Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg (2 May 1772 – 25 March 1801), better known by the pseudonym Novalis, was an 18th-century German aristocrat, poet, author, mystic, and philosopher of Early German Romanticism. Hardenberg's professional work and university background, namely his study of mineralogy and management of salt mines in Saxony, was often ignored by his contemporary readers. The first studies showing important relations between his literary and professional works started in the 1960s.

Novalis (1799), portrait by Franz Gareis
Novalis (1799), portrait by Franz Gareis
BornGeorg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg
(1772-05-02)2 May 1772
Died25 March 1801(1801-03-25) (aged 28)
Weissenfels, Electorate of Saxony
Pen nameNovalis
OccupationProse writer, poet, mystic, philosopher, civil engineer, mineralogist
Alma materUniversity of Jena
Leipzig University
University of Wittenberg
Mining Academy of Freiberg
Literary movementJena Romanticism[1]



Birth and Early BackgroundEdit

Novalis, who was baptized as Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr (Baron) von Hardenberg, was born in 1772 at his family estate, the Schloss Oberwiederstedt, in the village of Wiederstedt,[2]:24 which is now located in the present-day town of Arstein. Hardenberg descended from ancient, Lower Saxon nobility. Novalis' father was Heinrich Ulrich Erasmus Freiherr (Baron) von Hardenberg, the estate owner and a salt-mine manager, his mother was Auguste Bernhardine (née von Böltzig), who was Heinrich's second wife. Novalis was the second of eleven children.[3]:5–7 Although Novalis had an aristocratic background, his family was not wealthy.[4]

Novalis's early education was strongly influenced by pietism. His father was a member of the Herrnhuter Unity of Brethren branch of the Moravian Church,[5] who maintained a strict pietist household. Until the age of nine, he was taught by private tutors who were trained pietist theology; subsequently, he attended a Herrnhut school in Neudietendorf for three years.[3]:6–7.

Coat-of-arms of the Hardenberg family

When he was twelve, Novalis was put under the charge of his uncle Friedrich Wilhelm Freiherr von Hardenberg, who lived at his rural estate in Lucklum.[2]:26 Novalis's uncle introduced him to the late Rococo world, where Novalis was exposed to enlightenment ideas as well as the contemporary literature of his time, including the works of the French Encyclopedists, Goethe, Lessing and Shakespeare.[3]:8 At seventeen, Novalis attended the Martin Luther Gymnasium in Eisleben, near Weissenfels where his family had moved in 1785. At the gymnasium, learned rhetoric and ancient literature.[2]:26

Jena, Leipzig, Wittenberg: Legal StudiesEdit

Between 1790 and 1794, Novalis went to university to study law. He first attended Jena. While at Jena, he studied Immanuel Kant's philosophy under Karl Reinhold,[1] and it was there that he first became acquainted with Fichte's philosophy.[2]:27 He also formed a close relationship with playwright and philosopher Schiller. Novalis attended Schiller's lectures on history [3]:11 and tended to him when Schiller suffering from a particularly severe flare-up of his chronic tuberculosis.[6] In 1791, he published his first work, a poem dedicated to Schiller "Klagen eines Jünglings" ("Lament of a Youth") in the magazine Neue Teutsche Merkur, an act that encouraged Novalis's father to withdraw him from Jena and consider another university where Novalis would attend more carefully to his studies.[7] In the following year, Novalis's younger brother, Erasmus enrolled in Leipzig, and Novalis went with him to continue his legal studies. It as at this time that he met the literary Friedrich Schlegel, the younger brother of August.[3]:13 Friedrich became one of Novalis' closest life-time friends.[8] A year later, Novalis matriculated to Wittenberg where completed his law degree.[9]

Tennstedt: Relationship with Sophie von KühnEdit

After graduating from Wittenberg, Novalis moved to Tennstedt to work as an actuary for Cölestin August Just, who became both his friend and biographer.[2] While working for Just in 1795, Novalis met the 12-year-old Sophie von Kühn, who at that time was considered old enough to receive suitors. [10]:17 He became infatuated with her on their first meeting, and the effect of this infatuation appeared to transform his personality.[3]:19 In 1795, two days before Sophie turned thirteen they got secretly engaged. Later that year Sophie's parents gave their consent for the two to become engaged,[11]:128 Novalis's brother Erasmus supported the couple, but the rest of Novalis's family resisted agreeing to the engagement due to Sophie's unclear aristocratic pedigree.[10]:25

Novalis remained intellectually active during his employment at Tennstedt. It is possible that Novalis met Fichte, as well as the poet Friedrich Hölderlin, in person while visiting Jena in 1795.[12] Between 1795 and 1796, he created six set of manuscripts, posthumously collected under the title Fichte Studies, that primarily address Fichte's work but cover a range of philosophical topics.[13] Novalis's ongoing reflections upon Fichte's ideas, particularly those in the Wissenshaftlehre (Foundations of the Science of Knowledge ) formed part of the foundation for his later philosophical and literary works, [14] Novalis's focused on Fichte's argument that the concept of identity assumes a tension between self (i.e., I) and object (i.e., not-I)[15] Novalis's critique of this argument expressed his literary commitments[16]: Novalis critiques this tension as arising from language and imagination.[17] Later, Novalis would come to see the tension in identity as a dynamic process of equal partners in mutual communication, summarized in Novalis's aphorism Statt Nicht-I du (Instead of not-I, you)[15]

In the final months of 1795, Sophie began to suffer declining health due to a liver tumor.[18] As a result she underwent liver surgery in Jena, which was performed without anesthesia.[10]:24 In January 1797, Novalis was appointed auditor to the salt works at Weissenfells. To earn a stable income for his marriage, he accepted the position and moved to Weissenfells to assume his duties. Sophie, on the other hand, stayed with her family.[2]:31 Sophie once more became extremely ill, during which time Novalis's parents finally relented and agreed to the couple's engagement. However, two days after her fifteenth birthday, Sophie died, while Novalis was still in Weissenfells. Four months later, Novalis's brother also died from a prolonged illness.[10]:24–25 The death of Sophie, as well as his younger brother, affected Novalis deeply. Their deaths catalyzed his more intensive commitment to poetic expression.[10]:1–2 Sophie's death also became the central inspiration for one the few works Novalis published in his life time, the Hymnen an die Nacht (Hymns to the Night)[19]

Freiberg: The Mining AcademyEdit

At the end of 1797, Novalis entered the Mining Academy of Freiberg in Saxony to become qualified to become part of the staff for the salt works at Weissenfels. His principle mentor at the academy was the geologist, Abraham Warner.[2]:49 In his studies, Novalis immersed himself in a wide range of studies, including electricity, galvanism, alchemy, medicine, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and natural philosophy.[20] He was also able to expand his intellectual social circle. He became acquainted with Friedrich Schelling while enroute to Freiburg and later joined him to tour the art of Dresden, he visited Goethe and Friedrich Schlegel's older brother, August, in Weimar, and met Jean Paul in Leipzig. [3]:27.

Novalis house plaque, Freiberg.

In December 1798, Novalis became engaged for the second time. His fiancée was Julie von Charpentier, a daughter of a daughter of Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Toussaint von Charpentier, the chair of mining studies at Leipzig University.[2]:41 Unlike Sophie, Novalis's affection for Julie developed more gradually. He initially saw his affection for Julie as a more "earthly" passion compared to his "heavenly" passion for Sophie, but gradually he softened this distinction, and eventually his feelings for Julie became the subject of some of his poetry, including parts of his Spiritual Songs that were written in the last years of his life.[21] Novalis and Julie remained engaged until Novalis's death in 1801, and she tended him during his final illness.[2]:43

In Freiberg, he remained active with his literary work. It was at this time that he began a collection of notes for a project to unite the separate sciences into a universal whole[22] In this collection, Das allgemeine Brouillon (Notes for a General Encyclopedia). Novalis began integrating his knowledge of natural science into his literary work. This integration can be seen in an unfinished novel he composed during this time, Die Lehrlinge zu Sais (The Novices of Sais), which incorporated natural history from his studies as well as ideas from his Fichte studies into a meditation of poetry and love as keys to understanding nature.[23] More specifically, he began thinking about how to incorporate his recently acquired knowledge of mining to his philosophical and poetic worldview. In this respect, he shared a commonality with other German authors of the Romantic age by connecting his studies in the mining industry, which was undergoing then the first steps to industrialization, with his literary work.[24] This connection between his scientific interest in mining, philosophy and literature came to fruition a few years later when he began composing his second unfinished novel, Heinrich von Ofterdingen.[25]

Novalis's grave in Weissenfels

Novalis also began to be noticed as a published author at this time. In 1798, Novalis his "fragments" appeared in the Schlegel brother's magazine, Athenaeum. These works included Blüthenstaub (Pollen) Glauben und Liebe oder Der König und die Königin (Faith and Love or the King and the Queen), and Blumen (Flowers).[5]. The publication of Pollen saw the first appearance of his pen name, "Novalis". His choice of pen name was taken from his 12th-century ancestors who named themselves de Novali, after their settlement Grossenrode, or magna Novalis.[26] Novalis can also be interpreted as "one who cultivates new land", which connotes the metaphoric role that Novalis saw for himself.[10]:7. This metaphoric sense of his pen name can be seen in the prefatory fragment of Pollen, the first work he published as Novalis: "Friends, the soil is poor, we must scatter seed abundantly for even a moderate harvest".[27]

Weissenfels: The final yearsEdit

In early 1799, Novalis had completed his studies at Leipzig and returned to the management of salt mines in Weissenfels. [3]:29–30 By December, he became an assessor of the salt mines and a director, and at the end of 1800, twenty-eight-year-old Novalis was appointed an Amtmann for district of Thuringia, [2]:42 a position comparable to a contemporary magistrate.

While on a trip to Jena in the summer of 1799, Novalis met Ludwig Tieck, who became one of his closest friends and greatest intellectual influences in the last two years of his life.[3]:30–34 They became part of an informal social circle that formed around the Schlegel brothers, which has been come to be known as the Frühromantiker ("early romantics") or Jena Romantics.[28] The interests of the Frühromantiker extended to philosophy as well literature and aesthetics,[29] and has been considered as own philosophical movement in its own right.[30] Under the influence of Tieck, Novalis studied the works of the seventeenth-century mystic, Jakob Böhme, with whom he felt a strong affinity.[31] He also became deeply engaged with the Platonic aesthetics of the writer Frans Hemsterhuis[32] and the theologian and philosopher Friedrich Schleiermacher.[3]:32 Schleiermacher's work inspired Novalis to write his essay, Christenheit oder Europe (Christianity or Europe), [33] a call for a universal church to return cultural and social unity whose interpretation continues to be a source of controversy.[34] During this time, he also wrote his poems known as Geistliche Lieder (Spiritual Songs)[5] and began his novel Heinrich von Ofterdingen.[11]

From August 1800, Novalis began to show the symptoms of tuberculosis. After a severe hemorrhage in November, he was temporarily moved to Dresden. In January, he requested to be with his parents in Weissenfels. He died there on March. 25 1801 at the age of twenty-nine.[11] He was buried in Weissenfels's Alter Friedhof (Old Cemetery).


As romantic poetEdit

When he died, Novalis had only published Pollen, Faith and Love, Blumen, and Hymns to the Night. Most of Novalis's writings, including his novels and philosophical, were neither completed nor published in his lifetime. This problem continues to obscure a full appreciation of his work.[35] His unfinished novels Heinrich von Ofterdingen and The Novices at Sais, his political speech Christendom or Europa, and numerous other notes and fragments were published posthumously by Ludwig Tieck and Friedrich Schlegel. The original publication of his more philosophical working notes was disorganized and incomplete; a systematic and relatively complete collection of Novalis's work was not available until the twentieth century.[18]

During the nineteenth century, Novalis was primarily seen as a passionate love-struck poet whose mourned the death of his beloved and yearned for the hereafter.[36] Even his fellow Jena Romantics, such as Friedrich Schlegel, Tieck, and Schleiermacher, describe him as a poet who dream of a spiritual world beyond this one.[37] This image of Novalis became enormously popular. When his biography by his long-time friend August Cölestin Just was published in 1815 mentioning that Novalis was a hard-working mine inspector and magistrate he was critiqued for misrepresenting Novalis.[10] Even the literary critic Thomas Carlyle, whose essay on Novalis played a major role in introducing him to the English-speaking world and took Novalis's philosophical relationship to Fichte and Kant seriously,[38] emphasized him as a mystic poet in the style of Dante[39] The author and theologian George MacDonald, translated Novalis's 'Hymns to the Night' in 1897.[40] also understood him as a poet of mystic desire.[41]

As philosophical thinkerEdit

Novalis literary goals went beyond poetry and literature. He was also deeply read in science, law, philosophy, politics and political economy, and started writing quite early. He left an abundance of notes on these fields and his early work displays his ease and familiarity with them. His later works are closely connected to his studies and his profession. In his note books, Novalis collected everything that he had learned, and reflected upon it. In his Notes for a Romantic Encyclopaedia, he drew connections between he learned in philosophy, art, religion and science and sought to pull them together in an unified world view.[42].

Novalis's philosophical writings are often grounded in nature. His works explores how personal freedom and creativity emerge in the affective understanding of the world and others, and this can only be accomplished if people are not estranged from the earth.[43]:55 In Pollen, Novalis writes "We are on a mission: Our calling is the cultivation of the earth",[27] arguing that human beings come to know themselves through experiencing and enlivening nature.[43]:55 Novalis personal commitment to understanding one's self and the world through nature can be seen in Novalis's unfinished novel, Heinrich von Ofterdingen, in which he uses his knowledge of natural science derived from his work overseeing salt mining to understand the human condition.[25] Furthermore, Novalis's commitment to cultivating nature has been seen as a potential source of insight for understanding the environmental crisis.[44]

Magical IdealismEdit

Novalis's personal worldview- informed by his education, philosophy, his professional knowledge, his pietistic background- has become known as magical idealism. a name derived from Novalis's reference in his 1798 notebooks to a type of literary prophet, the 'magischer Idealist' ('magical idealist').[45] In this worldview, philosophy and poetry are united. [22] Magical idealism is Novalis's synthesis of the German idealism of Fichte and Schelling with the creative imagination.[46] The goal of the creative imagination is to break down the barriers between language and world, as well as the subject and object.[45] The "magic" is the enlivening of nature as it responds to our will[22]

One element of magical idealism is the idea of health.[46] Novalis derived his theory of illness from the Scottish physician John Brown's Brunonian system of medicine, which sees illness as a mismatch between sensory stimulation and internal state.[47] For Novalis, illness derives from a disharmony between the self and the world of nature.[46] This understanding of health is an immanent: the "magic" is not otherworldly, it is based on the body and minds relationship to the environment.[48] According to Novalis, health arises not when we use our bodies to control the world but as means to sensitively perceive the world: the ideal is where the individual and the world interplay harmoniously.[30]   David Krell argues, however, that there is an anxiety in Novalis's sense of magical idealism: it fears actual touch, as its potential eros is seen by Novalis to lead inevitably to death. Krell suggests that the idea "distant touch" that he sees in Novalis's work could be called thaumaturgic idealism.[49]  

Another element of Novalis's magical idealism is the role of love, a sense of relationship and sympathy between all beings in the world,[46] which is considered both its basis of magic and its goal.[22] From one perspective, Novalis's emphasis on the term "magic" represents a challenge to what he perceived as the disenchantment that came with modern rationalistic thinking and therefore functions as a "solution" of sorts to the lamentation in Hymnen an die Nacht.[50]:88 However, from another perspective, Novalis's use of “magic” and “love” to describe key aspects of his philosophy of nature are meant to startle, but ultimately refer to his use of arts, in particular poetry with its metaphor and symbolism, to explore various aspects of nature in his all-embracing investigations.[51]

Religious ViewsEdit

Novalis's religious perspective remains a subject of debate. Novalis's early rearing in a Pietist household affected him through this life. [2]:25 The impact of his religious background on his writings are particularly clear in his two major poetic works. Hymns to the Night contains many Christian symbols and themes.[3]:68–78 And, Novalis's Spiritual Songs, which were posthumously published in 1802 were incorporated into Lutheran hymnals; Novalis called the poems "Christian Songs", and they were intended to be published in the Athenaeum under the title "Specimens From a New Devotional Hymn Book".[3]:78 One of his final works, which was posthumously named Die Christenheit oder Europa (Christianity or Europe) when it was first published in full in 1826, has generated a great deal of controversy regarding Novalis's religious views.[34] This essay, which Novalis himself had simply entitled Europa, called for European unity in Novalis's time by poetically referencing a mythical Medieval golden age when Europe was unified under the Catholic Church.[52]

One view of Novalis's work is that it is maintains a traditional Christian outlook. Two early biographies of Novalis, one by his friend and employer Cölestin August Just[2] :46–47 and the other by Novalis's brother Karl,[8] describe Novalis as a person who kept the Pietist faith of his childhood until his death. On the other hand, during the decades following Novalis's death, German intellectuals, such as the author Karl Hillebrand and the literary critic Hermann Theodor Hettner thought that Novalis was essentially a Catholic in his thinking.[37] In the twentieth century, this view of Novalis has sometimes led to negative assessments of his work. Hymns to the Night has described as an attempt to use religion to avoid the challenges of modernity[53], and Christianity or Europe has been described variously as desperate prayer, a reactionary manifesto or a theocratic dream.[34]

Another view of Novalis's work is that it reflects a Christian mysticism.[3] When he died, the Jena Romantics wrote of him as a seer who would bring forth a new gospel:[37] one who lived his life as one aiming toward the spiritual while looking at death as a means of overcoming human limitation[54] in a revolutionary movement toward God.[19] In this more romantic view, Novalis was a visionary who saw contemporary Christianity as a stage to an even higher expression of religion[55] where earthly love rises to a heavenly love[56] as death itself is defeated by that love.[57]

More recently, Novalis's religious outlook has been analysed from the point of view of his philosophical and aesthetic commitments.[58] In this view, Novalis's religious thought was based on his attempts to reconcile Fichte's idealism, in which the sense of self arises in the distinction of subject and object, with Baruch Spinoza Spinoza's naturalistic philosophy, in which all being is one substance, by finding a single principle through which the division between ego and nature becomes mere appearance.[58]. As Novalis's philosophical thinking on religion developed, it became influenced by the Platonism of the Dutch philosopher Hemsterhuis, as well as the Neoplatonism of Plotinus Accordingly, Novalis's religion became one that sought to synthesize naturalism and theism, in the words of Novalis, "the religion of the visible cosmos".[59]. Novalis believed that individuals could obtain mystic insight, but religion can remain rational: God could be a Neoplatonic object of intellectual intuition and rational perception, the logos that structures the universe.[58] For Novalis, this vision of the logos is not merely intellectual, but moral too; for Novalis, god is virtue itself.[43]:78 It is a vision of love, in which self and nature united in a mutually supportive existence.[60] This understanding of Novalis's religious project could be summed up in a quote from one of his notes in his Fichte-Studien (Fichte Studies): "Spinoza ascended as far as nature- Fichte to the 'I', or the person, I ascend to the thesis of God."[59].

According to this Neoplatonic reading of Novalis, his religious language can be understood using the "magic wand of analogy",[61] a phrase Novalis used in Europe and Christianity to clarify how he meant to use history in that essay.[62]. This use of analogy was partly inspired by Schiller, who argued that analogy allows facts to be connected into a harmonious whole,[46] and by his relationship with Friedrich Schlegel, who sought to explore the revelations of religion through the union of philosophy and poetry.[63] The "magic wand of analogy" allowed Novalis to use metaphor, analogy and symbolism to bring together the arts, science, and philosophy in his search for truth.[51] This perspective on Novalis argues that his Christianity or Europe is not a call to return to a lost golden age. Rather, it is the poetic argument, phrased in the mode of a myth,[52], for a cosmopolitan vision of a unity[34] that brings together past and future, ideal and real, to engage the listener in an unfinished historical process.[33]



Together with Friedrich Schlegel, Novalis developed the fragment as a literary artform. The core of Hardenberg's literary works is the quest for the connection of science and poetry, and the result was supposed to be a "progressive universal poesy”.[64] Novalis was convinced that philosophy and the higher-ranking poetry have to be continually related to each other.[51]

The fact that the romantic fragment is an appropriate form for a depiction of "progressive universal poesy”, can be seen especially from the success of this new genre in its later reception. This idea of a romantic universal poesy can be seen clearly in the romantic triad. This theoretical structure always shows its recipient that the described moment is exactly the moment (kairos) in which the future is decided. These frequently mentioned critical points correspond with the artist's feeling for the present, which Novalis shares with many other contemporaries of his time. Thus a triadic structure can be found in most of his works. This means that there are three corresponding structural elements which are written differently concerning the content and the form.


Posthumous Romantic portrait of Novalis from 1845 by Friedrich Eduard Eichens (based on Franz Gareis's 1799 painting).

In August 1800, eight months after completion, the revised edition of the Hymnen an die Nacht was published in the Athenaeum. They are often considered to be the climax of Novalis’ lyrical works and the most important poetry of the German early Romanticism.

The six hymns contain many elements which can be understood as autobiographical. Even though a lyrical "I", rather than Novalis himself, is the speaker, there are many relationships between the hymns and Hardenberg's experiences from 1797 to 1800.

The topic is the romantic interpretation of life and death, the threshold of which is symbolised by the night. Life and death are – according to Novalis – developed into entwined concepts. So in the end, death is the romantic principle of life.

Influences from the literature of that time can be seen. The metaphors of the hymns are closely connected to the books Novalis had read at about the time of his writing of the hymns. These are prominently Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (in the translation by A.W. Schlegel, 1797) and Jean Paul’s Unsichtbare Loge (1793).

The Hymns to the Night display a universal religion with an intermediary. This concept is based on the idea that there is always a third party between a human and God. This intermediary can either be Jesus – as in Christian lore – or the dead beloved as in the hymns. These works consist of three times two hymns. These three components are each structured in this way: the first hymn shows, with the help of the Romantic triad, the development from an assumed happy life on earth through a painful era of alienation to salvation in the eternal night; the following hymn tells of the awakening from this vision and the longing for a return to it. With each pair of hymns, a higher level of experience and knowledge is shown. Some of the poems notably lament the historical replacement of European Paganism by Christianity, creating ambiguity about the exact view of the Hymns on Christianity and polytheism.[50]:76–77

He also wrote the Spiritual Songs (published 1802), which soon became incorporated into Lutheran hymn-books. Novalis called the poems Christian Songs, and they were intended to be entitled Specimens From a New Devotional Hymn Book.[3]:78–87

The Unfinished NovelsEdit

The novel fragments Heinrich von Ofterdingen and Die Lehrlinge zu Sais (The Novices of Sais) reflect the idea of describing a universal world harmony with the help of poetry. The novel 'Heinrich von Ofterdingen' contains the "blue flower", a symbol that became an emblem for the whole of German Romanticism. Originally the novel was supposed to be an answer to Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister, a work that Novalis had read with enthusiasm but later on judged as being highly unpoetical. He disliked the victory of the economical over the poetic.

Christianity or EuropeEdit

The speech called Die Christenheit oder Europa was written in 1799, but was first published in 1826. It is a poetical, cultural-historical speech with a focus on a political utopia with regard to the Middle Ages. In this text Novalis tries to develop a new Europe which is based on a new poetical Christendom which shall lead to unity and freedom. He got the inspiration for this text from Schleiermacher’s Über die Religion (1799). The work was also a response to the French Enlightenment and Revolution, both of which Novalis saw as catastrophic and irreligious. It anticipated, then, the growing German and Romantic theme of anti-Enlightenment visions of European spirituality and order.[3]:87–98

Collected writingsEdit

Novalis Museum at Weissenfels

Novalis' works were originally issued in two volumes by his friends Ludwig Tieck and Friedrich Schlegel (2 vols. 1802; a third volume was added in 1846). Editions of Novalis' collected works have since been compiled by C. Meisner and Bruno Wille (1898), by Ernst Heilborn (3 vols., 1901), and by J. Minor (3 vols., 1907). Heinrich von Ofterdingen was published separately by J. Schmidt in 1876.

Novalis's Correspondence was edited by J. M. Raich in 1880. See R. Haym Die romantische Schule (Berlin, 1870); A. Schubart, Novalis' Leben, Dichten und Denken (1887); C. Busse, Novalis' Lyrik (1898); J. Bing, Friedrich von Hardenberg (Hamburg, 1899), E. Heilborn, Friedrich von Hardenberg (Berlin, 1901).

The German-language, six-volume edition of Novalis works Historische-Kritische Ausgabe - Novalis Schriften (HKA) is edited by Richard Samuel, Hans-Joachim Mähl & Gerhard Schulz. It is published by Kohlhammer Verlag, Stuttgart, 1960–2006.

English translationsEdit

Several of Novalis's notebooks and philosophical works or books about Novalis and his work have been translated into English:

  • Novalis. "Spiritual Advent (Christendom or Europe)". In Seth, Catriona; von Kulessa, Rotrand (eds.). The Idea of Europe. Cambridge, UK: Open Book Publishers. JSTOR j.ctt1sq5v84.50.
  • The Birth of Novalis: Friedrich von Hardenberg's Journal of 1797, With Selected Letters and Documents, trans. and ed. Bruce Donehower, State University of New York Press, 2007.
  • Classic and Romantic German Aesthetics, ed. Jay Bernstein, Cambridge University Press, 2003. This book is in the same series, the Fichte-Studies and contains a selection of fragments, plus Novalis' Dialogues. Also in this collection are fragments by Schlegel and Hölderlin.
  • Fichte Studies, trans. Jane Kneller, Cambridge University Press, 2003. This translation is part of the Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy Series.
  • Henry von Ofterdingen, trans. Palmer Hilty, Waveland Press, 1990.
  • Hymns to the Night, trans. by Dick Higgins, McPherson & Company: 1988. This modern translation includes the German text (with variants) en face.
  • Hymns to the Night / Spiritual Songs, Tr. George MacDonald, Foreword by Sergei O. Prokofieff, Temple Lodge Publishing, London, 2001.
  • Klingsohr's Fairy Tale, Unicorn Books, Llanfynydd, Carmarthen, 1974.
  • Novalis: Notes for a Romantic Encyclopaedia (Das Allgemeine Brouillon), trans. and ed. David W. Wood, State University of New York Press, 2007. First English translation of Novalis's unfinished project for a "universal science," it contains his thoughts on philosophy, the arts, religion, literature and poetry, and his theory of "Magical Idealism." The Appendix contains substantial extracts from Novalis' Freiberg Natural Scientific Studies 1798/1799.
  • Novalis: Philosophical Writings, transl. and ed. Margaret Mahoney Stoljar, State University of New York Press, 1997. This volume contains several of Novalis' works, including Pollen or Miscellaneous Observations, one of the few complete works published in his lifetime (though it was altered for publication by Friedrich Schlegel); Logological Fragments I and II; Monologue, a long fragment on language; Faith and Love or The King and Queen, a collection of political fragments also published during his lifetime; On Goethe; extracts from Das allgemeine Broullion or General Draft; and his essay Christendom or Europe.
  • The Novices of Sais, trans. by Ralph Manheim, Archipelago Books, 2005. This translation was originally published in 1949. This edition includes illustrations by Paul Klee. The Novices of Sais contains the fairy tale "Hyacinth and Rose Petal."


The philosopher and esotericist Rudolf Steiner spoke in various lectures (now published) about Novalis and his influence on anthroposophy.[65]

Christopher Warnes posits that Franz Roh might have been inspired by Novalis's term "magischer Realist"[47], which lead Roh to coin the term "magischer Realismus" in his 1925 book Nach-Expressionismus, Magischer Realismus: Probleme der neusten europäischen Malerei (Post-expressionism, Magic Realism: Problems in Recent European Painting).

Walter Pater includes Novalis's quote, "Philosophiren ist dephlegmatisiren, vivificiren" ("to philosophize is to throw off apathy, to become revived")[16] in his conclusion to Studies in the History of the Renaissance. Novalis' poetry and writings were also an influence on Hermann Hesse.

20th-century German philosopher Martin Heidegger uses a Novalis fragment, "Philosophy is really homesickness, an urge to be at home everywhere" in the opening pages of The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics. [66]

The libretto of Richard Wagner's opera Tristan und Isolde contains strong allusions to Novalis' symbolic language, especially the dichotomy between the Night and the Day that animates his Hymns to the Night.

Novelist Penelope Fitzgerald's last work, The Blue Flower, is a historical fiction about Novalis, his education, his philosophical and poetic development, and his romance with Sophie.

Borges refers often to Novalis in his work.

The krautrock band Novalis, beside taking their name from him, adapted or used directly poems by Novalis as lyrics on their albums.

The American avant-garde filmmaker Stan Brakhage made the short film First Hymn to the Night – Novalis in 1994. The film was issued on Blu-ray and DVD in an anthology of Brakhage's films by Criterion Collection.[67]

In tribute to his writings, Novalis records are produced by AVC Audio Visual Communications AG, Switzerland.

The main character in artist/animator Chris Powell's award-winning animated film Novalis is a robot named after Novalis.[68]


  1. ^ a b Redfield, Marc (2012). "Philosophy- Early German Romanticism: Schlegel, Novalis, Hölderlin". In Faflak, Joel; Wright, Julia M. (eds.). A Handbook of Romanticism Studies. New York: John Wiley & Sons. p. 334. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Just,Cölestin August (1891) [1805]. "Life of Novalis". Novalis: His Life, Thoughts, and Works. Translated by Hope, Margaret Jane. Chicago: A. C. McClurg. pp. 23–50. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Hiebel, Frederick (1954). Novalis:German Poet—European Thinker—Christian Mystic. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. JSTOR 10.5149/9781469657554_hiebel. 
  4. ^ Kermode, Frank (2009) [5 October 1995]. "Dark Fates [Review of The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald]". Bury Place Papers:Essays from the London Review of Books. London: London Review of Books. ISBN 9781873092040.
  5. ^ a b c Pick, Bernard (1910). Introduction. Devotional Songs of Novalis. By Novalis. Pick, Bernard (ed.). Chicago: Open Court. pp. 3–18. 
  6. ^ Snell, Robert (2012). "Psychoanalysis and Mysticism". Uncertainties, Mysteries, Doubts: Romanticism and the Analytic Attitude. New York: Routledge. p. 31. 
  7. ^ Saul, Nicholas (1982). "Novalis's "Geistige Gegenwart" and His Essay "Die Christenheit Oder Europa"". The Modern Language Review. 77 (2): 361–377. JSTOR 3726818.(registration required)
  8. ^ a b von Hardenberg, Karl (2007) [1802]. "Karl von Hardenberg: Biography of His Brother Novalis". In Donehower, Bruce (ed.). The Birth of Novalis: Friedrich Von Hardenberg's Journal of 1797, with Selected Letters and Documents. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. p. 106. ISBN 9780791480687. 
  9. ^ Kneller, Jane (2003). "Chronology". Fichte Studies. By Novalis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521643924. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Donehower, Bruce (2007) [1802]. "Introduction". In Donehower, Bruce (ed.). The Birth of Novalis: Friedrich von Hardenberg's Journal of 1797, with Selected Letters and Documents. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. pp. 1–34. ISBN 9780791480687. 
  11. ^ a b c Tieck, Ludwig (2007) [1815]. "Ludwig Tieck "Biography of Novalis, 1815". In Donehower, Bruce (ed.). The Birth of Novalis: Friedrich Von Hardenberg's Journal of 1797, with Selected Letters and Documents. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. pp. 126–136. ISBN 9780791480687. 
  12. ^ Gjesdal, Kristin (2020), "Georg Friedrich Philipp von Hardenberg [Novalis]", in Zalta, Edward N. (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2020 ed.), Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University, archived from the original on 6 September 2020, retrieved 22 October 2020 
  13. ^ Waibel, Violetta L. (2004). "Review of Jane Kneller (Ed.) Novalis Studies". Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews: An Electronic Journal. Archived from the original on 23 August 2020. Retrieved 22 October 2020. 
  14. ^ Newman, Gail (1989). "The Status of the Subject in Novalis's Heinrich von Ofterdingen and Kleist's Die Marquise von O...". The German Quarterly. 62 (1): 6. doi:10.2307/40703. JSTOR 407036.(registration required)
  15. ^ a b Seyhan, Azade (2012). "Representation and Criticism". Representation and Its Discontents: The Critical Legacy of German Romanticism. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. pp. 90–92. 
  16. ^ a b Laman, Barbara (2004). "German Romantic Theory and Joyce's Early Works". James Joyce and German Theory: The Romantic School and All That. Madison,NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 37. ISBN 9781611472844. 
  17. ^ Aldouri, Hamman (2019). "Before Hegel: Schiller, Novalis and Aufhebung". Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy. 15 (1): 10-30. 
  18. ^ a b Mason, Eudo C. (1961). "Novalis Re-Edited and Reassessed". The Modern Language Review. 56 (4): 538-552. JSTOR 3721616.(registration required)
  19. ^ a b Wessell, Leonard P., Jr. (1975). "Novalis' revolutionary Religion of Death". Studies in Romanticism. 14 (4): 425–452. JSTOR 25599987.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)(registration required)
  20. ^ Johnson, Laurie (1998). "«Wozu überhaupt ein Anfang?» Memory and History in "Heinrich von Ofterdingen"". Colloquia Germanica. 31 (1): 33. JSTOR 23981057.(registration required)
  21. ^ O'Brien, William Arctander (1995). "After Sophie: Julie von Charpentier". Novalis, Signs of Revolution, Literature. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. pp. 66–70. ISBN 9780822315193. 
  22. ^ a b c d Wood, David D. (2007). "Introduction: The Unknown Novalis" (PDF). Notes for a Romantic Encyclopaedia: Die Allgemeine Brouillon. By Novalis. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. pp. ix–xxx. ISBN 9780791469736. 
  23. ^ Mahoney, Dennis F. (1992). "Human History as Natural History in "The Novices of Sais" and "Heinrich von Ofterdingen"". Historical Reflections / Réflexions Historiques. 18 (3): 111–124. JSTOR 41292842.(registration required)
  24. ^ Ziolkowski, Theodore (1992). "The Mind: Image of the Soul". German Romanticism And Its Institutions. Princeton,NJ: Princeton University Press. pp. 18–26. 
  25. ^ a b Erlin, Matt (2014). "Products of the Imagination: Mining, Luxury, and the Romantic Artist in Novalis's Heinrich von Ofterdingen". Necessary Luxuries: Books, Literature, and the Culture of Consumption in Germany, 1770–1815. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. doi:10.5149/9781469657554_hiebel. JSTOR 10.7591/j.ctt5hh26b. 
  26. ^ Mahoney, Dennis F. (7 September 2004). "Novalis". In Knapp, Gerhard P. (ed.). The Literary Encyclopedia. United Kingdom: The Literary Dictionary Company. 
  27. ^ a b Gelley, Alexander (1991). "Novalis Miscellaneous Remarks [Original Version of Pollen]". New Literary History. 22 (2): 383-406. JSTOR 469045.(registration required)
  28. ^ Redding, Paul (2009). "The Jena Romanticism of Friedrich Schlegel and Friedrich Schelling". Continental Idealism: Leibniz to Nietzsche. New York: Routledge. pp. 116–134. Archived from the original on 23 October 2020. 
  29. ^ Rush, Fred (2005). "Review of The Romantic Imperative: The Concept of Early German Romanticism". Mind. 114 (455): 709–713. doi:10.1093/mind/fzi709. JSTOR 3489014.
  30. ^ a b Beiser, Frederick C. (2003). The Romantic Imperative: The Concept of Early German Romanticism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674011809. 
  31. ^ Mayer, Paola (1999). "An Interrupted Reception: Novalis". Jena Romanticism and Its Appropriation of Jakob Böhme: Theosophy, Hagiography, Literature. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press. p. 82. ISBN 9780773518520. 
  32. ^ Stoljar, Margaret Mahoney (1997). Introduction. Novalis: Philosophical Writings. By Novalis. New York: Routledge. pp. 1–22. 
  33. ^ a b Smith, John H. (2011). "Living Religion as Vanishing Mediator: Schleiermacher, Early Romanticism, and Idealism". The German Quarterly. 84 (2): 143. JSTOR 41237070.(registration required)
  34. ^ a b c d Kleingeld, Paula (2008). "Romantic Cosmopolitanism: Novalis's "Christianity or Europe"". Journal of the History of Philosophy. 46 (2). Archived from the original on 23 October 2020. 
  35. ^ Wood, David D. (2002). "Novalis: Kant Studies (1797)". The Philosophical Forum. 32 (4): 328–338. doi:10.1111/0031-806X.00072. 
  36. ^ Haase, Donald (1979). "Romantic Facts and Critical Myths: Novalis' Early Reception in France". The comparist. 3: 23–31. JSTOR 44366652.(registration required)
  37. ^ a b c Haussmann, J. F. (1912). "German Estimates of Novlis from 1800-1850". Modern Philology. 9 (2): 399–415. JSTOR 432442.(registration required)
  38. ^ Harrold, F. (1930). "Carlyle and Novalis". Studies in Philology. 27 (21): 47–63. JSTOR 4172052.(registration required)
  39. ^ Carlyle, Thomas (1852) [1829]. "Novalis". In Emerson, Ralph Waldo (ed.). Critical and Miscellaneous essays. Philadelphia, PA: A. Hart. pp. 167–186. 
  40. ^ Novalis (1897) [1800], translated by MacDonald, George, "Novalis-Hymns to the Night: Translated by George MacDonald and found in Rampolli (1897)", The George MacDonald WWW Page: Home to the George MacDonald Society, archived from the original on 10 April 2020, retrieved 18 October 2020 
  41. ^ Partridge, Michael (2014). "George MacDonald & Novalis". The George MacDonald WWW Page: Home to the George MacDonald Society. Archived from the original on 10 April 2020. Retrieved 23 October 2020. 
  42. ^ Kneller, Jane (5 September 2008). "Review of Novalis, David Wood (Ed., Tr.) Notes for a Romantic Encyclopaedia: Das Allgemeine Brouillon". Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. 9. ISSN 1538-1617. 
  43. ^ a b c Nassar, Dalia (2013). "Romanticizing Nature and Self". The Romantic Absolute: Being and Knowing in Early German Romantic Philosophy, 1795-1804. University of Chicago Press. p. 55. ISBN 9780226084237. 
  44. ^ Becker, Christian; Manstetten, Reiner (2004). "Nature as a You: Novalis' Philosophical Thought and the Modern Ecological Crisis". Environmental Values. 13 (1): 101–118. JSTOR 30301971.(registration required)
  45. ^ a b Warnes, Christopher (2006). "Magical Realism and the Legacy of German Idealism". The Modern Language Review. 101 (2): 488–498. doi:10.2307/20466796. JSTOR 20466796.(registration required)
  46. ^ a b c d e Cahen-Maurel, Laure (2019). "Novalis's Magical Idealism: A Threefold Philosophy of the Imagination, Love and Medicine" (PDF). Symphilosophie: International Journal of Philosophical Romanticism. 1: 129–165. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 October 2020. 
  47. ^ a b Warnes, Christopher (2009). Magical Realism and the Postcolonial Novel: Between Faith and Irreverence. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-230-23443-7. 
  48. ^ Neubauer, John (1971). "The Anthropology and Physiology of Magic". Bifocal Vision: Novalis' Philosophy of Nature and Disease. Durham, NC: University of Carolina Press. p. 57-75. 
  49. ^ Krell, David Farrell (1998). Contagion: Sexuality, Disease and Death in German Idealism and Romanticism. Indianapolis, IN: Indiana State University. p. 21-22. 
  50. ^ a b Josephson-Storm, Jason A. (2017). The Myth of Disenchantment: Magic, Modernity, and the Birth of the Human Sciences. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-40336-6. 
  51. ^ a b c Kneller, Jane (2010). "Early German romanticism: The Challenge of Philosophizing". In Moyar, Dean (ed.). The Routledge Companion to Nineteenth Century Philosophy. London: Routledge. pp. 295–327. ISBN 9781135151119. 
  52. ^ a b Littlejohns, Richard (2007). "Everlasting Peace and Medieval Europe: Romantic Myth-Making in Novalis's Europa". Myths of Europe. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill. pp. 176–182. 
  53. ^ Monroe, Jonathan (1983). "Novalis' "Hymnen an die Nacht" and the Prose Poem "avant la lettre"". Studies in Romanticism. 22 (1): 93-110. JSTOR 25600414.(registration required)
  54. ^ Wernaer, Robert M. (1910). "Novalis and His Hymns to the Night". Romanticism and the Romantic School in Germany. New York: D. Appleton. p. 212. 
  55. ^ Willoughby, L. A. (1938). "German Affinities with the Oxford Movement". The Modern Language Review. 29 (1): 52–56. JSTOR 3716061.(registration required)
  56. ^ Toy, Walter D. (1918). "The Mysticism of Novalis". Studies in Philology. 15 (1): 14–22. JSTOR 4171721.(registration required)
  57. ^ Rehder, Helmut (1948). "Novalis and Shakespeare". PMLA. 63 (2): 604–624. JSTOR 459430.(registration required)
  58. ^ a b c Beiser, Frederick C. (2003). "Novalis' Magic Idealism". German Idealism: The Struggle Against Subjectivism, 1781–1801. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674007697. 
  59. ^ a b Crowe, Benjamin D. (2008). "On 'The Religion of the Visible Universe': Novalis and the Pantheism Controversy" (PDF). British Journal for the History of Philosophy. 16 (1): 125–146. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 October 2020. 
  60. ^ O'Meara, John. The Way of Novalis: An Exposition on the Process of His Achievement. Ottowa, Canada: HcP. p. 94. 
  61. ^ Dieckmann, Liselotte (1955). "The Metaphor of Hieroglyphics in German Romanticism". Compariative Literature. 7 (4): 306–312. JSTOR 1769042.(registration required)
  62. ^ Novalis (1799). ""Christendom or Europe"[Die Christenheit oder Europa]" (PDF). German History in Documents and Images. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 March 2019. 
  63. ^ Weltman, J. (1975). "The Religion of Friedrich Schlegel". Modern Language Review. 31 (4): 539–544. JSTOR 3716141.(registration required)
  64. ^ Schlegel, Friedrich (1798). "Athenaeum Fragments". German History in Documents and Images. Retrieved 30 October 2018. Cite has empty unknown parameter: |1= (help) 
  65. ^ Steiner, Rudolf (2015) [1908-1909], Novalis: On his Hymns to the Night, translated by von Maltitz, Hannah, archived from the original on 18 July 2018, retrieved 29 November 2018 
  66. ^ Heidegger, Martin (2001) [1929]. The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics: World, Finitude, Solitude. Translated by McNeill, William; Walker, Nicholas (Reprint ed.). Bloomington, Ind: Indiana University Press. p. 5. ISBN 9780253214294. 
  67. ^ Brakhage, Stan (2010) [1994], "First Hymn to the Night-Novalis", By Brakhage: An Anthology, Volume Two (film), New York: Criterion
  68. ^ Powell, Chris V. (director/animator) (2018). Novalis (animation). Retrieved 17 October 2020.

Further readingEdit

  • Ameriks, Karl (ed.). The Cambridge Companion to German Idealism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000
  • Arena, Leonardo Vittorio, La filosofia di Novalis, Milano: Franco Angeli, 1987 (in Italian)
  • Behler, Ernst. German Romantic Literary Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993
  • Beiser, Frederick. German Idealism. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002
  • Berman, Antoine. L'épreuve de l'étranger. Culture et traduction dans l'Allemagne romantique: Herder, Goethe, Schlegel, Novalis, Humboldt, Schleiermacher, Hölderlin., Paris, Gallimard, Essais, 1984. ISBN 978-2-07-070076-9 (in French)
  • Fitzgerald, Penelope. The Blue Flower. Mariner Books, 1995. A novelization of Novalis' early life.
  • Haywood, Bruce. Novalis, the veil of imagery; a study of the poetic works of Friedrich von Hardenberg, 1772–1801, 's-Gravenhage, Mouton, 1959; Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1959.
  • Krell, David Farrell. Contagion. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998.
  • Kuzniar, Alice. Delayed Endings. Georgia: University of Georgia Press, 1987.
  • Lacoue-Labarthe, Phillipe and Jean-Luc Nancy. The Literary Absolute. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1988.
  • Molnár, Geza von. Novalis' "Fichte Studies".
  • O’Brien, William Arctander. Novalis: Signs of Revolution. Durham: Duke University Press, 1995. ISBN 0-8223-1519-X
  • Pfefferkorn, Kristin. Novalis: A Romantic's Theory of Language and Poetry. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988.
  • Prokofieff, Sergei O. Eternal Individuality. Towards a Karmic Biography of Novalis. Temple Lodge Publishing, London 1992.

External linksEdit