Romantic Coherence. Atmosphere and the Absolute in Tieck’s Frühlingsreise

Jan Oliver Jost-Fritz


For Ludwig Tieck, romantic poetry is the endeavor of the finite subject to grasp the infinite of nature. This article considers Tieck’s contribution to early romantic aesthetics by reading his poem Frühlingsreise (1797) against the backdrop of recent reflections on the concepts of atmosphere (Schmitz, Böhme), and the romantic absolute (Lacoue-Labarthe/Nancy, Frank, Beiser, Nassar). The absolute, and its impact on the conceptualization of subject and object, constitutes a centerpiece of romantic thought. In contrast to F. Schlegel and Novalis, Tieck approached the absolute not via intensive studies of contemporary philosophy, but via a ‘poetic path,’ i.e., by exploring poetry’s own potentialities in poetic practice. Both the absolute and atmosphere transcend the clear distinction between subject and object, and this structural parallel allows Tieck to approximate the otherwise unrepresentable absolute in poetry.

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