, dass es
das Ideal seinerArt, der Griecheder MenschKa-' 'E<oX?)v ist, die Griin-de
einfach, die Ordnung fliessend, die Massen gross und einfach, das Ganze
vollstiindig. Sie ist der Kommentar der Philosophie, der ewige Ksodex dles
menschlichen Gemiits, eine Nattrgeschiichitedes sittlichemtund geistigemw
Menschen.
S MODERN LANGUAGE NOTES

Sch6nen). While,here too, the superiorityof the poetryof the


ancientsis emphaticallyasserted,and while the classical ideal,
with its insistenceupon form,measure, restraint,the Delphic
Mrq8fv ayav, both in art and conduct,is extolled,it is nevertheless
also remarkedthat classical art,sinceits excellencewas ratherthe
result of instinct thain of reflectiveinsight, was not merely
incapable of progress,but was predestinedto aberration and
degenierationi. The verydefectsof modernart,on the otherhan(l.
are the groundof hope, unsereMdngel sind unsereHoffnungen;
forthosedefectsarise fromthe predominancein it of man's self-
collscious intelligence(Verstand), " dessenzwar langsameVervoll-
komnnm-uLig gar keine Schrankenkennt." And when this faculty
"has accomprlished its task of assuringto mankinda permaneilt
basis and givilngto it an unchangeabledirection,therewill thenbe
no more occasion to doubt whetherman's historyis foreverto
returnupoln itselflike a circle, or is endlesslyto progressfrom
betterto better." The whole essay leaves a singularlyconfused
impressionupon the reader; forthe authorseemsunable to decide
betweenthe two oestheticideals which alternatelypresentthem-
selvesto his mind. He craves,in fact,bothachievedperfection anld
the potentiality of progress,bothininerharmonyand unappeasable
self-dissatisfaction; and since modernart by its very essence,as
he conceivesit, lacks the oinetype of excellence,and ancient art
laclksthe other,he seems unable to pronouncedefinitely in favor
of either.
What, amid these waveriligsand inconsistelicies, it is, for our
presenitpurpose,imiiportanit to niotein the early writingsof Fr.
Schlegel is that they contain ideas (along with theit opposites)
whichcloselyapproximatecertainof the characteristic conceptions
of Schiller'slateressay Ubernaive un,dsentimentalische Dichtung.
In themalreadywe findthe followingantitheses,each pair being
parallelto, or correlativewith,all of the others:
KlassischeKunst-moderne Kunst
NatiirlicheBildung-kiinstlicheBildung
VorstellendesVerm6gen-strebendesVerm'ogen
Systemdes Kreislaufes Systemder unendlichenFortschreitung.15
13First published in De} nete Teutsche Merkur, May, 1795; Minor,
Jugendschriften,pp. 21-27.
14
Jugendschrif ten, I, 22.
15 It is also to be remarked that Schlegel already saw in the introduction
THE GENESIS OF ROMIANTICISAM 9

The seconcdforce which drove Schlegel towardshis later, or


Romantic,positionineed onlybe mentionedhere,as I have already
called attentioni to it in one of the paperspreviouslypublished. It
was theinfluenceof a qualityof his ownnaturaltasteand tempera-
ment. Howvever much,under compulsionof the theoryto which
he was committed,he mightdeplorethe modernworld's craving
for" content,"for "the interesting," for"the characteristic " and
individuated,and its relativeindifference to the laws of pure form,
it was nonietheless truethatin his naturewhat Schillerhad called
the Stofftrieb was exceedinglypowerful,not to say preponderant.
His curiosityaboutlifeand humannaturewas fartookeento make
it likelythathe wouldbe permanently contentwitha theoryof art
-whichrequiredthe poet to portrayonly generAlizedtypes,and
forbadehim to let any disclosureof his ownpersonalitvor his own
moodslip intohis compositions.One example,amongmanywhicl
mightbe cited, of this inner inconigruity betweenthe temperof
FriedrichSchlegel's mind and his early aesthetictheory,may be
seen in his essay " On the Female Charactersin GreekPoetry."
While insistingthat the Greekpoets were true to the principles
of finieart in refrainingfromthe attemptto paint with portrait-
like detail " interesting men and womenas individuals,"Schlegel
cannotforbearto lamentthat no such individualizedand realistic
portraitsof Greekcharacterhave comedownto us.16
Schlegel's Romanticdoctrineof art, theni,was alreadyimplicit
in thesetwo characteristics of his firstperiod: (a) in the implica-
tionof the anialogyfromthleKantian ethicsto oesthetics, viz.,that
art shouldbe characterized by a constant enlargement of its boun-
daries and an endlessprogressioni towardsanlunattainablyremote
icleal,ratherthan by any definiteperfectionof formattainableby
adheringto immutablelawvsand narrowlimitationsof aim; and
(b) in his temperamentaladmirationfor such a poet as Shake-
speareanidhis strongthoughsuppresseddesirefor a poetrywhich,
imitatingShakespeare,shouldtake all of life forits province,and
make the abundanceancdfidelityof its expressionof life the sole
of Christianity the prime cause of that change of ideals and of conceptions
of the historic process which differentiatesmodern from classical art. But
this is a subject that calls for separate treatment. Cf. Vom Wert des
Studiums der Griechen und R6mer, in DNL, 143, p. 261, and Jugend-
schiriften, i, 9P9; II, 42.
16Jugendschrtf ten, i, 39.
10 MODERN LANGUAGE NOTES

criterionof artisticsuccess. Yet Schlegel,until 1796,neverwholly


yieldedto thistemperamental inclinationand neverrecognizedthe
full consequencesof the Kantian analogyor its inconsistency with
his classicismand his standardsof objektiveSch6nheit. On the
contrary, in his long disquisition" On the Studyof GreekPoetry,"
completedin 1795, his " Objektivitatswut," his rage against the
aberrationsof the moderns,his reverencefor" the a pi-iorilaws of
pure beauty,"his convictionthatpoetrycan be trueto its vocation
only by the most rigorouslimitationof the range of its themes
and of its methods-all these seem strongerthan ever. Some
impulsionfromwithoutwas necessaryto enable him to take the
one step fartherwhich was requiredby the concessionshe hlad
alreadymade,aridso to pass definitely to the positionto whichhe
was to give the name " Romantic."
In anotherinstalmentof this studyI shall presentthe evidence
whichshowsconclusivelythat this impulsioncame fromSchiller's
essay "Uber naive und sentimentalische Dichtung,"especiallythe
secondpart of it, publishedin Die Horen in December,1795. But
I shall at the same time attemptto make clear the preciselogical
relationbetweenSchiller's conceptionof " sentimentalische Dich-
tung" and Schlegel's ideal of "romantischePoesie "-a relation
in whichthereis evenmoreof difference than of similarity.

ARTHUR 0. LOVEJOY.
Johns Hopkins Universitu.

UN " ROUSS,EAUISTE " EN AMRRIQUE


(L'Abeille Francaise, de JosephNancrede)
C'est 'a l'Universitedu Vermont,a Burlington,que nous aTons
mis la main un jour sur L'Abeille FranCaise,de Nancrede,un
ouvragerareet interessanta plus d'un pointde vue. D'abord,c'est
sans doutele premierlivre de Classefrancaiscomposespecialemenat
?q l'usage des ecoles americaines-plus specifiquement pour les
etudiantsde Harvard. Ensuite,il est d'un
I'ceuvre de ces nombreux
Frangais,qui, aux jours de la Revolution,passerentF'ocean,soit
commerefugi's politiques,soit comme soldats; Nancrede est ul)
espritparent de celui de Moreau de Saint-Merydont nous avons