Show Less
Restricted access

Mythology of Souls

Philosophical Perspectives in the Novels of Jean Paul


Robert Eisenhauer

The works of Jean Paul (Johann Paul Friedrich Richter, 1763-1825) combined the idealism of Fichte with the sentimentality of the Sturm und Drang movement. In this study the relation between Jean Paul and 18th-century philosophy is described as dialogical in the sense that the author's statements concerning aesthetics, ethics, and religion take the form of appeals and responses to other philosophical texts. Three of his novels, Unsichtbare Loge, Hesperus, and Titan, are involved not only with the representation of quasi-fictive worlds, but also with the ironic reinscription of philosophemes from such sources as Herder, Jacobi, Platner, and Fichte. This inquiry into Jean Paul's «Seelen-Mythologie» and its problematic depiction of symbolic individuals takes into account the theory of the sublime and the «beautiful soul» which emerged during the enlightenment.
Contents: I. Introduction to «Seelen-Mythologie» - II. «Seelen-Mythologie» as Theory: Aesthetics and Immortality - III. Twilight of the Beautiful Soul - IV. From the Effaced Character to the Unsichtbare Loge - V. Hesperus - VI. Titan - Conclusion.