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The Daybreak and Nightfall of Literature

Friedrich Schlegel’s Idea of Romantic Literature: Between Productive Fantasy and Reflection


Veli-Matti Saarinen

This work explores the nature of Romantic literature that was about to be born in Friedrich Schlegel’s texts during the years around 1800. The main object of the study is the possibility of thinking of Romantic literature as an attempt to integrate literature and philosophy. The question that needs to be answered is the following: is it possible to see Schlegel’s idea of Romantic literature as a daybreak or nightfall between the daylight of reason and the mysteries of creation? And secondly: if it is possible to think of Romantic literature as a combination of reflection and productive fantasy, then: how should we read and treat the exemplary Romantic novel – Friedrich Schlegel’s Lucinde?
Contents: Schlegel’s idea of Romantic literature between philosophical reflection and divine creation – The nature of Schlegel’s religion of art – Schlegel’s Lucinde as an effort to integrate philosophy and literature – Romantic literature as a special light that makes the limits of the daylight of reason visible.