The reader would only learn of his part in the enterprise through a short mention in the preface. He in his turn was to translate this work into German. A bank crisis, brought about by Allied demands for immediate repayment of French war indemnities, 21 caused Tottie and Compton to get into difficulties, then to declare bankruptcy and go into administration. Both Auguste and Schlegel were heavy losers. Title page of vol. In terms of translations, his statement was certainly true. One need only compare a crux passage in each translation, the section on ancient and modern poetry, to see the difference.
Thus the organicist language that Coleridge employed in his critical writing was indebted to Herder, the common source for Schlegel but also for Schelling. When in he made his first longer visit to London in his newly-assumed status as a Sanskritist, Schlegel was already a European celebrity on account of the wide dissemination and reception of his Vienna Lectures. They were his major asset; they were what most people associated with his name. It was natural for the British to seize on what was familiar—or, until they read Schlegel, was thought to be familiar.
The Life of August Wilhelm Schlegel
For others, he had many more aspects. On Scott and Byron they disagreed Wordsworth too ; 47 for Schlegel, as indeed for most nineteenth-century German readers, they remained the paramount representatives of English letters. They are also an exhortation to political prudence and avoidance of extremes. In his role as a university professor, however, he had to be careful about what he said. As we shall see, his most trenchant remarks of a political nature were to be about British India, not Europe. He had already given some tips to an English translator.
Of the French periodicals from the s it was perhaps Le Catholique that came closest to the spirit of critical enquiry for which Schlegel stood. His reception of Schlegel thus shows much of the zeal of the newly converted in an adopted country, one already noted for the pervasiveness of its religious culture. True, Schlegel was in lecturing to a Habsburg audience, aware of the historical links between Austria and Spain. His account of the Spanish Golden Age, although mythologically underpinned, was not intended to glorify it uncritically, but rather to explain how a high culture came about.
The same could be said of his account of the age of Elizabeth. Even so, he did leave the impression that nothing of substance had happened in the cultural life and on the stage in both countries since these high moments in their history. Adam Mickiewicz was to learn this in when he called in on Schlegel in Bonn on his way from Weimar. It had been one of the few high points in an otherwise fruitless journey. It was from here that he made those various appeals to August Wilhelm to return to Germany, to the Rhine, to Bavaria, to Vienna as secretary of some Academy of Sciences not yet in being.
All was not as well as it seemed. Dorothea did not join Friedrich for the whole time, and then their quarters were unsatisfactory. In and she was an entire year in Italy keeping a solicitous eye on the artistic development of her sons Johannes and Philipp Veit when not at Mass or otherwise piously engaged. Already in he was asking Schleiermacher if he would not like to contribute to a periodical, perhaps setting out a Protestant view of things.
Friedrich stands out among the contributors, most of them more moderate than he, men who unlike him were part of the nineteenth-century advance of the humanist disciplines into academia: It had been written when Friedrich was finally recalled from Frankfurt and had at last visited Italy in in the suite of Prince Metternich himself. Friedrich expected imminently to be recalled to Austria this did not happen until much later in the year , so time was of the essence.
There was so much to catch up on; August Wilhelm had been sent the prospectus of Concordia , 78 so he knew where his brother stood on the religious and political issues which that periodical would raise. The Congress of Princes had been announced, to take place in Aachen: In Bonn, which August Wilhelm now saw for the first time, they met his future colleague, Ernst Moritz Arndt, whose views on Schlegel had changed but little since they had seen each other in St Petersburg less than two years later, he would be another victim of Prussian reaction.
The down-river journey ended in Cologne, the town that had missed out to Bonn for the choice of the new Rhenish university. The Congress of Princes was now to be in Coblenz September: This he did, accompanied by his teenage brother-in-law, Wilhelm Paulus. In Coblenz, he met Hardenberg and his secretary David Ferdinand Koreff and proceeded to Bonn to find the house in the Sandkaule in which he was to remain until his death.
He also made arrangements with Fanny Randall for his library to be transferred from Coppet to Bonn. Although himself facing outlays for house and travel, August Wilhelm made a loan to Friedrich of up to florins to see him safely re-installed in Vienna: It was no doubt these factors that led Metternich to tolerate this journal, for he might justifiably have believed that the settlements of the Congresses of Vienna were beginning to unravel.
It was different in Prussia, as August Wilhelm was learning in unrevolutionary Bonn. It could not be published in Prussia, 87 and its author only just escaped arrest and spent the next eight years in exile in Strasbourg. This Metternich could hardly object to, although he may not have cared for some of the other contributors, a Catholic and conservative rump, most of them converts, dedicated to restoration and some might say reaction: Every instinct ought to have told him that he was embarking on something unadvised, unwise, foolish.
But perhaps that is merely wisdom after the event. He saw no reason why at the age of nearly 51 he should not marry and start a family. He wanted what his colleagues-to-be in Bonn had, Arndt, Niebuhr, Windischmann: He knew no physical reasons why this should not happen, and he was never short of romantic gallantries. True, there was an age-gap: Sophie was just short of her twenty-eighth birthday when they married, but the nineteenth century was very matter- of-fact about such unions. In at Carlsbad none other than Goethe aged nearly 74 was paying assiduous court to a nineteen-year-old and even asking for her hand.
Goethe is forgiven this act of silliness because her rejection produced some of his most moving late poetry. In the tradition of European comedy, where old men with young wives are a stock burlesque motif, he was instead to be the butt of ridicule.
The theologian Friedrich Eberhard Gottlob Paulus and his wife Caroline had been friendly with the whole Romantic circle during his days as a professor in Jena; it had even been rumoured that Schlegel had flirted with Caroline she wrote novels under the pseudonym of Eleutheria Holberg.
Certainly the Paulus house in Jena had been the first to welcome Friedrich and Dorothea, and the friendship had lasted. It was he who had been responsible for his fellow-Swabian Hegel coming to this university before his translation to Berlin. They also knew Jean Paul, and it was perhaps unfortunate that the celebrated novelist especially among his female readers was in Heidelberg at exactly the same time as Schlegel.
His review of Corinne had been faint praise. It found questionable the assertion that German poetry owed so much of its worth to its openness to other literatures. Schlegel was also to have one, but it was feared it might be mistaken for a homage to another guest, the heir to the deposed king of Sweden. It was better to avoid a diplomatic incident. For Jean Paul, although long married, was nevertheless not averse to a little flirtation—as here with both the Paulus mother and daughter—that bordered on the amorous and sometimes even crossed that threshold.
Now Schlegel of all people was about to snatch Sophie from under his nose. But for the moment all was well. All as yet seemed fine. Yet things soon took a turn for the worse. Writing on 10 January to the lawyer Jacob Lambertz in Bonn, Schlegel set out what he believed to be the course of events. He had agreed with the Prussian authorities to go to Bonn, instead of Berlin as originally mooted, in order for his new wife to be nearer her parents in Heidelberg and to spare her the rigours of the Berlin climate. Thus the decision to go to the new Rhenish university had been taken very largely on her account, and her parents had never raised any objection to their proposed removal to Bonn.
The letters that they exchanged had been affectionate. Sophie then contracted measles. They returned to Heidelberg; on 1 November he had to leave for Bonn, to set up house for the two of them. Sophie shed tears when he went. It was clear that Sophie was not going to join him in Bonn. Paulus stepped in and took over the correspondence.
There were no more letters from Sophie, and nobody seems to have consulted her further on what was to be her fate. Paulus came straight to the point with Schlegel: And now at last you wish to insist on rights, seek, like the rattlesnake charms its prey by its gaze alone, in hinting at claims to bring the deceived one into your presence and your clutches, whereas I have come to the conviction that you wished to make the purest, noblest and most simple- hearted of creatures an object of the most impotent debauchery and that you, depite all your clever talk of good health beyond your years, are, with all your stimulants, incapable of anything else.
Fie and for shame at your abominations. Were you to flee to the Indus, what abhorrence, what judgment of depravity would not pursue you from all of Germany and half of Europe, where you are so proud of your celebrity […] Friedrich, hopeless in financial and other matters, nevertheless had more savoir-vivre than his older brother. It would need time to heal any wrongs, not mere expressions of affection.
Friedrich also wrote to both mother and daughter. It was at this stage that Schlegel turned to Lambertz. Perhaps it was none of these things. We shall never know. The parents had achieved what they clearly wanted all along: It served to confirm all the unpleasant things that people claimed to know about Schlegel, his insufferable vanity, his pedantry, his superior tone. According to Jean Paul not a disinterested witness , Sophie had no hatred in her heart for Schlegel, only contempt.
Paulus wanted Schlegel to agree to a voluntary separation, with appropriate financial compensation. Lambertz informed Paulus that he might have to read out his letters in court. Did he really wish to subject his daughter to that? The result was that Schlegel was never legally separated from his wife and that the Paulus family never pressed a claim on his estate. Schlegel refused to have the matter settled, although advised by Lambertz to do so. Her father believed she should. Sophie held on to them. There was much to ponder in her words.
With a deep sense of inner distress but also of the resignation that he had learned to practise over the years, Schlegel wrote to his superior Altenstein that he was despite all willing to remain in Bonn in the hope of adding to the lustre of this new university. In a letter to Koreff he stressed the need to forget the rumours and allegations and put the affair behind him. Should the parents have thought again? Should others have warned him? As it was, Sophie and Schlegel lived apart for over twenty- five years, she in the enveloping bosom of her parents, he searching hard for other fulfilments of his affections and essentially finding none.
The view of that flourishing Prussian town, and rising university, was very pleasing. The town-gate is handsome, the streets lively. If Bonn be inferior to Carlsruhe in beauty, it possesses commercial activity, one of the moral embellishments of a town. Groups of students, sauntering through the streets, or gazing from the windows, diminishes nought from the sprightliness of Bonn. In the Castle is a gallery of casts, for the use of young artists. Several specimens are copied from pieces in the Louvre, and in the Elgin collection. The College Park, or Court Garden, forms a handsome promenade, communicating by a chestnut-alley with Poppelsdorf, which is situated at the foot of the Kreuzberg, and contains a castle and garden.
From the Alte Zoll , a bastion at one end of the park, there is an admirable view of the Rhine, with the Seven Mountains rising dim in the distance, and the hills about Poppelsdorf. The Town-house, which is modern, stands in the market-place. I had to apply to him for admission to an interesting collection of antiques, not yet arranged for public exhibition.
We have to trace the course that led Schlegel to come to Bonn in and become the local celebrity described by an Irish visitor in There had been the short revolutionary interlude from to when they were French. Cologne, with the hulk of its unfinished Gothic cathedral, had become the symbol of German past greatness and the need for its revival. Gestures of benevolence were the order of the day. Conscious that the Revolution and its aftermath had swept away the old Rhenish universities, King Frederick William III of Prussia had in the same proclamation promised the Rhineland a university of its own.
During the Napoleonic years—despite their being also the times of the Stein- Hardenberg reforms in Prussia—the universities had suffered badly. Some ancient academies, like Cologne or Mainz, had simply not survived the upheaval, while the medieval University of Heidelberg had emerged effectively as a new institution. After a sustained campaign for its creation, the Prussian education reforms had seen the foundation of Berlin University in , with Breslau in to satisfy the needs of the province of Silesia.
The Rhine provinces were a different proposition. There were several serious contenders; a perceived need too to provide a western university in the gap that extended from the Low Countries to the nearest academies, Heidelberg and Freiburg in the south. Paderborn and Duisburg could be safely discounted, leaving Cologne and Bonn in the running. Cologne, founded in , might seem to have the edge, especially as a centre of Roman and medieval antiquities.
The crucial decisions that would affect Schlegel had been taken by the Prussian state chancellor, Prince. Wilhelm von Humboldt also asserted that it was his idea. Whichever way, it was clear that the authorities in Berlin wanted Schlegel. Writing on 17 December, to his friend and colleague Guillaume Favre in Geneva, Schlegel could tell him that he had received a flattering offer of a chair at the University of Berlin.
His espoused hope had been the life of private scholar, now in Coppet, now in Geneva, but here was an approach in which he was being asked to state his own terms. His Indian studies would not be neglected either; on the contrary, he could take steps to have a Sanskrit typeface created and could travel to Paris or London if necessary. His Berlin and Vienna Lectures would have suggested themselves, although they were not strictly academic in form or conception. Would Schlegel perhaps consider a year or two at the new University of Bonn? His chair would of course remain linked to Berlin, but his presence on the Rhine would give the new institution some early resplendence.
Schlegel was not taken with the idea, citing the advantages, academic and cultural, of the capital city. After the Rhine journey in the early summer of , however, where he saw the new university town for the first time, and, crucially, met the governor of the Rhine province, Count Friedrich zu Solms-Laubach, he seemed not averse to sharing his energies between Berlin and Bonn.
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The appointment memorandum signed on 20 July indicated this. It suited the thinking, briefly entertained at the time, that Berlin would be the central academic institution in Prussia, surrounded by a group of satellites. The reason for this was Sophie Paulus and his forthcoming marriage, the need to soften the blow of her separation from her parents and the wish to protect her delicate frame from the rigours of the Berlin climate. Koreff and Hardenberg thereupon gave up all hope of securing Schlegel for Berlin, although his appointment to Bonn was not finally ratified until Bonn had as yet no library to speak of, but he was having his own books sent from Coppet.
The small number of students that a new university could command would mean a reduced income from their fees. But Bonn, in attracting scholars like Schlegel, could stand comparison with Berlin and its luminaries, such as Schleiermacher or Hegel, Savigny or Raumer. True, the writings of professors were not subject to censorship; in Bonn, on the other hand, they were required each semester to give one public and free lecture of at least two hours per week.
By this he meant the disastrous marriage. For gossip-mongers and critics during his lifetime and writers of memoirs after his death found it a convenient stick with which to beat him while living and to strike him when dead. His reaction is typical of the stoical acceptance of things as they were that we find in the letters to the few genuine confidants left to him in later life. For if indeed Schlegel at his worst was carping, captious, snide—and his vanity proverbial—at his best he was generous and altruistic: At first, Schlegel was sufficiently close to Windischmann to write a poem for the wedding of one of his daughters, but the relationship cooled when August Wilhelm began his attacks on Friedrich.
Of his Bonn colleagues, Schlegel was perhaps closest to the classics scholar Friedrich Gottlieb Welcker, who was also for a time in political trouble. And if one wanted excursions, there were romantic hills and promontories within easy reach. Everybody knew each other, nothing went unnoticed. Would for instance anyone there have stopped to look, as they did in Bonn, when he overbalanced while admiring a pretty face?
Would the relative opulence of his establishment in Sandkaule have been otherwise noteworthy? He would play his part in improving the town and its amenities. It was essentially here that his Sanskrit studies, which brought him new eminence, were to be carried out. Each could be seen as a statement of intent on behalf of Bonn and its university.
The ancient coins, but also the stained glass, the paintings and the manuscripts including a Carolingian item all spoke for their retention in Bonn. In the event the university only purchased the coin collection. It underlined one of the key points that he was to make: It was Heyne or Friedrich August Wolf in a different context. Now, in , he knew much more Sanskrit; he was acquainted with the manuscript situation, the textual and lexical position. He had assembled at considerable expense his own collection of texts and commentaries, making it at first unnecessary for the university library to duplicate it.
He would have to have a press made with devanagari type. He was duly appreciative of the work of Colebrooke, Wilkins and Carey, as indeed he must be, yet the British approach had of necessity to be defined by administration, law, and commerce. Even the great Sir William Jones, fine scholar as he was, a savant in his own right, had been a judge in British India.
But German universities could bring their particular, if not unique, skills to bear on this most ancient culture and language. Where else but in Germany, and in Bonn, would a general lecture on Indian antiquities and literature be on offer and who else could deliver it but Schlegel? The second part, alas, took them all back. It seemed that Schlegel imagined himself enjoying an academic idyll amid vineyards and boskiness, where he could put together the pieces of his existence, recently so rudely shattered.
It was not to be. All this had caused consternation in Bonn. In Bonn, the Prussian authorities took steps to suppress any activity seen as inimical to the state. On 15 July, Friedrich Welcker, his brother, and Arndt received a visitation from the Prussian ministry of police, backed up by a battalion of infantry, had their rooms ransacked and their papers confiscated. Charges of sedition were preferred against all three: Welcker, an outspoken upholder of political rights, remained in office, but did not receive an explanation until and an acquittal until To their credit, the Bonn professors, Schlegel among them, protested against this flouting of due process.
The Prussian ministry—Altenstein, Schulze, Koreff, even the state chancellor Hardenberg himself—were not going to let this academic prize slip from their grasp over a few mere inconveniences. To Schulze he set out his plans for Indian studies and the need for a visit to Paris, his intention of conducting etymological researches and then of publishing Sanskrit texts.
Knowing the man with whom he was dealing, Schlegel emphasized that Sanskrit had hitherto only been studied in Paris or London. He was not ignorant of the position of a professor in the educational organisation of the state or of the arrangement, the pact, between the state and its servants. He knew that academics, in the final analysis, could not say or do exactly as they pleased. Fichte in Jena all those years ago had exemplified this, and his case been compounded more recently by another Jena professor, Lorenz Oken, for whose dismissal the Carlsbad Decrees had been invoked.
Now, he was a public persona. He was one of the few professors with a noble title: His permanent appointment as a professor in was in one sense a mere formality, but it was also seen as a great honour. The exacting regimen dividing the day neatly into sections, noted in by George Ticknor, the strict separation of work and leisure, had been his method of accommodating both scholarly needs and social commitments.
Yet his day, with its set course laid down, had echoes of a kind of Brahmanic ritual, not in any detail of course, and without any kind of religious foundation except the achievement of some kind of inner tranquillity; the desire, as he set it out in , to act as teacher, counsellor, a kind of secular priest of scholarship and learning. His personal neatness and fastidiousness his frequent baths could therefore not be put down solely to vanity, but were part of the persona of the scholar-ascetic.
He relied on her implicitly, and there developed between them a kind of affection, separated of course by status and natural deference. At her death, he mourned her like a member of his family. She coped with the running of this huge house, the many visitors, the generous hospitality he extended. The letters they exchanged during his absences from Bonn form a kind of domestic counterbalance to the Broglie correspondence, behind which are similarly unseen persons who minister and wait.
No wonder that Schlegel complained of eyesight problems not helped by consulting an incompetent oculist in Paris in or reading Sanskrit manuscripts in various states of legibility. The candles on the lectern when he lectured in the university were not, as Heine was maliciously to maintain, part of an elaborate ritual of self-promotion, but a simple aid to reading. Image in the public domain. When the king visited Bonn in and astounded the local populace by making his advent in a steamboat, it was Schlegel who delivered the carmen.
To Coleridge may go the honour just of the first poem about a steamship, and Turner may have exploited in more spectacular fashion the effects of smoke, sky and water, but Schlegel is surely the first and doubtless the last to have essayed it in Latin. It was to be enlivened with frescoes. He encouraged them to work according to the best authenticated images.
Not everyone was enamoured: Schlegel might go riding as rector he encouraged his hearers to do so , or go out in his carriage with Wehrden as coachman to take the air. Furniture, china, glass and cellar were of the highest quality: If it did not scale new heights in Bonn, it achieved a breadth and scope unattained elsewhere. True, he still enjoyed the rhetorical gesture to a larger audience and took an almost homiletical pleasure in the spoken word.
Schlegel, similarly, took seriously his role as an academic teacher and mentor. In Jena, he had attempted too much and had extended himself too far; in Berlin, the grand schemes of art and literature had failed to cohere and were fragmented; in Vienna, the subdivision into Ancient and Modern was not without its forced character. Nevertheless it is possible to discern links with his Bonn lectures—inasmuch as we have them, for of the over thirty sets of lectures given in various guises and permutations, only seven of his scripts have survived.
He had enough material from Berlin and Vienna to lecture on Romance literatures, on German poetry likewise. The lectures on the fine arts had first been drafted in the early Berlin cycle, were partly published in Prometheus in , and were to form the basis of the only public series that he gave in later life outside of the university, those in Berlin in There are indications of adjustments or verbal qualifications that he made as he went along.
With the exception of those lectures on the fine arts they were not destined to have an immediate afterlife except in the minds and memories of his student hearers. Their exclusion from the standard edition of his works means that we as readers are deprived of a substantial part of his later intellectual output.
A gentleman told me the other day to be sure and call on him as he would feel flattered by having an Englishman to attend his lectures, and he liked to hear himself talk English. Schlegel was first known by his critical writings and his lectures on Dramatic Literature. Then appeared his great work, a translation of Shakespeare. He is now about 65 and occupies himself principally with oriental literature.
His lecture today was interesting from the situation of the author. When a man gives us the history of literature he gives us in some measure the history of himself. His delivery is clear, distinct, melodious. In hearing this purely literary lecture the students present the same earnestness and attention. They all take copious notes. The utmost silence prevails. No one enters after the lecture has commenced.
When it terminates, they sit still until the Lecturer has left the Hall[…] Karl Windischmann in Bonn was an extreme example, being a professor in two faculties; but historians and philosophers lecturing on aesthetics or the history of literature were not uncommon, witness the cases elsewhere of Hegel, Gervinus or Hettner; Karl Lachmann in Berlin was a classical scholar who also edited German medieval texts.
Wilhelm von Humboldt, writing to him in , summed it up: It had also been one of the first instances of an association between a French and a German scholar on a subject in Romance literature, soon to be augmented by his close relationship with Claude-Charles Fauriel. The same happened when August Ferdinand Naeke died in and Schlegel reasserted his right to lecture on classics.
His public lectures on Ancient History would enable him to draw on all the resources of language, history, geography, ethnography, and give a universal conspectus of human civilization. Similarly, no other professor could command the range of competence and experience that went into his public cycle on Academic Study.
Names once resonant in German culture feature, but now in a younger generation: From the early s, non-German students occur in his lists, mainly from England George Toynbee being but one. That anonymous London publication, The University of Bonn: It was a deciding factor in the education of the two young Saxe-Coburg princes, Ernst and Albert. The University of Bonn stated deferentially: The classes on Sanskrit were private, but most of them also attended other lectures by him, above all his star pupil Christian Lassen from Bergen in Norway, his assistant, his colleague and then his successor.
Their letters express thanks and respect. Judging from the surviving scripts, edited or unedited, we can say that they fall into two categories: That would be the formal side. But whether the lectures contain large sections of informative material, dilate for instance on the notion of aesthetics and the subdivisions of the art forms, or trace German poetry from its beginnings down to the present day, there is always the underlying theme of origins. Many people have had no history at all, at least not such as would deserve a place in universal history. Anyway, contributed nothing to the development of human capabilities.
Isolated position of several very civilized peoples. Only rare contacts between Europe and inner Asia. No contacts at all between Europe and the centre of Africa, with America, etc. Comparison of the history of the whole human race with a river with several arms, whose source and mouth are unknown. Still a lot to correct and fill out. But main outlines are there. Statistics of all states, if that was possible]. Survey of oikumene [community of nations] according to our present geographical knowledge and general traits, the ethnographical task of universal history, to explain the present state of the human race by linking cause and effect and tracing down to the earliest beginnings.
The more recent can be solved by its being closer, but perhaps never completely. The way Schiller saw it. What is and to what end do we study universal history? My view of it. Wrong about the age, in which he was caught up. Nescia mens hominum fati sortisque futurae [The mind of men ignorant of fate or future destiny]. He is also restating his Hemsterhuisian beginnings that informed his Berlin lectures on the same subject. He is also acutely aware that art reflects the highest strivings in all areas of human endeavour; that as such the work of art cannot be seen in isolation from religion, customs, mythology, poetry, politics, mores , and style of living.
It may have come to him through Herder or Hemsterhuis or Novalis. While, says Schlegel, we do not know with any certainty where the Germanic peoples came from, we can adduce linguistic evidence to supply what is lacking in historical documentation. All of this gives historical authenticity and dignity to the Nibelungenlied , in a later form of Germanic, and invests it with the same venerability as the epic poetry of Persia and India.
Quite the other way round: We will of course wish to show the development of religion through sacred writings, while aware that they contain no ultimate explanations: Instead, we will use the insights of Protestant hermeneutics and of philological criticism to illuminate religious and priestly record. In the Bonn lectures, other, more recent, names crop up: Like them, he was of his times in branching out into the widest areas of knowledge: There had been in plans to complete the circumnavigation that had been broken off in South America, now to take in India and Tibet the East India Company, however, was not letting a pronounced liberal like Humboldt into its territories.
He may also have been slightly teasing Schlegel, knowing that the editor of the Indische Bibliothek was never going to concede any superiority over India, the cradle of all cultures, especially not from practitioners of human sacrifice.
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Yet they agreed to differ over a number of crucial points. They agreed on the task of the historian, to present facts not a philosophy , but to do so creatively and with imagination. But they were to disagree publicly and radically on the role of translation, for Humboldt never more than a pis-aller , for Schlegel the gateway to alien cultures. From the very outset of my career as a writer I had made it my especial business to bring to light forgotten and unrecognized material.
In this way, I had to some extent exhausted European literature and turned to Asia to provide a new adventure. It was a good choice: Leaving aside the historical importance, the philosophical and poetical content, the very form of the language would draw me, which in comparison with its younger sisters provides such remarkable insights into the laws of language formation.
Of course it is no such thing. He was also, as we saw, lecturing in Bonn on the widest spectrum of European, of world, literature. He was as well reminding his German readers of the significant Portuguese presence in India, long before an Englishman had set foot there. By coincidence or not, it echoed much of what his friend Ludwig Tieck was also saying. Yet everything in the Divan touched on poetry: A vision of Persia came alive, a private world that drew on the Orient as it chose, playful, sometimes seriously playful, protean, taking notions and motifs that he found fruitful and attractive for poetic purposes; but always symbolic of a higher synthesis of man, nature, time and history, the individual and the universe.
For Schlegel, India had poetry; it did not immediately become it: India had formed part of the Romantic urges that had led to poetry, where mythology and translation, the transference of great poetry from one cultural sphere to another, were an enriching and enlivening force. They contained enough poetic potential for others to exploit creatively. But Schlegel could not accept all the premises of the Divan. He was not basically interested in Persian poetry; above all, the Persian language was for him essentially a derivative of Sanskrit.
Crucially, Persia, once the land and home of Zoroastrianism, had been subjected to Islamic conquest, and that was that. He could certainly identify with the status, spiritual depth, repose, and intellectual achievement that he perceived in Brahmanic culture, its commitment to peace, its absence of a priestly hierarchy or so Schlegel wished to believe. Entering into the world of the primeval language of Sanskrit, reading its great texts, also meant acquiring its lore: It extended to architecture: It was not the only paradox or contradiction that he shared with Goethe.
This is what made Schlegel different from Greek and Latin classical scholars and why he needed to move out and beyond them, while of course retaining the skills and insights that they had taught him. Unlike Classical Greece and Rome, India was still alive. Sanskrit was still present in India and was the undying expression of a civilization still in being. This culture, as he saw it, compared with so many others, had been able to maintain its essential integrity, its timeless calm and serenity, the uninterrupted line of its mythology.
The origins, that in the case of Greek and Latin needed to be traced through painstaking philological and archaeological processes, were for Sanskrit still there. Especially the German academic Indianist, so much better qualified than others to bring that civilization alive.
For it, too, had been subjected to incursions, challenges, conquests, from within, but especially from without. That Indian culture had withstood these, was surmounting them now and was adapting to foreign military and administrative rule, was also part of the narrative of India. There was no escaping the fact that European contact and conquest—for good or ill, and much of it was for ill—had made this world and its culture accessible.
It was the dilemma faced by Schlegel himself, the younger brother of a Hanoverian officer in the service of the East India Company, or by Henry Colebrooke or Sir James Mackintosh, the proconsuls of a colonizing power, yet all involved intellectually in the cultural heritage that they were administering. It formed the substance of those major articles in the Berliner Kalender. It explains his ambivalence to the East India Company as both boon and bugbear. His critique of Christian missionary zealotry and arrogance in India also fits very well his mood in the s and s, involving a much wider scrutiny of the phenomenon of religion itself, touched off by his brother Friedrich.
Someone who had to examine the role of religion in his own life, as Schlegel did, was in a good position to consider its effects when, as with Christian missionary activity in India, it developed into fanaticism and assumed cultural supremacy. These same essays also set Schlegel apart from academic Sankritists like Bopp or Lassen. They represent a voice addressed to a different audience, non-specialist, only generally informed and interested.
Nature description promises directly applicable results, and it follows that the present and future preoccupy the owners of the land more pressingly than the remote past. Of course the more exact knowledge gained of India in respect of its physical characteristics and its present state must be of no inconsiderable benefit to the investigation of its prehistory. Schlegel, too, sought to give his readers a physical description, but as a European who had never been there and had no intention of ever doing so, he had recourse to its ultimate European counterpart in the Swiss Alps and the conventions of the sublime.
This is Schlegel at his most spirited, and we might wish for more. The engravers of the Berliner Kalender in had encountered the same problem. To illustrate an article on the topography of India, they produced a distinctly Swiss-like veduta of the sources of the Ganges, a temple and some turbaned figures supplying the oriental costume.
They were integral to his whole existence; they represented the essential Schlegel. In that respect they cannot be divorced from the ups and downs of his private or academic life, although it is worth observing that more and more of his time and substance was being given up to these matters than to anything else.
It was part of other processes: What was needed was a new focus and status. His brother Friedrich had of course acted as a spur, but no more than that. August Wilhelm knew Sanskrit better and he edited texts that Friedrich had published in only partial or imperfect translations; nor would he follow Friedrich into philosophical speculation. He could draw on his own recent preoccupations. Where the text did not exist in a reliable form or was present in variants only, it must be re-established in a definitive edition.
This is what links his Nibelungenlied studies with his three Sanskrit editions: The Nibelungenlied , allowing for differences, was to serve a similar function in an even wider national consciousness: There was no concession to the non-expert. Readers had to know Sanskrit of course: Schlegel told Wilhelm von Humboldt that ten readers in Europe and Asia would suffice.
As he reminded his readers and interlocutors at every turn, the study of India encompassed the Sanskrit language and texts, but also philology and etymology, philosophy, theology, geography, astronomy, architecture. Above all language, without which the rest made little sense. But not everyone read Sanskrit, not everyone even read German. Had they been republished, these essays would have shown later readers a Schlegel not only setting out his encyclopedic knowledge of this fascinating area of human exploration and cultural transfer, but doing so in a highly readable fashion.
The subject involved whatever Europeans—Greeks, Portuguese, Dutch, French, British not forgetting Arabs —had brought back from India through trade or conquest and how in so doing they had made known an ancient civilization and its manifestations. All things considered, Schlegel is relatively lenient on the British political administration and its role in opening up the country both physically, through topographical survey and description, and culturally. His own brother Carl Schlegel had after all had his brief part in this process.
Mackintosh, Colebrooke, Malcolm, Johnston, Tod. It was also prescient: Despite all the necessary deference, Schlegel was able to drop his guard with Humboldt and postulate, Romantic-style, a primeval language in deep time, a primordial event akin to the moment of creation itself, when language came into being in all of its original forms.
Human amnesia, neglect, confusion, had led to the loss of originary form and expression; but Sanskrit was the language least affected by these abrading processes. Title page issued in As is so often the case with Schlegel, it is difficult to pin down its significance to one single factor. First and foremost, however, it was the only journal that he edited on his own. Then again conflicting priorities, as so often with him, became evident. It did sell copies, but it really was little more than an occasional miscellany. It could not escape the influence of the Asiatick Researches , published in Calcutta, nor could it shake off entirely the extreme eclecticism of those periodicals.
It was also a one-man band, or almost, with Schlegel as editor-in-chief and main contributor. By then oriental studies would stand on a much more secure footing than they did in , but even so there was no question of a journal devoted to India only. Schlegel did actually want to reach a wider educated audience, but then again he became increasingly disdainful of such a body, writing to Wilhelm von Humboldt that the Indische Bibliothek was not intended for entertainment. German, French and Latin were taken for granted, indeed the Indische Bibliothek was living proof, if any was needed, that German was a language of international academic and scholarly discourse and that one required it for the full spectrum of oriental studies.
The Indische Bibliothek could not adopt such an uncompromising stance towards its readers: It did no harm to remind Hardenberg in dedication and preface that the generosity of the Prussian state was not going to be expended on half measures. And so it was in these pages that Schlegel set out his knowledge of India, his aims, his principles, his disagreements with other Sanskritists; it was as near as he ever got to enunciating in public his most cherished views on India, the history of Sanskrit studies and their challenges as in that statement of intent originally written for an academic audience in Bonn , or an account of Sanskrit poetry with some samples.
It had slightly eighteenth-century echoes, of Eschenburg perhaps, of endeavours far back in the s, pioneering in their time, a connection with an older antiquarianism now of course overtaken by new academic scholarship. By , however, when Schlegel reissued the first volume, he had largely abandoned any concessions.
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Hereafter a knowledge of Sanskrit became increasingly desirable. The German lands had a population of about 5 or 6 million. The great majority were farmers, typically in a state of serfdom under the control of nobles and monasteries. From , new towns were founded around imperial strongholds, castles, bishops' palaces, and monasteries. The towns began to establish municipal rights and liberties see German town law. Several cities such as Cologne became Imperial Free Cities , which did not depend on princes or bishops, but were immediately subject to the Emperor.
Craftsmen formed guilds , governed by strict rules, which sought to obtain control of the towns; a few were open to women. Society was divided into sharply demarcated classes: Political tensions arose from issues of taxation, public spending, regulation of business, and market supervision, as well as the limits of corporate autonomy. Cologne's central location on the Rhine river placed it at the intersection of the major trade routes between east and west and was the basis of Cologne's growth.
It was the seat of the archbishops, who ruled the surrounding area and from to built the great Cologne Cathedral , with sacred relics that made it a destination for many worshippers. By the city had secured its independence from the archbishop who relocated to Bonn , and was ruled by its burghers. From the early medieval period and continuing through to the 18th century, Germanic law assigned women to a subordinate and dependent position relative to men. Salic Frankish law , from which the laws of the German lands would be based, placed women at a disadvantage with regard to property and inheritance rights.
Germanic widows required a male guardian to represent them in court. Social status was based on military and biological roles, a reality demonstrated in rituals associated with newborns, when female infants were given a lesser value than male infants. The use of physical force against wives was condoned until the 18th century in Bavarian law. Some women of means asserted their influence during the Middle Ages, typically in royal court or convent settings. Hildegard of Bingen , Gertrude the Great , Elisabeth of Bavaria — , and Argula von Grumbach are among the women who pursued independent accomplishments in fields as diverse as medicine, music composition, religious writing, and government and military politics.
Benedictine abbess Hildegard von Bingen — wrote several influential theological, botanical, and medicinal texts, as well as letters, liturgical songs, poems, and arguably the oldest surviving morality play , while supervising brilliant miniature Illuminations. About years later, Walther von der Vogelweide c. Around , Johannes Gutenberg of Mainz , used movable type printing and issued the Gutenberg Bible.
He was the global inventor of the printing press , thereby starting the Printing Revolution. Cheap printed books and pamphlets played central roles for the spread of the Reformation and the Scientific Revolution. By then, the emperors had lost their influence in Italy and Burgundy. Hildegard von Bingen — Walther von der Vogelweide c.
In the early 16th century there was much discontent occasioned by abuses such as indulgences in the Catholic Church, and a general desire for reform. In the Reformation began with the publication of Martin Luther 's 95 Theses ; he posted them in the town square and gave copies of them to German nobles, but it is debated whether he nailed them to the church door in Wittenberg as is commonly said. The list detailed 95 assertions Luther believed to show corruption and misguidance within the Catholic Church. One often cited example, though perhaps not Luther's chief concern, is a condemnation of the selling of indulgences ; another prominent point within the 95 Theses is Luther's disagreement both with the way in which the higher clergy, especially the pope, used and abused power, and with the very idea of the pope.
In Luther was outlawed at the Diet of Worms. A curious fact is that Luther spoke a dialect which had minor importance in the German language of that time. After the publication of his Bible, his dialect suppressed the others and evolved into what is now the modern German. In the German Peasants' War broke out in Swabia , Franconia and Thuringia against ruling princes and lords, following the preaching of Reformers. As many as , German peasants were massacred during the revolt.
From the Counter-Reformation began in Germany. The main force was provided by the Jesuit order , founded by the Spaniard Ignatius of Loyola. Central and northeastern Germany were by this time almost wholly Protestant, whereas western and southern Germany remained predominantly Catholic. But the treaty also stipulated that the religion of a state was to be that of its ruler Cuius regio, eius religio. Its causes were the conflicts between Catholics and Protestants, the efforts by the various states within the Empire to increase their power, and the Catholic Emperor's attempt to achieve the religious and political unity of the Empire.
The immediate occasion for the war was the uprising of the Protestant nobility of Bohemia against the emperor, but the conflict was widened into a European war by the intervention of King Christian IV of Denmark —29 , Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden —48 and France under Cardinal Richelieu. Germany became the main theatre of war and the scene of the final conflict between France and the Habsburgs for predominance in Europe.
The fighting often was out of control, with marauding bands of hundreds or thousands of starving soldiers spreading plague, plunder, and murder. The armies that were under control moved back and forth across the countryside year after year, levying heavy taxes on cities, and seizing the animals and food stocks of the peasants without payment. The enormous social disruption over three decades caused a dramatic decline in population because of killings, disease, crop failures, declining birth rates and random destruction, and the out-migration of terrified people.
It took generations for Germany to fully recover. The war ended in with the Peace of Westphalia. Alsace was permanently lost to France, Pomerania was temporarily lost to Sweden, and the Netherlands officially left the Empire. Imperial power declined further as the states' rights were increased. The German population reached about twenty million people, the great majority of whom were peasant farmers. The Reformation was a triumph of literacy and the new printing press. Luther's translation of the Bible into German was a decisive moment in the spread of literacy, and stimulated as well the printing and distribution of religious books and pamphlets.
From onward religious pamphlets flooded Germany and much of Europe. By over 10, publications are known, with a total of ten million copies. The Reformation was thus a media revolution. Luther strengthened his attacks on Rome by depicting a "good" against "bad" church. From there, it became clear that print could be used for propaganda in the Reformation for particular agendas. Illustrations in the newly translated Bible and in many tracts popularized Luther's ideas. Lucas Cranach the Elder — , the great painter patronized by the electors of Wittenberg, was a close friend of Luther, and illustrated Luther's theology for a popular audience.
He dramatized Luther's views on the relationship between the Old and New Testaments, while remaining mindful of Luther's careful distinctions about proper and improper uses of visual imagery. His bible promoted the development of non-local forms of language and exposed all speakers to forms of German from outside their own area. Decisive scientific developments took place during the 16th and 17th centuries, especially in the fields of astronomy, mathematics and physics.
The German astronomical community played a dominant role in Europe at this time, as its scientists kept in close touch with one another. Several non-German scientists influenced this community too, like astronomers Copernicus who worked in Poland and Tycho Brahe , who worked in Denmark and Bohemia. Copernicus, for example, was better known inside the German community. He is best known for his laws of planetary motion. His ideas influenced contemporary Italian scientist Galileo Galilei and provided one of the foundations for Englishman Isaac Newton 's theory of universal gravitation.
The Peace of Westphalia in strengthened it even further, through the acquisition of East Pomerania. From to , King Frederick William I , also known as the "Soldier King", established a highly centralized, militarized state with a heavily rural population of about three million compared to the nine million in Austria. In terms of the boundaries of , Germany in had a population of 16 million, increasing slightly to 17 million by , and growing more rapidly to 24 million by Wars continued, but they were no longer so devastating to the civilian population; famines and major epidemics did not occur, but increased agricultural productivity led to a higher birth rate, and a lower death rate.
Afterwards Hungary was reconquered from the Turks; Austria, under the Habsburgs, developed into a great power. Frederick II "the Great" is best known for his military genius, his reorganization of Prussian armies, his battlefield successes, his enlightened rule, and especially his making Prussia one of the great powers, as well as escaping from almost certain national disaster at the last minute. He was especially a role model for an aggressively expanding Germany down to , and even today retains his heroic image in Germany.
In the War of Austrian Succession — Maria Theresa fought successfully for recognition of her succession to the throne. After the Peace of Hubertsburg in between Austria, Prussia and Saxony , Prussia won recognition as a great power, thus launching a century-long rivalry with Austria for the leadership of the German peoples. From , against resistance from the nobility and citizenry, an " enlightened absolutism " was established in Prussia and Austria, according to which the ruler governed according to the best precepts of the philosophers.
The economies developed and legal reforms were undertaken, including the abolition of torture and the improvement in the status of Jews. Emancipation of the peasants slowly began. Compulsory education was instituted. In — Prussia took the lead in the partitions of Poland , with Austria and Russia splitting the rest. Prussia occupied the western territories of the former Polish—Lithuanian Commonwealth that surrounded existing Prussian holdings. Poland again became independent in Completely overshadowed by Prussia and Austria, according to historian Hajo Holborn , the smaller German states were generally characterized by political lethargy and administrative inefficiency, often compounded by rulers who were more concerned with their mistresses and their hunting dogs than with the affairs of state.
Bavaria was especially unfortunate in this regard; it was a rural land with very heavy debts and few growth centers. Saxony was in economically good shape, although its government was seriously mismanaged, and numerous wars had taken their toll. During the time when Prussia rose rapidly within Germany, Saxony was distracted by foreign affairs.
The house of Wettin concentrated on acquiring and then holding on to the Polish throne which was ultimately unsuccessful. Many of the city-states of Germany were run by bishops, who in reality were from powerful noble families and showed scant interest in religion. None developed a significant reputation for good government. He combined Enlightenment ideas with Christian values, cameralist plans for central control of the economy, and a militaristic approach toward diplomacy.
Hanover did not have to support a lavish court—its rulers were also kings of England and resided in London.
George III , elector ruler from to , never once visited Hanover. Baden sported perhaps the best government of the smaller states. Karl Friedrich ruled well for 73 years — and was an enthusiast for The Enlightenment ; he abolished serfdom in The smaller states failed to form coalitions with each other, and were eventually overwhelmed by Prussia. In the process, Prussia became too heterogeneous, lost its identity, and by the s had become an administrative shell of little importance.
In a heavily agrarian society, land ownership played a central role. Germany's nobles, especially those in the East — called Junkers — dominated not only the localities, but also the Prussian court, and especially the Prussian army. Increasingly after , a centralized Prussian government based in Berlin took over the powers of the nobles, which in terms of control over the peasantry had been almost absolute.
To help the nobility avoid indebtedness, Berlin set up a credit institution to provide capital loans in , and extended the loan network to peasants in When the German Empire was established in , the Junker nobility controlled the army and the Navy, the bureaucracy, and the royal court; they generally set governmental policies.
Peasants continued to center their lives in the village, where they were members of a corporate body, and to help manage the community resources and monitor the community life. In the East, they were serfs who were bound permanently to parcels of land. In most of Germany, farming was handled by tenant farmers who paid rents and obligatory services to the landlord, who was typically a nobleman. Peasant leaders supervised the fields and ditches and grazing rights, maintained public order and morals, and supported a village court which handled minor offenses.
Inside the family the patriarch made all the decisions, and tried to arrange advantageous marriages for his children. Much of the villages' communal life centered around church services and holy days. In Prussia, the peasants drew lots to choose conscripts required by the army. The noblemen handled external relationships and politics for the villages under their control, and were not typically involved in daily activities or decisions. The emancipation of the serfs came in —, beginning with Schleswig in The peasants were now ex-serfs and could own their land, buy and sell it, and move about freely.
The nobles approved for now they could buy land owned by the peasants. The chief reformer was Baron vom Stein — , who was influenced by The Enlightenment , especially the free market ideas of Adam Smith. A bank was set up so that landowners could borrow government money to buy land from peasants the peasants were not allowed to use it to borrow money to buy land until The result was that the large landowners obtained larger estates, and many peasants became landless tenants, or moved to the cities or to America.
The other German states imitated Prussia after In sharp contrast to the violence that characterized land reform in the French Revolution, Germany handled it peacefully. In Schleswig the peasants, who had been influenced by the Enlightenment, played an active role; elsewhere they were largely passive. Indeed, for most peasants, customs and traditions continued largely unchanged, including the old habits of deference to the nobles whose legal authority remained quite strong over the villagers. Although the peasants were no longer tied to the same land as serfs had been, the old paternalistic relationship in East Prussia lasted into the 20th century.
The agrarian reforms in northwestern Germany in the era — were driven by progressive governments and local elites. They abolished feudal obligations and divided collectively owned common land into private parcels and thus created a more efficient market-oriented rural economy, which increased productivity and population growth and strengthened the traditional social order because wealthy peasants obtained most of the former common land, while the rural proletariat was left without land; many left for the cities or America.
Meanwhile, the division of the common land served as a buffer preserving social peace between nobles and peasants. Around the Catholic monasteries, which had large land holdings, were nationalized and sold off by the government. A major social change occurring between —, depending on region, was the end of the traditional "whole house" "ganzes Haus" system, in which the owner's family lived together in one large building with the servants and craftsmen he employed.
No longer did the owner's wife take charge of all the females in the different families in the whole house. In the new system, farm owners became more professionalized and profit-oriented. They managed the fields and the household exterior according to the dictates of technology, science, and economics. Farm wives supervised family care and the household interior, to which strict standards of cleanliness, order, and thrift applied.
The result was the spread of formerly urban bourgeois values into rural Germany. The lesser families were now living separately on wages. They had to provide for their own supervision, health, schooling, and old-age. At the same time, because of the demographic transition, there were far fewer children, allowing for much greater attention to each child. Increasingly the middle-class family valued its privacy and its inward direction, shedding too-close links with the world of work. This allowed for the emergence of working-class organizations. It also allowed for declining religiosity among the working-class, who were no longer monitored on a daily basis.
Before the German upper classes looked to France for intellectual, cultural and architectural leadership; French was the language of high society. Christian Wolff — was the pioneer as a writer who expounded the Enlightenment to German readers; he legitimized German as a philosophic language. Prussia took the lead among the German states in sponsoring the political reforms that Enlightenment thinkers urged absolute rulers to adopt. However, there were important movements as well in the smaller states of Bavaria, Saxony, Hanover, and the Palatinate.
In each case Enlightenment values became accepted and led to significant political and administrative reforms that laid the groundwork for the creation of modern states. The reforms were aided by the country's strong urban structure and influential commercial groups, and modernized pre Saxony along the lines of classic Enlightenment principles. Johann Gottfried von Herder — broke new ground in philosophy and poetry, as a leader of the Sturm und Drang movement of proto-Romanticism. Weimar Classicism "Weimarer Klassik" was a cultural and literary movement based in Weimar that sought to establish a new humanism by synthesizing Romantic, classical, and Enlightenment ideas.
The movement, from until , involved Herder as well as polymath Johann Wolfgang von Goethe — and Friedrich Schiller — , a poet and historian. Herder argued that every folk had its own particular identity, which was expressed in its language and culture. This legitimized the promotion of German language and culture and helped shape the development of German nationalism.
Schiller's plays expressed the restless spirit of his generation, depicting the hero's struggle against social pressures and the force of destiny. German music, sponsored by the upper classes, came of age under composers Johann Sebastian Bach — , Joseph Haydn — , and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart — Kant's work contained basic tensions that would continue to shape German thought — and indeed all of European philosophy — well into the 20th century. The German Enlightenment won the support of princes, aristocrats, and the middle classes, and it permanently reshaped the culture.
Before the 19th century, young women lived under the economic and disciplinary authority of their fathers until they married and passed under the control of their husbands. In order to secure a satisfactory marriage, a woman needed to bring a substantial dowry. In the wealthier families, daughters received their dowry from their families, whereas the poorer women needed to work in order to save their wages so as to improve their chances to wed. Under the German laws, women had property rights over their dowries and inheritances, a valuable benefit as high mortality rates resulted in successive marriages.
The Age of Reason did not bring much more for women: Within the educated classes, there was the belief that women needed to be sufficiently educated to be intelligent and agreeable interlocutors to their husbands. However, the lower-class women were expected to be economically productive in order to help their husbands make ends meet. German reaction to the French Revolution was mixed at first. German intellectuals celebrated the outbreak, hoping to see the triumph of Reason and The Enlightenment.
The royal courts in Vienna and Berlin denounced the overthrow of the king and the threatened spread of notions of liberty, equality, and fraternity. Reformers said the solution was to have faith in the ability of Germans to reform their laws and institutions in peaceful fashion. Europe was racked by two decades of war revolving around France's efforts to spread its revolutionary ideals, and the opposition of reactionary royalty. War broke out in as Austria and Prussia invaded France, but were defeated at the Battle of Valmy The German lands saw armies marching back and forth, bringing devastation albeit on a far lower scale than the Thirty Years' War , almost two centuries before , but also bringing new ideas of liberty and civil rights for the people.
Prussia and Austria ended their failed wars with France but with Russia partitioned Poland among themselves in and The French took control of the Rhineland , imposed French-style reforms, abolished feudalism, established constitutions, promoted freedom of religion, emancipated Jews, opened the bureaucracy to ordinary citizens of talent, and forced the nobility to share power with the rising middle class.
Napoleon created the Kingdom of Westphalia — as a model state. When the French tried to impose the French language, German opposition grew in intensity. Napoleon established direct or indirect control over most of western Europe, including the German states apart from Prussia and Austria. The old Holy Roman Empire was little more than a farce; Napoleon simply abolished it in while forming new countries under his control.
Prussia tried to remain neutral while imposing tight controls on dissent, but with German nationalism sharply on the rise, the small nation blundered by going to war with Napoleon in Its economy was weak, its leadership poor, and the once mighty Prussian army was a hollow shell. Napoleon easily crushed it at the Battle of Jena Napoleon occupied Berlin, and Prussia paid dearly. Prussia lost its recently acquired territories in western Germany, its army was reduced to 42, men, no trade with Britain was allowed, and Berlin had to pay Paris heavy reparations and fund the French army of occupation.
Saxony changed sides to support Napoleon and join his Confederation of the Rhine; its elector was rewarded with the title of king and given a slice of Poland taken from Prussia. After Napoleon's fiasco in Russia in , including the deaths of many Germans in his invasion army, Prussia joined with Russia. Major battles followed in quick order, and when Austria switched sides to oppose Napoleon, his situation grew tenuous.
He was defeated in a great Battle of Leipzig in late , and Napoleon's empire started to collapse. One after another the German states switched to oppose Napoleon, but he rejected peace terms. Allied armies invaded France in early , Paris fell, and in April Napoleon surrendered. He returned for days in , but was finally defeated by the British and German armies at Waterloo. Prussia was the big winner at the Vienna peace conference, gaining extensive territory. Europe in was a continent in a state of complete exhaustion following the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars , and started to turn from the liberal ideas of the Enlightenment and Revolutionary era and to Romanticism under such writers as Edmund Burke , Joseph de Maistre , and Novalis.
Politically, the victorious allies set out to build a new balance of powers in order to keep the peace, and decided that a stable German region would be able to keep French imperialism at bay. To make this a possibility, the idea of reforming the defunct Holy Roman Empire was discarded, and Napoleon 's reorganization of the German states was kept and the remaining princes were allowed to keep their titles.
The German Confederation German: Deutscher Bund was the loose association of 39 states created in to coordinate the economies of separate German-speaking countries. It acted as a buffer between the powerful states of Austria and Prussia. Britain approved of it because London felt that there was need for a stable, peaceful power in central Europe that could discourage aggressive moves by France or Russia. According to Lee , most historians have judged the Confederation to be weak and ineffective, as well as an obstacle to German nationalist aspirations. It collapsed because of the rivalry between Prussia and Austria known as German dualism , warfare, the revolution, and the inability of the multiple members to compromise.
It was a transition from high birth rates and high death rates to low birth and death rates as the country developed from a pre-industrial to a modernized agriculture and supported a fast-growing industrialized urban economic system. In previous centuries, the shortage of land meant that not everyone could marry, and marriages took place after age After , increased agricultural productivity meant a larger food supply, and a decline in famines, epidemics, and malnutrition. This allowed couples to marry earlier, and have more children. Arranged marriages became uncommon as young people were now allowed to choose their own marriage partners, subject to a veto by the parents.
The high birthrate was offset by a very high rate of infant mortality and emigration, especially after about , mostly to the German settlements in the United States , plus periodic epidemics and harvest failures. The upper and middle classes began to practice birth control, and a little later so too did the peasants. Before Germany lagged far behind the leaders in industrial development — Britain, France, and Belgium.
In , Germany's social structure was poorly suited to entrepreneurship or economic development. Domination by France during the era of the French Revolution s to , however, produced important institutional reforms. Reforms included the abolition of feudal restrictions on the sale of large landed estates, the reduction of the power of the guilds in the cities, and the introduction of a new, more efficient commercial law. Nevertheless, traditionalism remained strong in most of Germany. Until mid-century, the guilds, the landed aristocracy, the churches, and the government bureaucracies had so many rules and restrictions that entrepreneurship was held in low esteem, and given little opportunity to develop.
From the s and s, Prussia, Saxony, and other states reorganized agriculture.
The Life of August Wilhelm Schlegel
The introduction of sugar beets, turnips, and potatoes yielded a higher level of food production, which enabled a surplus rural population to move to industrial areas. The beginnings of the industrial revolution in Germany came in the textile industry, and was facilitated by eliminating tariff barriers through the Zollverein, starting in By mid-century, the German states were catching up. By Germany was a world leader in industrialization, along with Britain and the United States.
Historian Thomas Nipperdey sums it up:. Industrialization brought rural Germans to the factories, mines and railways. After , the urban population grew rapidly, due primarily to the influx of young people from the rural areas. Berlin grew from , in , to , in ; Hamburg grew from , to ,; Munich from 40, to ,; and Dresden from 60, to , Offsetting this growth, there was extensive emigration, especially to the United States.
Emigration totaled , in the s, 1,, in the s, and , in the s. The takeoff stage of economic development came with the railroad revolution in the s, which opened up new markets for local products, created a pool of middle managers, increased the demand for engineers, architects and skilled machinists and stimulated investments in coal and iron. Political disunity of three dozen states and a pervasive conservatism made it difficult to build railways in the s.
However, by the s, trunk lines did link the major cities; each German state was responsible for the lines within its own borders. Economist Friedrich List summed up the advantages to be derived from the development of the railway system in Lacking a technological base at first, the Germans imported their engineering and hardware from Britain, but quickly learned the skills needed to operate and expand the railways.
In many cities, the new railway shops were the centres of technological awareness and training, so that by , Germany was self-sufficient in meeting the demands of railroad construction, and the railways were a major impetus for the growth of the new steel industry. However, German unification in stimulated consolidation, nationalisation into state-owned companies, and further rapid growth. Unlike the situation in France, the goal was support of industrialisation, and so, heavy lines crisscrossed the Ruhr and other industrial districts, and provided good connections to the major ports of Hamburg and Bremen.
By , Germany had 9, locomotives pulling 43, passengers and 30, tons of freight a day, and forged ahead of France. A large number of newspapers and magazines flourished; A typical small city had one or two newspapers; Berlin and Leipzig had dozens. The audience was limited to perhaps five percent of the adult men, chiefly from the aristocratic and middle classes, who followed politics. Liberal papers outnumbered conservative ones by a wide margin. Foreign governments bribed editors to guarantee a favorable image. After , strict press laws were used by Bismarck to shut down the Socialist, and to threaten hostile editors.
There were no national newspapers. Editors focused on political commentary, but also included in a nonpolitical cultural page, focused on the arts and high culture. Especially popular was the serialized novel, with a new chapter every week. Magazines were politically more influential, and attracted the leading intellectuals as authors. German artists and intellectuals, heavily influenced by the French Revolution and by the great German poet and writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe — , turned to Romanticism after a period of Enlightenment.
Philosophical thought was decisively shaped by Immanuel Kant — Ludwig van Beethoven — was the leading composer of Romantic music. His use of tonal architecture in such a way as to allow significant expansion of musical forms and structures was immediately recognized as bringing a new dimension to music. His later piano music and string quartets, especially, showed the way to a completely unexplored musical universe, and influenced Franz Schubert — and Robert Schumann — In opera, a new Romantic atmosphere combining supernatural terror and melodramatic plot in a folkloric context was first successfully achieved by Carl Maria von Weber — and perfected by Richard Wagner — in his Ring Cycle.
At the universities high-powered professors developed international reputations, especially in the humanities led by history and philology, which brought a new historical perspective to the study of political history, theology, philosophy, language, and literature. With Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel — in philosophy, Friedrich Schleiermacher — in theology and Leopold von Ranke — in history, the University of Berlin , founded in , became the world's leading university. Von Ranke, for example, professionalized history and set the world standard for historiography.
By the s mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology had emerged with world class science, led by Alexander von Humboldt — in natural science and Carl Friedrich Gauss — in mathematics. Young intellectuals often turned to politics, but their support for the failed Revolution of forced many into exile. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe — Alexander von Humboldt — Ludwig van Beethoven — Carl Friedrich Gauss — Two main developments reshaped religion in Germany.
Across the land, there was a movement to unite the larger Lutheran and the smaller Reformed Protestant churches. The churches themselves brought this about in Baden, Nassau, and Bavaria. His goal was to unify the Protestant churches, and to impose a single standardized liturgy, organization and even architecture.
The long-term goal was to have fully centralized royal control of all the Protestant churches. In a series of proclamations over several decades the Church of the Prussian Union was formed, bringing together the more numerous Lutherans, and the less numerous Reformed Protestants. The government of Prussia now had full control over church affairs, with the king himself recognized as the leading bishop. Opposition to unification came from the "Old Lutherans" in Silesia who clung tightly to the theological and liturgical forms they had followed since the days of Luther.
The government attempted to crack down on them, so they went underground. Tens of thousands migrated, to South Australia , and especially to the United States, where they formed the Missouri Synod , which is still in operation as a conservative denomination. Finally in a new king Frederick William IV offered a general amnesty and allowed the Old Lutherans to form a separate church association with only nominal government control. From the religious point of view of the typical Catholic or Protestant, major changes were underway in terms of a much more personalized religiosity that focused on the individual more than the church or the ceremony.
The rationalism of the late 19th century faded away, and there was a new emphasis on the psychology and feeling of the individual, especially in terms of contemplating sinfulness, redemption, and the mysteries and the revelations of Christianity. Pietistic revivals were common among Protestants.
Among Catholics there was a sharp increase in popular pilgrimages. In alone, half a million pilgrims made a pilgrimage to the city of Trier in the Rhineland to view the Seamless robe of Jesus , said to be the robe that Jesus wore on the way to his crucifixion. Catholic bishops in Germany had historically been largely independent Of Rome, but now the Vatican exerted increasing control, a new " ultramontanism " of Catholics highly loyal to Rome.
The government passed laws to require that these children always be raised as Protestants, contrary to Napoleonic law that had previously prevailed and allowed the parents to make the decision. It put the Catholic Archbishop under house arrest. In , the new King Frederick William IV sought reconciliation and ended the controversy by agreeing to most of the Catholic demands. However Catholic memories remained deep and led to a sense that Catholics always needed to stick together in the face of an untrustworthy government.
After the fall of Napoleon, Europe's statesmen convened in Vienna in for the reorganisation of European affairs, under the leadership of the Austrian Prince Metternich. The political principles agreed upon at this Congress of Vienna included the restoration, legitimacy and solidarity of rulers for the repression of revolutionary and nationalist ideas. Deutscher Bund was founded, a loose union of 39 states 35 ruling princes and 4 free cities under Austrian leadership, with a Federal Diet German: Bundestag meeting in Frankfurt am Main. It was a loose coalition that failed to satisfy most nationalists.
The member states largely went their own way, and Austria had its own interests. In a student radical assassinated the reactionary playwright August von Kotzebue , who had scoffed at liberal student organisations. In one of the few major actions of the German Confederation, Prince Metternich called a conference that issued the repressive Carlsbad Decrees , designed to suppress liberal agitation against the conservative governments of the German states.
Burschenschaften , removed liberal university professors, and expanded the censorship of the press. The decrees began the "persecution of the demagogues", which was directed against individuals who were accused of spreading revolutionary and nationalist ideas. In the Zollverein was established, a customs union between Prussia and most other German states, but excluding Austria. As industrialisation developed, the need for a unified German state with a uniform currency, legal system, and government became more and more obvious.
Growing discontent with the political and social order imposed by the Congress of Vienna led to the outbreak, in , of the March Revolution in the German states. But the revolution turned out to be unsuccessful: King Frederick William IV of Prussia refused the imperial crown, the Frankfurt parliament was dissolved, the ruling princes repressed the risings by military force, and the German Confederation was re-established by Many leaders went into exile, including a number who went to the United States and became a political force there.
The s were a period of extreme political reaction. Dissent was vigorously suppressed, and many Germans emigrated to America following the collapse of the uprisings. Frederick William IV became extremely depressed and melancholy during this period, and was surrounded by men who advocated clericalism and absolute divine monarchy. The Prussian people once again lost interest in politics. Prussia not only expanded its territory but began to industrialize rapidly, while maintaining a strong agricultural base. In , the king had a stroke and his brother William became regent, then became King William I in Although conservative, William I was far more pragmatic.
His most significant accomplishment was naming Otto von Bismarck as chancellor in The obstacle to German unification was Austria, and Bismarck solved the problem with a series of wars that united the German states north of Austria. In —64, disputes between Prussia and Denmark grew over Schleswig , which was not part of the German Confederation, and which Danish nationalists wanted to incorporate into the Danish kingdom. The dispute led to the short Second War of Schleswig in Prussia, joined by Austria, easily defeated Denmark and occupied Jutland. The Danes were forced to cede both the duchy of Schleswig and the duchy of Holstein to Austria and Prussia.
In the aftermath, the management of the two duchies caused escalating tensions between Austria and Prussia. The former wanted the duchies to become an independent entity within the German Confederation, while the latter wanted to annex them. The Prussian breech-loading needle guns carried the day over the slow muzzle-loading rifles of the Austrians, who lost a quarter of their army in the battle. Austria ceded Venice to Italy, but Bismarck was deliberately lenient with the loser to keep alive a long-term alliance with Austria in a subordinate role.
Now the French faced an increasingly strong Prussia. In , the German Confederation was dissolved. Austria was excluded, and the Austrian influence in Germany that had begun in the 15th century finally came to an end. The North German Federation was a transitional organisation that existed from to , between the dissolution of the German Confederation and the founding of the German Empire. Bismarck tried to foster alliances in Europe, on one hand to contain France, and on the other hand to consolidate Germany's influence in Europe. On the domestic front Bismarck tried to stem the rise of socialism by anti-socialist laws, combined with an introduction of health care and social security.
At the same time Bismarck tried to reduce the political influence of the emancipated Catholic minority in the Kulturkampf , literally "culture struggle". The Catholics only grew stronger, forming the Center Zentrum Party. Germany grew rapidly in industrial and economic power, matching Britain by Its highly professional army was the best in the world, but the navy could never catch up with Britain's Royal Navy.
In , the young and ambitious Kaiser Wilhelm II became emperor. He could not abide advice, least of all from the most experienced politician and diplomat in Europe, so he fired Bismarck. The Kaiser opposed Bismarck's careful foreign policy and wanted Germany to pursue colonialist policies, as Britain and France had been doing for decades, as well as build a navy that could match the British.
The Kaiser promoted active colonization of Africa and Asia for those areas that were not already colonies of other European powers; his record was notoriously brutal and set the stage for genocide. The Kaiser took a mostly unilateral approach in Europe with as main ally the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and an arms race with Britain, which eventually led to the situation in which the assassination of the Austrian-Hungarian crown prince could spark off World War I.
Disputes between France and Prussia increased. In , the Spanish queen Isabella II was expelled by a revolution, leaving that country's throne vacant. When Prussia tried to put a Hohenzollern candidate, Prince Leopold, on the Spanish throne, the French angrily protested. The debacle was swift. A succession of German victories in northeastern France followed, and one French army was besieged at Metz. After a few weeks, the main army was finally forced to capitulate in the fortress of Sedan.
The new government, realising that a victorious Germany would demand territorial acquisitions, resolved to fight on. They began to muster new armies, and the Germans settled down to a grim siege of Paris. The starving city surrendered in January , and the Prussian army staged a victory parade in it. It was a bitter peace that would leave the French thirsting for revenge. The German Empire was thus founded, with the German states unified into a single economic, political, and administrative unit.
The empire comprised 25 states, three of which were Hanseatic free cities. It was dubbed the "Little German" solution, since it excluded the Austrian territories and the Habsburgs. Bismarck, again, was appointed to serve as Chancellor. The new empire was characterised by a great enthusiasm and vigor. There was a rash of heroic artwork in imitation of Greek and Roman styles, and the nation possessed a vigorous, growing industrial economy, while it had always been rather poor in the past.
And yet, the nobles clung stubbornly to power, and they, not the bourgeois, continued to be the model that everyone wanted to imitate. He also was supreme commander-in-chief of the armed forces and final arbiter of foreign policy. But freedom of speech, association, and religion were nonetheless guaranteed by the constitution. Bismarck's domestic policies as Chancellor of Germany were characterised by his fight against perceived enemies of the Protestant Prussian state. In the Kulturkampf — , he tried to minimize the influence of the Roman Catholic Church and of its political arm, the Catholic Centre Party , through various measures—like the introduction of civil marriage—but without much success.
The Kulturkampf antagonised many Protestants as well as Catholics, and was eventually abandoned. Millions of non-Germans subjects in the German Empire, like the Polish, Danish and French minorities, were discriminated against,   and a policy of Germanisation was implemented. The new Empire provided rich new opportunities at the top for the nobility of Prussia, and the other states, to fill.
They dominated the diplomatic service, the Army, and the civil service. Through their control of the civil service, the aristocracy had a dominant voice in decisions affecting the universities and the churches. In , Germany's diplomats consisted of eight princes 29 counts 20 barons 54 other nobles, and a mere 11 commoners. The commoners were chiefly the sons of leading industrialists or bankers. Almost all the diplomats had been socialized into the feudal student corps at the universities. The consular corps comprised commoners, but they had little decision-making ability. It was considered a suitable role for young aristocrats.
With its large corps of reserve officers across Germany, the military strengthened its role as "The estate which upheld the nation. Power increasingly was centralized in the national capital of Berlin including neighboring Potsdam. Berlin's rapidly increasing rich middle-class aped and copied the aristocracy and tried to marry into it. The closed system stood in contrast to Britain where the top levels of the elite were far more open with routes available through a public school education, Oxford, and Cambridge, the Inns of Court, appointment to high office, or leadership in the House of Commons.
A peerage could permanently boost a rich industrial family into the upper reaches of the establishment. For example, of the mines in Silesia were owned by nobles or by the King of Prussia himself. Germany's middle class , based in the cities, grew exponentially, although it never gained the political power it had in France, Britain or the United States. The Bund Deutscher Frauenvereine Association of German Women's Organizations or BDF was established in to encompass the proliferating women's organizations that had sprung up since the s. From the beginning the BDF was a bourgeois organization, its members working toward equality with men in such areas as education, financial opportunities, and political life.
Working-class women were not welcome; they were organized by the Socialists. The rise of the Socialist Workers' Party later known as the Social Democratic Party of Germany , SPD , declared its aim to establish peacefully a new socialist order through the transformation of existing political and social conditions.
From , Bismarck tried to repress the social democratic movement by outlawing the party's organisation , its assemblies and most of its newspapers.
When it finally was allowed to run candidates, the Social Democrats were stronger than ever. Bismarck built on a tradition of welfare programs in Prussia and Saxony that began as early as the s. In the s he introduced old age pensions, accident insurance, medical care, and unemployment insurance that formed the basis of the modern European welfare state. His paternalistic programs won the support of German industry because its goals were to win the support of the working classes for the Empire and reduce the outflow of immigrants to America, where wages were higher but welfare did not exist.
Bismarck would not tolerate any power outside Germany—as in Rome—having a say in German affairs. He launched a Kulturkampf "culture war" against the power of the pope and the Catholic Church in , but only in Prussia. This gained strong support from German liberals, who saw the Catholic Church as the bastion of reaction and their greatest enemy.
The Catholic element, in turn, saw in the National-Liberals as its worst enemy and formed the Center Party. Catholics, although nearly a third of the national population, were seldom allowed to hold major positions in the Imperial government, or the Prussian government. After , there was a systematic purge of the remaining Catholics; in the powerful interior ministry, which handled all police affairs, the only Catholic was a messenger boy.
Jews were likewise heavily discriminated against. Most of the Kulturkampf was fought out in Prussia, but Imperial Germany passed the Pulpit Law which made it a crime for any cleric to discuss public issues in a way that displeased the government. Nearly all Catholic bishops, clergy, and laymen rejected the legality of the new laws and defiantly faced the increasingly heavy penalties and imprisonments imposed by Bismarck's government. Historian Anthony Steinhoff reports the casualty totals:. Bismarck underestimated the resolve of the Catholic Church and did not foresee the extremes that this struggle would attain.
In the following elections, the Center Party won a quarter of the seats in the Imperial Diet. The Center Party gained strength and became an ally of Bismarck, especially when he attacked socialism. Bismarck's post foreign policy was conservative and basically aimed at security and preventing the dreaded scenario of a Franco-Russian alliance, which would trap Germany between the two in a war.
It stated that republicanism and socialism were common enemies and that the three powers would discuss any matters concerning foreign policy. Bismarck needed good relations with Russia in order to keep France isolated. In —, Russia fought a victorious war with the Ottoman Empire and attempted to impose the Treaty of San Stefano on it. This upset the British in particular, as they were long concerned with preserving the Ottoman Empire and preventing a Russian takeover of the Bosphorus Strait. Germany hosted the Congress of Berlin , whereby a more moderate peace settlement was agreed to.
Germany had no direct interest in the Balkans, however, which was largely an Austrian and Russian sphere of influence, although King Carol of Romania was a German prince.