For a generation, Weimar was the center of intellectual life in Germany. A new time had come from here since Goethe had chosen it as his residence. He had found Wieland there, dragged Herder with him, and Schiller was going to be in the same place. Seldom have more important forces been united in a narrower space; In fact, the greater talent seemed to follow the larger one. What a rich life was not in this cooperation! Rich in deep thoughts, in poetic creations, in reshaping folk influences! Little Weimar had become a classic soil; from here German poetry received its laws.
Next to Weimar was Jena. The old university had won new youth food. If Weimar had poetry for itself, then Jena belonged to science. Hardly any other big names shone here. Here the Kantian philosophy had its seat, then Fichte had followed, last Schelling had proclaimed the new philosophy of the nature. Beside them stood many other important authority. Griesbach the theologian, Eichstädt the philologist, Woltmann the historian, A. W. Schlegel the critic and aesthetics. And what power could be more attractive than the mind? No sooner had there been an outstanding talent, which would not have been attracted to this world, and would at least have stayed in it for a short time, according to Jean Paul, Friedrich Schlegel, Novalis.
Now joined to the great German poets the youngest in this series, Tieck. It could be said that there was a necessity in the encounter of natural poetry with natural philosophy. What that poetically shaped was what the poet wanted to know knowingly, the mysterious life, the inner power of nature, its spirit.
Even before his meeting with Voss, Tieck had made a trip from Halle to Jena. It was a first look into this world; Here he thought to live in the coming winter. Already A. Schlegel awaited him, and led gave him a new friend, who had long hoped for this moment. A year earlier, F. Schlegel wrote to Tieck that he had won two new friends through his “folktales”, Novalis and Schelling. Now both met him.
The encounter between Tieck and Novalis was crucial for both. Two ghosts came together, who only seemed to have been waiting for each other. During the time he had seized Jacob Böhme, Tieck also found Novalis. This later said once, with Tieck’s acquaintance begins a new leaf in his life. Passion, study, painful experiences had taken him the same way from another angle. On the study of nature led him external profession, on the natural philosophy inner instinct. He had also appeared as a writer in Schlegel’s “Athenaum”; he had proved his equality, and had begun the execution of “Ofterdingen,” in which he wanted to give a glorification of poetry. He had eagerly studied Wilhelm Meister, and much of it had been impressed upon his memory. he first admired him as much as he later turned away from it. Then, with no less zeal, he had read Sternbald. After the death of his bride, he immersed himself in a quiet, contented mystique that upheld him, and led him back to the religious beliefs in which he had been educated. He was one year older than Tieck.
Novalis was a replacement for Wackenroder, whom he could remember in some ways. Both were finely organized natures, both deep and peculiar; They were in need of faithful devotion. But the later friend was superior to the former in many ways. With the mystical direction, Novalis combined intellectual [p. His sharpness and clarity, his philosophical training, his eyesight and judgment on the world, his agility in his circumstances. In his place he had to acknowledge each without forgiving the Supreme. He was freer, safer, more educated than Wackenroder.
It was a beautiful evening when the friends were united for the first time during the visit that Tieck made in Jena in the summer of 1799. Novalis had come from Weißenfels. A. W. Schlegel had made the mediator. In animated conversations, they had opened their hearts to each other, tested and recognized; the barriers of everyday life fell, and at the sound of glasses they drank brotherhood. Midnight had approached; the friends went out into the summer night. Again the full moon, the poet’s old friend since the days of childhood, was magical and glittering on the heights around Jena. They climbed the mountain, and hurried on over the hills. At last they accompanied Novalis home; the morning was not far off. When they said goodbye, Tieck said: “Now I will complete ‘Correct Eckart’.” “If you can after this evening, after this walk,” Schlegel replied, “then I will honor you!” Tieck released his word. In the morning he completed the story, and on the same day he communicated it to his friends.
Immediately the appointment was made, Tieck should visit on his return, from Halle the new friend in Weissenfels. He spent several days here. The entry into this family made a deep impression. A serious, quiet life, a bleak but true piety prevailed here. The family was attached to the teachings of the Moravians, and lived and worked in this sense. Old Hardenberg, formerly a vigorous soldier, a high, venerable nature, stood like a patriarch in the midst of talented sons and lovely daughters, to whom Julie of Charpentier, Novalis second bride, joined. The new friend was warmly welcomed by the father, and soon they found more than one point of agreement. Innovation and enlightenment were hated in every way; he loved and praised the old, misunderstood time, and when the opportunity arose, he could speak his views rudely and unreservedly, or flare up in sudden fury. The strange antitheses, which sometimes came to light, did nothing to his original dignity.
Once Tieck heard the old gentleman in the adjoining room scolding and angering him in a not very lenient way. “What has happened?” He asked anxiously an entering servant. “Nothing,” he replied dryly. “The Lord keeps religious lessons.” Old Hardenberg used to practice devotional exercises, and also to examine the younger children in matters of faith, sometimes stormy.
In October Tieck moved to Jena with his wife and newly born daughter Dorothea. He lived in the house of A. W. Schlegel, which became the center of their common life for him and other friends. He met Schlegel’s wife, Karoline, and her stepdaughter, Auguste Böhmer. This was seventeen years old; undeniably one of the most attractive phenomena in this circle. She was swift, lively, witty, quite original. One could not call her beautiful, for she had a somewhat cross-eyed look; but far from being distracting or repugnant, her deep eyes gave a peculiar expression. It was a force that was hard to escape. As Tieck in the room , she called to him: “You come through the door? I thought you, like your cat, would have to walk over the rooftops. ”
Other friends joined this circle, Friedrich Schlegel and Dorothea Veit, then Fichte, Schelling. Often also Novalis came from Weißenfels. Brentano, who studied in Jena, Gries, the artists Bury and Genelli, and many others, joined them temporarily. In a merry way they united in the house of the old Schlegel for a communal lunch; Tieck at least and his regularly. Here were those spiritually inspired societies in reality, which he understood so masterfully in later novellas.
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That they were so rich could be a great part of his work. In the evening they came together again, it was with Schlegel, or with Frommann the bookseller, who took the most lively interest in everything. Tieck read something dramatic, each of them shared what he had just completed, or on which he wished to hear the advice and the judgment of the friends. Poetry, studies and designs, opinions and views came to the discussion. Here Tieck read his then written poem “The characters in the forest”. He had worked it first in intricate rhymes, then in end-to-end assonance, abandoned as a trial of skillful versification. Schlegel once remarked to whom the larger poems of Tieck were too long, to which one must give the verses of the solitude of the forest in “Blond Ekbert”; these are the quintessence of his poetry and the true content of his nature.
Schlegel himself read his poem on the actress Bethmann. On another occasion, Novalis gave a lecture, which provoked a zealous dispute, because it was found that he in it was known to Catholicism. Brentano portrayed his “Natural History of the Philistine” when Fichte was also present. At the end of the lecture he said: “Now I will prove to you from this story that Brentano is the first and worst of all Philistines here!” Whereupon a striking criticism followed. The memory of this life Brentano dedicated some moving lines at the end of his feral novel “Godwi”, which he wrote under these influences.
It was mainly Spanish poetry that Tieck and A. W. Schlegel busily studied. They intended to work together for their introduction into German literature. While Tieck translated the “Don Quixote”, this resulted in the plan, together with Schlegel to fully transfer the Cervantes. He had just received the book of Calderon, in which “The Devotion to the Cross,” a tragedy that appealed to him more than any. He told of the impression she made on him and told Schlegel to read them as well. This happened; on the next day they exchanged opinions. Schlegel could not share this admiration. Many things he found insufficiently motivated, the long speeches unnatural; it was too catholic to him; only through abbreviations and alterations could be made edible for the German taste. In contrast, Tieck protected the poem. Above all, one must acquire the ability to believe in the legend; Therefore, it is not yet necessary to believe the legend itself, but it is the condition under which alone an understanding of such poetry is possible. This suggestion was significant enough for Schlegel to induce him to translate the Calderon. Later he went so completely [p. 252] to the peculiar spirit of the poet, that he made Tieck’s views his own, while abandoning them to a cooler contemplation of the Spanish drama. A few years later the admirer had become a Tadler, and the strict critic a commendatory. “Only write such dramas,” remarked Schlegel against Tieck, “then I will let your blame apply.”
Thus, in poetic competition, the friends worked side by side. At that time a large part of the sonnets in which Schlegel celebrated older poets and masters of art arose. In a peculiar mood he also wished to add to his poems one of Tieck, who wrote the sonnet on the “Galathea” of Cervantes, which Schlegel published with his own. Also Tieck’s “Arion” was created shortly before. With the usual sharpness Herder had commented on Schlegel’s “Arion”. It seemed to him a thankless task to reprocess a subject so often treated, he doubted the possibility of gaining him a new page. Through these allegations Tieck was tempted to try the poetry legend as well. Schlegel’s poem was too smooth, too elegant for him anyway. He sought to give his “Arion” a more dramatic color.
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He also appeared as the enthusiastic publisher of Jakob Boehme. He was very well received by Novalis, who first got to know the German philosopher through him and apprehended it with equal enthusiasm. In him he saw the true microcosm, the tremendous spring with all its swelling, forming forces, which is trying to give birth to a new world; Views he expressed in a poetry addressed to Tieck.
Others were more dubious or dismissive; But no one was less apt to make friends with Boehme, as spruce. Tieck had met him in Berlin at the beginning of the year 1799. Fichte had gone there when the charge of atheism was raised against him, and had entered into close communication with Friedrich Schlegel and Bernhardi. When soon afterwards Tieck left Berlin with the intention of going to Jena via Halle, Fichte gave him a letter to his backward wife. He himself had once come to Jena to dissolve his circumstances, and stayed there during the winter months from 1799 to 1800.
Scarcely could two natures be more opposite than the Fichte’s and Tieck’s. It was the antithesis of intellectual consequence and fantasy, philosophy and poetry. Fichte’s keen character, the severity, the ruthlessness with which he used to judge, did not suit Tieck everywhere. Although many such statements seemed to contradict him, especially Fichte’s child-rearing, yet he could not deny his respect for this solid, masculine character. He later called him more often the iron spruce.
The talks about Jacob Böhme did not lead to peace. Tieck stopped to say that he was a prophet, Fichte, that he was a confused dreamer. When the latter tried again to carry out, as in Böhme philosophical thought directly associates itself with poetic intuition, Fichte remarked: “Dear friend, you are a poet, and if you give me the assurance that Jacob Boehme is a great poet, so will I believe you in the word; On the other hand, you must believe me when I tell you that he is not a philosopher but a great fool! “” Then tell me first, “replied Tieck,” how to be a great fool, and [p. 254] can at the same time be a great poet! “Fichte thought that this would require too many demonstrations and broke off the conversation.
It was not always possible to live in creative activity in the poetic pleasure, in the exchange of thoughts without contradiction. There had to be moments of relaxation; the scent of poetry might obscure, but not nullify, the contrasts of human weakness.
Neither in Jena nor in Weimar was there any lack of opponents in this world of spirit. It was mediocrity, which was already unpleasantly affected by its existence, disturbed in its comfort, and saw in it a reproach for itself. The recognition was opposed by envy and misunderstanding; she did not hesitate to take refuge in smacks and ruses. Enemies of this kind could be despised, or fought with the weapons of wit and wit, or tacitly tolerated. The leader of that flat and low opposition was Kotzebue, the stage ruler, for whom Goethe and Schiller still had room on Weimar’s classic floor. Allied with him was the publicist Garlieb Merkel. Added to this was the enmity between A. W. Schlegel and Schiitz, the leader of the “Jenaische Literaturzeitung”, since the “Athenaum” opposed it as an expression of a new criticism. Already in the autumn of 1799 Schlegel had publicly renounced his participation in the newspaper. On such opponents he practiced the sharpest weapons. Tieck took no personal part in these battles; he thought that Schlegel considered these enemies and their attacks more than necessary, and thereby gave them a value they did not have.
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It was more doubtful that in the circle of friends themselves Mis sounds and errors were not missing. This came first from the women of the two Schlegel who could not communicate with each other. Dorothea surrendered to the reckless procession of Friedrich Schlegel, thereby provoking many criticisms of her measured sister-in-law. Tieck could not hide the fact that she disgusted him in her masculine, often unsightly manner. He found no good in the novel “Florentin,” with which she dealt, when he was able to recognize the “Lucinde” of his friend, who had just arrived. He could not befriend these views or the way they were performed. The book seemed to him almost tasteless. Even less did he understand Schleiermacher’s criticism in the familiar letters on this novel. Secretly, they had been sent to Jena to be printed. By accident, he soon learned who the author was.
But F. Schlegel himself was revolting and unreasonable at times. His manner of expressing himself when he began to speak was always an overflowing outpouring, his eloquence turning every conversation into a monologue that could be profound but eventually weary. And Tieck loved nothing more than the free exchange of giving and taking in conversation. Ward Schlegel in such a monologue interrupted by some objection, a slight doubt, so he could become unfair, even passionate. If he did not find unconditional, almost blind faith, he saw in it a violation of friendship, retired in an insulted manner, and was then for weeks cold and mistrustful.
But even with A. W. Schlegel Tieck was not everywhere sense. This also emerged in their views on Schiller. Already the relation between this and [p. 256], and irritated as he was, Schlegel judged Schiller’s poems ruthlessly, even unjustly. Tieck could not agree with this tone, although of course his views and relations with Schiller had changed since his youth. While one generally spoke of the greater and more abundant development of the poet in the later period, he recognized only a limitation, a narrowing, a fear of the application of full force. The pursuit of the ideal was for him a blurring of the individual, an attraction of the peculiar to the universal, indeterminate. In his poetry he wanted to express the special, the national, whereas Schiller developed a grandiose, but universal, tragic pathos. He also could not convince himself of the fruitfulness of the philosophical studies. He did not agree with their results, nor with the penetration of philosophical reflection into poetry. On the other hand, he was still filled with the most unconditional admiration for Schiller’s oldest poetry, the “robbers.” Here was a mighty, colossal spirit that performed with a boldness, a defiance unlike its peers. He protected the poet not only against his opponents, but also against himself and his criticism. The later edits were for weakening, yes for a denial of their own spiritual power.
Tieck had told his friends much about the “robbers,” and the first edition, which was rare even then; One would have to go back to this if one wanted to fully appreciate the wonderful poetry. For good luck, this edition was found in an insignificant bookshop, and immediately Tieck began to read it to friends. Conveniently it seemed that the older Schlegel was prevented from being present. Unexpectedly, however, he entered during the reading, and began to interrupt Tieck by means of remarks, then by attacks on the play. He could not understand how one likes a product as raw as one can read it. As one should call it at all? It is neither a drama nor an epic, nor does it belong to any kind of art. Full of annoyance at this reproach, Tieck did not at last beat the book without violence. “That’s the best thing you can do,” said Schlegel ironically.