Imagination in German Romanticism

Re-thinking the Self and its Environment

by Jeanne Riou (Author)
©2004 Monographs 266 Pages


In German Romanticism, the imagination is the site of the encounter between the subject and its environment; this book examines that encounter. Dealing with both literary and philosophical texts, it argues that the Romantic imagination performs a critique of rationalism. In reflecting on the fragmentary, the Romantics require the reader to both imagine and to question this as a hermeneutic process. As such, they understand writing to be an experiment in memory, both individual and cultural. This book is a study of the writings of E.T.A. Hoffmann, Novalis, Tieck and also of the utopian project of Romanticism itself. Methodologically, it is informed by what Foucault termed the archaeological approach to discourse as well as by psychoanalysis and literary theory. Examining points of contact as well of divergence between Kantian epistemology and Romantic nature philosophy, it also highlights the correspondences between literature, philosophy and science. Above all, it treats Romanticism as an experiment in the portrayal of ambivalent modern identity.


ISBN (Softcover)
Deutsch Literatur Identität (Motiv) Geschichte 1793-1830 German Romanticism Hoffmann, E.T.A. Novalis Self-identity Imagination Tieck
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2004. 266 pp.

Biographical notes

Jeanne Riou (Author)

The Author: Jeanne Riou, born in Dublin, has been a Lecturer in German at University College Dublin since 1998. She has recently edited and contributed to Netzwerke. Eine Kulturtechnik der Moderne (jointly edited with Jürgen Barkhoff and Hartmut Böhme), 2004. She has published articles on the critique of culture in Schiller, Nietzsche and Benjamin, on the aesthetics of New Technologies, on nature philosophy and rationalism in Goethe, on music as non-verbal reason in E.T.A. Hoffmann and on Grillparzer’s Der arme Spielmann.


Title: Imagination in German Romanticism