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Allgemeine Literatur Zeitung (search for this): chapter 5
s able to have for the remaining five months the comforts and luxuries he desires. I found him with Prof. Niemeyer; we were soon joined by Prof. Ersch, Prof. Jakobs, etc. The old gentleman's gay volubility, which indicated his literary fertility, kept everybody alive about him, and we passed two hours in a rational kind of happiness with him. . . . . In the evening we made a visit to old Hofrath Schurtz, editor of Aeschylus, and conductor, for I know not how many years, of the Allgemeine Literatur Zeitung. He was formerly professor at Jena; he is now above seventy years old, but possesses a vivacity remarkable even in a German man of letters. In good-nature he is said to surpass all his contemporaries. On this account, as Hermann told us, Wolf could never get along with him, for if he attacked Schurtz in conversation for any opinion whatever, Schurtz would always turn it off with a joke, and say nobody could be more willing to give up an opinion or a criticism than himself, for h
el that they have emancipated themselves rather than been emancipated by the government, are not willing to return to their original subjection. In consequence of this, the spirit of the government and the spirit of the people are now decidedly at variance, and time must determine which will prevail. To Mrs. E. Ticknor. Gottingen, July 21, 1816. . . . . In my own situation I know not that any change has taken place since I last wrote to you, excepting in our dinner society at old Judge Zacharia's. Madame Blumenbach and her daughter have gone to the baths at Ems for their health and amusement; and as the knight does not choose to eat his dinner quite alone, he dines with us. His unwearied and inexhaustible gayety of spirits, and his endless fund of curious and learned anecdote, make him at once the centre and life of a party, which, to be sure, was before neither very lifeless nor very sad. Every day he has something new and strange to tell; and as he takes a particular delight
Worcester (search for this): chapter 5
o not think you will be dissatisfied with my situation. To Edward T. Channing. Gottingen, June 16, 1816. . . . . In one of your last letters, dear Edward, you told me that your brother William The Rev. William Ellery Channing. would like to hear something about the kind of metaphysics taught in the schools here. I forgot at the moment to answer this inquiry, and should perhaps have forgotten it still longer, if I had not last week read his third pamphlet in the controversy with Worcester; and the natural desire which this excited, of recalling myself to the memory of one who had just given me so much pleasure, reminded me of his wish, and I determined to take the first leisure hour I should find to fulfil it. In the first place, it is necessary to take a few dates, to see how rapidly the metaphysical systems have followed each other. From 1790 to 1800 Kant ruled unquestioned through all Germany. For three or four years succeeding, Fichte was the lord of the ascendant,
F. A. Wolf (search for this): chapter 5
than in the forgotten heresies of Leibnitz and Wolf. So that you may set it down as an almost univthe last three days, I have seen a good deal of Wolf, the corypheus of German philologists, who is his work effected. It ended with the triumph of Wolf, though in the course of the controversy he disefeated. When Heyne's Iliad came out, in 1802, Wolf and Voss published one of the most cruel and sc a vignette in his Virgil of 1806. After this, Wolf seems to have been tolerably quiet at Halle, ting for whom I have so great a veneration as for Wolf. In genius he surpasses, perhaps, nearly all to scholars now on the Continent,—Wyttenbach and Wolf. Of his enemies he never spoke, unless it were854. When I was in Gottingen, in 1816, I saw Wolf, the most distinguished Greek scholar of the ti them without a dictionary! I was walking with Wolf at the time, and, on hearing this, he stopped, ay so. When I went from Gottingen to Berlin, Wolf told me to go to his house,—a bachelor establis[3 more...]<
J. J. Winckelmann (search for this): chapter 5
sgrace to Porson, and little to his publishers, are still an entire justification of all Schaffer had said in his preface . . . . Farewell. It is late, and I am tired, as I always am in a strange place, if it be only from seeing unwonted objects and faces. Still your Yankee friend, Geo. Journal. September 22.—In the afternoon we went through the gallery of pictures which has made Dresden so famous through the world; and, though I had read the admiration of Lessing, Herder, and Winckelmann, it surpassed my expectations. From looking at a collection of above thirteen hundred pieces an hour or two, I cannot of course say anything; but of the effect of one piece on my unpractised eye I cannot choose but speak, for I would not willingly lose the recollection of what I now feel. I mean the picture called the Madonna di San Sisto . . . I had often heard of the power of fine paintings, and I knew that Raphael was commonly reckoned the master of all imitation, and that this was o
al publication managed by Lessing; but this was so instantly succeeded and surpassed by the earliest works of Klopstock, Wieland, and Goethe, that it is evident the spirit of regeneration had long been working in the land, and that, if Lessing was tuse him to exertion, and that it is a great misfortune that he is now without such influence and example as when Herder, Wieland, and Schiller were alive. I asked what had been his relations with those extraordinary men. He replied that, from holding similar views in philosophy, Goethe and Schiller were nearest to each other, and Herder and Wieland; but that after the deaths of Schiller and Herder, Goethe became intimate with Wieland. Schiller, he said, had profited much by his connection Wieland. Schiller, he said, had profited much by his connection with Goethe, and borrowed much from his genius,—among other pieces, in his William Tell, which Goethe had earlier thought to have made the subject of an epic poem; but now they are all dead, and since 1813 Goethe has been alone in the world. He h
s late separation from his wife, that, in its circumstances and the mystery in which it is involved, it is so poetical, that if Lord Byron had invented it he could hardly have had a more fortunate subject for his genius. All this he said in a quiet, simple manner, which would have surprised me much, if I had known him only through his books; and it made me feel how bitter must have been Jean Paul's disappointment, who came to him expecting to find in his conversation the characteristics of Werther and Faust. Once his genius kindled, and in spite of himself he grew almost fervent as he deplored the want of extemporary eloquence in Germany, and said, what I never heard before, but which is eminently true, that the English is kept a much more living language by its influence. Here, he said, we have no eloquence,—our preaching is a monotonous, middling declamation,—public debate we have not at all, and if a little inspiration sometimes comes to us in our lecture-rooms, it is out of pla
J. H. Voss (search for this): chapter 5
e course of the controversy he discovered feelings which made good men regret that Heyne should have been defeated. When Heyne's Iliad came out, in 1802, Wolf and Voss published one of the most cruel and scurrilous reviews of it that ever flowed from the gall of offended pride, to which Heyne replied by a vignette in his Virgil oournal, published in England, that they knew of only two scholars now on the Continent,—Wyttenbach and Wolf. Of his enemies he never spoke, unless it were once of Voss, whose translation of Homer he ridiculed; and, though by a strange accident I walked with him this afternoon to the tomb of Heyne, it seemed to excite in him no feeen or twenty present this evening, and among them our old friend Knapp, Rudiger, who knows many languages, and looks like a raw farmer from the district of Maine, Voss, Professor of History, etc. The evening passed away pleasantly; there was little eating or drinking, but much amusing conversation, and at eleven o'clock everybody
ish theatres. Perhaps you will ask what I mean by all this tirade against other people's mistakes. I mean to show you by foreign proof that the German literature is a peculiar national literature, which, like the miraculous creation of Deucalion, has sprung directly from their own soil, and is so intimately connected with their character, that it is very difficult for a stranger to understand it. A Frenchman, or indeed any one of the Roman nations, generally makes as bad work with it as Voltaire with Shakespeare, and for the same reasons; for it deals with a class of feelings and ideas which are entirely without the periphery of his conceptions. An Englishman, too, if he studies it at home only, generally succeeds about as well,—but show me the man who, like Walter Scott, has studied it as it deserves, or, like Coleridge, has been in the country, and who has gone home and laughed at it. Mr. Rose, in Berlin, told me he would defy all the critics of his nation to produce such an ins
he early history of German literature which he has not found in it. Yet this is the way the Germans are every day judged by foreign nations. Fortunately, however, the grounds of accusation are so different that all cannot be true, and their incoherence and inconsistency are the best possible testimony to the ignorance of the persons who make them. To-day comes a Frenchman, and cries out, like Bonaparte, against the metaphysique tenebreuse du Nord; to-morrow comes another Frenchman, like Villers, and says he will build a bridge that shall conduct the empirics of France to the simplicity of German philosophy. Mad. de Stael complains of Goethe's tragedies for being too simple, and the Edinburgh Reviewers complain of them for being too artificial. You praise the Village Pastor, whose name I have never heard in Germany, except when I have inquired about it. The critics of the North say the reading of Schiller's Robbers makes an epoch in every man's life; from which remark, it is appa
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