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The Life of August Wilhelm Schlegel, Cosmopolitan of Art and Poetry

The Life of August Wilhelm Schlegel,  Cosmopolitan of Art and Poetry Roger Paulin
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-909254-95-4 £29.95
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Paulin’s impressive biography—which Open Book Publishers are to be commended for making freely downloadable in PDF from their website—reveals a Schlegel who, for all his engagement with history, was resistant to the historicist school of thought that was to dominate German historiography in the nineteenth century.

Nicholas Halmi, Romantic Circles (6 April 2017)

Roger Paulin’s ground-breaking and compendious but accessible publication […] marks a major reappraisal of its subject. Meticulously researched and impressively erudite, the book corrects our image of the man and demonstrates the breadth and depth of his achievements in disciplines ranging from European literary criticism to Indology, from translation to political pamphleteering. […] Paulin fully lives up to the challenges that such a multilingual, erudite, and polymathic subject poses, so that this work constitutes a monument not only to Schlegel but to his biographer.
—Stephanie Dumke, Modern Language Review, 112.3 (July 2017), 737-38.

Paulin has produced a work that will for long represent the standard biography. [...] Paulin presents us with an agreeably balanced and nuanced account of a complex and difficult subject. [...] Every scholar of Romanticism should be grateful that we at last have a modern scholarly account of August Wilhelm Schlegel that can stand comparison with such important biographies as Nicholas Boyle’s Goethe.
—Theodore Ziolkowski, Arbitrium, 35.1 (2017), 65.
Roger Paulin’s monumental biography of August Wilhelm Schlegel [...] – the first large-scale biography of August Wilhelm Schlegel in any language—presents a prodigious amount of learning in a readable and accessible form, helped by its division into many sub-chapters, and enlivened by a conversational, sometimes gently ironic tone. A welcome feature is an index which also includes the dates when the figures listed were born and died, and basic information about them. The more significant figures have short biographies provided in an appendix.
—Ritchie Robertson, 'The other Schlegel', The Times Literary Supplement, 7 September 2016

This comprehensive and elegant biography distils a lifetime of study to review Schlegel the writer and the man.
—John Claiborne Isbell, Société des études staëliennes, February 2016

Roger Paulin’s biography of August Wilhelm Schlegel presents a wide-ranging amount of information, not only about the ‘cosmopolitan’ himself, but on Germany and Europe of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century.
-Johannes Schmidt, Monatshefte, 109.3 (2017), 478-480.

Paulin has constructed a cohesive and comprehensive biography that can serve as both a general introduction for students and as a resource for scholars; it is invaluable for anyone with an interest in August Wilhelm Schlegel.
—Kristine Palmieri, Isis, 108.3 (2017), 705-706.

Read Roger Paulin's account on the genesis of this biography on our

This is the first full-scale biography, in any language, of a towering figure in German and European Romanticism: August Wilhelm Schlegel whose life, 1767 to 1845, coincided with its inexorable rise. As poet, translator, critic and oriental scholar, Schlegel's extraordinarily diverse interests and writings left a vast intellectual legacy, making him a foundational figure in several branches of knowledge. He was one of the last thinkers in Europe able to practise as well as to theorise, and to attempt to comprehend the nature of culture without being forced to be a narrow specialist. With his brother Friedrich, for example, Schlegel edited the avant-garde Romantic periodical Athenaeum; and he produced with his wife Caroline a translation of Shakespeare, the first metrical version into any foreign language. Schlegel's Lectures on Dramatic Art and Literature were a defining force for Coleridge and for the French Romantics. But his interests extended to French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese literature, as well to the Greek and Latin classics, and to Sanskrit.

August Wilhelm Schlegel is the first attempt to engage with this totality, to combine an account of Schlegel’s life and times with a critical evaluation of his work and its influence. Through the study of one man's rich life, incorporating the most recent scholarship, theoretical approaches, and archival resources, while remaining easily accessible to all readers, Paulin has recovered the intellectual climate of Romanticism in Germany and traced its development into a still-potent international movement. The extraordinarily wide scope and variety of Schlegel's activities have hitherto acted as a barrier to literary scholars, even in Germany. In Roger Paulin, whose career has given him the knowledge and the experience to grapple with such an ambitious project, Schlegel has at last found a worthy exponent.

The Department of German and Dutch, University of Cambridge, and Trinity College, Cambridge, have generously contributed towards the publication of this volume.

The Life of August Wilhelm Schlegel, Cosmopolitan of Art and Poetry
Roger Paulin | January 2016
xiv + 664 | 106 colour illustrations | 6.14" x 9.21" (234 x 156 mm)
ISBN Paperback: 9781909254954
ISBN Hardback: 9781909254961
ISBN Digital (PDF): 9781909254978
ISBN Digital ebook (epub): 9781909254985
ISBN Digital ebook (mobi): 9781909254992
ISBN Digital (XML): 9781783746347
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0069
BIC subject codes: D (Literature and literary studies) | DS (Literature: history and criticism) | BG (Biography: general); BISAC: BIO007000 (BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Literary Figures), HIS010000 (HISTORY / Europe / General); OCLC Number: 937393114.

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List of Abbreviations

1. Family, Childhood and Youth (1767-1794)
     ‘From One House Four Such Marvellous Minds’
     Johann Adolf Schlegel
     Growing Up in Hanover
     Childhood and Schooling
     Gottfried August Bürger: ‘Young Eagle’
     The First Translations
     Johann Dominik Fiorillo
     Caroline Michaelis-Böhmer
     Summer 1791-Summer 1795: Amsterdam, Mainz, Leipzig
     Caroline’s Tribulations
     Schlegel in Amsterdam
     ‘Du, Caroline und ich’: Friedrich Schlegel

2. Jena and Berlin (1795-1804)
2.1 Jena
     Die Horen
     Goethe and Schiller on the Attack: The Xenien
     Schlegel’s Reviews: Language, Metrics
     The Shakespeare Translation
     The Wilhelm Meister Essay
     The Jena Group
     The Genesis of the Athenaeum
     The Group Meets in Dresden
     Professor in Jena
     The Fichte Affair
     The Scandal of Lucinde
     Foregathering in Jena
     The First Strains
     The Death of Auguste Böhmer
     Elegies for the Dead and the Living
     Schlegel’s Contributions to the Athenaeum
     The Essays on Art
     Schlegel’s Lectures in Jena
2.2 Berlin (1801-1804)
     The End of Jena: Controversies and Polemics
     The Essay on Bürger
     Sophie Tieck-Bernhardi
     The Ion Fiasco
     Polemics, Caricatures and Lampoons
     Friedrich Schlegel’s Europa
2.3 The Berlin Lectures

3.The Years with Madame de Staël (1804-1817)
     Holding Things Together
     Germaine de Staël-Holstein
     Madame de Staël and Germany
     The Meeting of Staël and Schlegel
     Schlegel in Coppet
     In Italy with Madame de Staël 1804-1805
3.1 With Madame de Staël in Coppet and Acosta 1805-1807The Writer in Diaspora
     Considérations sur la civilisation en général
     On some Tragic Roles of Madame de Staël
     Corinne, ou l’Italie
     Swiss Journeyings with Albert de Staël
     Comparaison entre la Phèdre de Racine et celle d’Euripide (1807)
3.2 Vienna
     Travelling to Vienna with Madame de Staël
     Friedrich Schlegel: Rome and India
     The Vienna Lectures
     Lectures on Dramatic Art and Literature
     Further Travels
     Back to Coppet
     De l’Allemagne
     Holed up in Berne
     The Dash to Vienna
     De l’Allemagne: The Book Itself
     The Last Days in Coppet
3.3 The Flight: Caught Up in History
     Through Germany, Austria and Russia, to Sweden
     In the Service of Bernadotte: The Political Pamphleteer
     Political and Military Developments 1813-1814England and France The Return to Scholarship
     Italy, Coppet, Paris: The Death of Madame de Staël
3.4 Scholarly Matters
     Learned Reviews
     Medieval Studies
     The Nibelungenlied

4. Bonn and India (1818-1845)
4.1 Bonn
     ‘Chevalier de plusieurs ordres’
     Auguste and Albertine
     The European Celebrity
     Friedrich Schlegel in Frankfurt
     The University of Bonn
     The Bonn Professor
     The Carlsbad Decrees
     The Professor’s Day
     Teacher and Taught
     The Content of the Lectures
4.2 India
     The Indische Bibliothek
     Paris and London 1820-1823Educating the Young
     Paris and London Again
     The Sanskrit Editions

5. The Past Returns
     Friedrich Schlegel
     Ludwig Tieck
     The 1827 Art Lectures in Berlin
     Heinrich Heine
5.1 The Last Years 1834-1845
     The Works of Frederick the Great
     Illness and Death

Short Biographies
Select Bibliography
List of Illustrations

Roger Paulin
is Schröder Professor Emeritus at the University of Cambridge. His major interest is literary history from 1700-1900. His chief monograph publications have been on Ludwig Tieck (1985), on the German Novelle (1985), and on the reception of Shakespeare in Germany (2003). He has published numerous articles on Goethe, Kleist, Romanticism, and on German poetry from Klopstock to Rilke. In 2002 he was awarded a Humboldt Prize and in 2011 the Bundesverdienstkreuz.