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PERIOD THIRD. FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY TO THE PRESENT TIME (1700-1885.)

1. THE SAXONIC AND SWISS SCHOOLS.—In contrast to the barrenness of the last period, the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries present us with a brilliant constellation of writers in every department of letters, whose works form an era in the intellectual development of Germany unsurpassed in many respects by any other in the history of literature. Gottsched and Bodmer each succeeded in establishing schools of poetry which exerted great influence on the literary taste of the country. Gottsched (1700- 1766), the founder of the Saxonic school, exercised the same dictatorship as a poet and critic which Opitz had exercised at the beginning of the seventeenth century. He was the advocate and copyist of French models in art and poetry, and he used his widespread influence in favor of the correct and so-called classical style. After having rendered good service in putting down the senseless extravagance of the school of Lohenstein, he became himself a pedantic and arrogant critic; then followed a long literary warfare between him and Bodmer (1698-1783), the founder of the Swiss school. Gottsched and his followers at Leipsic defended the French and insisted on classical forms and traditional rules; Bodmer and his friends in Switzerland defended the English style, and insisted on natural sentiment and spontaneous expression. A paper war was carried on in their respective journals, which at length ended favorably to the Swiss or Bodmer's school, which, although the smaller party, obtained a splendid victory over its antagonist.

Many of the followers of Gottsched, disgusted with his pedantry, finally separated themselves from him and formed a new poetical union, called the Second Saxonic School. They established at the same time a periodical, which was at once the channel of their communications and the point around which they centred. The principal representatives of this school were Rabener (1714-1771), very popular for the cheerful strain of wit that runs through his satires, and for the correctness of his language and style; Gellert (1715-1769), whose “Fables” contain great moral truth enlivened by vivid pictures of life, full of sprightliness and humor, and expressed in a style of extraordinary ease and clearness; Kaestner (1719-1800), a celebrated and acute mathematician, and the author of many epigrams, elegies, odes, and songs; John Elias Schlegel (1718-1749), distinguished for his dramatic compositions; and Zachariae (1726-1777), endowed with a poetical and witty invention, which he displayed in his comic epopees and descriptive poems.

The following two poets were the most celebrated of them all: Hagedorn (1708-1754), whose fables and poems are remarkable for their fancy and wit; and Haller (1708-1777), who acquired an enduring fame as a poet, anatomist, physiologist, botanist, and scholar. Of inferior powers, but yet of great popularity, were: Gleim (1719-1803), upon whom the Germans bestowed the title of “father,” which shows at once how high he ranked among the poets of his time; Kleist (1715-1759), whose poems are characterized by pleasant portraitures, harmonious numbers, great ease, and richness of thought, conciseness of expression, and a noble morality; Ramler (1725-1798), who has been styled the German Horace, from his odes in praise of Frederic the Great; Nicolai (1733-1811), who acquired considerable fame, both for the promotion of literature and for the correction of German taste particularly, through his critical reviews; and Gessner (1730-1787), who gained a great reputation for his “Idyls,” which are distinguished by freshness of thought and grace and eloquence of style.

2. KLOPSTOCK, LESSING, WIELAND, AND HERDER.—Klopstock (1724-1803), inspired by the purest enthusiasm for Christianity, and by an exalted love for his fatherland, expressed his thoughts and feelings in eloquent but somewhat mystic strains. He was hailed as the herald of a new school of sacred and national literature, and his “Messiah" announced him in some respects as the rival of Milton. In comparing the Messiah with the “Paradise Lost,” Herder says: “Milton's poem Is a building resting on mighty pillars; Klopstock's, a magic picture hovering between heaven and earth, amid the tenderest emotions and the most moving scenes of human nature.”

Lessing (1729-1781) produced a reformation in German literature second only to that effected by Luther in theology. He was equally eminent as a dramatist, critic, and philosopher. His principal dramatic productions are “Emilie Galotti” and “Nathan the Wise.” As a critic he demanded creative imagination from all who would claim the title of poet, and spared neither friends nor foes in his efforts to maintain a high standard of literary excellence. The writings of Lessing exerted a commanding influence on the best minds of Germany in almost all departments of thought. They mark, and in a great measure produced, the important change in the tone of German literature, from the national and Christian character of Klopstock to the cosmopolitan character which prevails in the writings of Goethe and Schiller.

Wieland (1733-1813) was, in his youth, the friend of Klopstock, and would tolerate nothing but religious poetry; but he suddenly turned to the opposite extreme, and began to write epicurean romances as vehicles of his new views of human life and happiness. Among his tales are “Agathon,” “Musarion,” and “Aristippus,” which last is considered his best work. In all these writings his purpose was to represent pleasure or utility as the only criterion of truth. Although there is much in his prose writings to subject him to severe censure, he maintains his place in the literature of his native country as one of its most gay, witty, and graceful poets. His “Oberon” is one of the most charming and attractive poems of modern times.

Herder (1741-1803) was deeply versed in almost all branches of study, and exercised great influence, not only as a poet, but as a theologian, philosopher, critic, and philologist. He studied philosophy under Kant, and, after filling the offices of teacher and clergyman, he was invited to join the circle of poets and other literary men at Weimar, under the patronage of the Grand Duke Karl August. Here he produced a series of works on various subjects, all marked by a kindly and noble spirit of humanity. Among them are a treatise “On the Origin of Language,” an essay on “Hebrew Poetry,” and a work entitled “Ideas for the Philosophy of Humanity,” besides poetical and critical writings. In his collection of popular ballads from various nations he showed his power of appreciating the various national tomes of poetry.

The most noble feature in Herder's character was his constant striving for the highest interests of mankind. He did not employ literature as the means of satisfying personal ambition, and the melancholy of his last days arose from his lofty and unfulfilled aspirations.

His friend Richter said of him: “Herder was no poet,—he was something far more sublime and better than a poet,—he was himself a poem,—an Indian Greek Epic composed by one of the purest of the gods.”

3. GOETHE AND SCHILLER.—The close of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century, the age of Herder, Goethe, and Schiller, was one of remarkable intellectual excitement, and it has produced a literature richer, more voluminous, and more important than that of all preceding periods taken collectively.

The time extending between 1150 and 1300 has been styled the First Classic Period, and that we are now entering upon is regarded as the second. These two epochs resemble each other not only in their productiveness, but in the failure of both to maintain a distinct national school of poetry. In the thirteenth century the national epic appeared, but was soon neglected for the foreign legends and sentimental verses of the romancists and minnesingers. In the eighteenth century, when Lessing had made a path for original genius by clearing away French pedantry and affectation, there appeared some hope of a revival of true national literature. But Herder directed the literary enthusiasm of his time towards foreign poetry and universal studies, and a cosmopolitan rather than a national style has been the result; although for thoughtfuless and sincerity, and for the number of important ideas which it has brought into circulation, modern German literature may justly claim the highest honor.

Goethe (1749-1832) was a man of universal genius; he was born at Frankfort-on-the-Maine, and of his boyhood he gives a pleasant account in his work entitled “Poetry and Truth.” In 1773 the appearance of his “Goetz von Berlichingen,” a drama founded upon the autobiography of that national and popular hero, was regarded as the commencement of an entirely new period in German dramatic literature. It was followed, in 1774, by the sentimental novel, “The Sorrows of Werther,” in which Goethe gave expression to the morbid sentiments of many of his contemporaries. The Grand Duke of Weimar invited him to his court, where he was elevated to an honorable position. Here he produced his dramatic poems, “Iphigenia,” “Egmont,” “Tasso,” and “Faust,” besides many occasional poems and other works, and continued writing until his eighty-second year, while he varied his literary life with the pleasures of society.

As a poet, Goethe is chiefly known by his dramas, “Faust,” “Tasso,” and “Egmont;” his lyrical and occasional poems, and his domestic epic, entitled “Herman and Dorothea.” The first part of “Faust” is the poem by which the fame of this author has been most widely extended. Though incomplete, it is remarkably original, and suggests important reflections on human character and destiny. The narrative is partly founded on the old legend of Faust, the magician. We are introduced to the hero at the moment when he despairs of arriving at any valuable result, after years of abstruse study, and is about to put the cup of poison to his lips. The church bells of Easter Sunday recall to his mind the scenes of his innocent childhood, and he puts aside the cup and resolves to commence a new career of life. At this moment, his evil genius, Mephistopheles, appears, and persuades him to abandon philosophy and to enjoy the pleasures of the world. Faust yields to his advice, and after many adventures ends his career in crime and in misery. Many parts of the poem are written in a mystical vein, and intimate rather than express the various reflections to be deduced from it. The second part of “Faust” is remarkable for its varied and harmonious versification.

Goethe was a voluminous writer, and much devoted to the fine arts and the natural sciences, as is attested by his remarkable work on the theory of colors. He extended his wide sympathies over almost every department of literature.

The great merit of Goethe lies not so much in his separate productions, as in the philosophy of life and individual development which pervades his works, all of which, from “Faust,” his greatest achievement, to his songs, elegies, and shorter poems, have the same peculiar character, and are tinged with the same profound reflections. The service he rendered to the German language was immense. The clearness and simplicity of his prose style make the best model for the imitation of his countrymen. During his lifetime, professors of various universities lectured on his works, and other authors wrote commentaries on his productions, while his genius has been amply recognized in foreign countries, especially within the last thirty years.

Schiller (1759-1805) was born at Marbach, a town of Wurtemberg. At the age of fourteen he was admitted to the military academy at Stuttgart, where, in spite of its dull routine, he secretly educated himself as a poet. At the age of twenty-two, he gave to the world his tragedy of the “Robbers” (composed when he was only seventeen), in which his own wild longings for intellectual liberty found a turbulent and exaggerated expression. The public received it with great enthusiasm, as the production of a vigorous and revolutionary genius, and Schiller soon after escaped from the academy to try his fortune as a theatrical author. Accompanied by a young musician, with only twenty-three florins in his pocket, he set out for Manheim, on the night when the Grand Duke Paul of Russia paid a visit to Stuttgart, and all the people were too full of the excitement of the royal preparations and illuminations to observe the departure of the young poet. The good citizens did not dream that an obscure youth was leaving the city gate, of whom they would one day be far more proud than of the glittering visit of the Grand Duke. Yet the royal entrance is only now remembered because on that night young Schiller ran away; and the people of Stuttgart, when they would show a stranger their objects of interest, point first of all to the statue of Friedrich Schiller.

After many adventures, Schiller was appointed poet to the theatre at Manheim. At a later period he was made Professor of History at the University of Jena, a position for which his genius eminently fitted him, and every prospect of happiness opened before him. But his health soon failed, and, after a short illness, he expired at the early age of forty- five.

The principal works of Schiller are the dramas of “Wallenstein", “Marie Stuart", “The Maid of Orleans", “The Bride of Messina", and the celebrated ode called the “Song of the Bell”. Besides these, he wrote many ballads, didactic poems, and lyrical pieces. The “Song of the Bell” stands alone as a successful attempt to unite poetry with the interests of daily life and industry. In his lyrical ballads and romances, Schiller rises above the didactic and descriptive style, and is inspired with noble purposes. The “Cranes of Ibycus” and the “Fight with the Dragon” may be mentioned as instances. Schiller was so interesting as a man, a philosopher, a historian, and critic, as well as poet, that, as Carlyle observes, in the general praise of his labors, his particular merits have been overlooked. His aspirations in literature were noble and benevolent. He regarded poetry especially as something other than a trivial amusement,—as the companion and cherisher of the best hopes and affections that can be developed in human life.

While Goethe excels Schiller in completeness of aesthetical and philosophical perception, and in the versatility of his world-embracing and brilliant attainments, as a lover of his race, and as a poet who knew how to embody that love in the most exquisite conceptions, Schiller far surpassed him, and stands preeminent among all other poets. While Goethe represented the actual thoughts and feelings of his age, Schiller reflected its ideal yearnings; while the practical result of Goethe's influence was to develop the capacities of each individual to their utmost extent, Schiller's aim was to lead men to consecrate their gifts to the good, the beautiful, and the true, the ethical trinity of the ages. The one poet represents the majesty, and at the same time the tyranny of the intellect; the other, the power and the loveliness of the affections; and although Goethe will always receive the respect and admiration of the world, Schiller will command its love.

4. THE GOeTTINGEN SCHOOL.—This association was formed at the epoch of Goethe and Schiller, when poets such as no other times had produced started up in quick succession. The following are among the principal members of this school: Voss (1756-1826) is distinguished by a classical taste and great fluency of style. His “Louise” is a masterpiece of bucolic poetry. His “Idyls” are the best of his minor poems. Christian Stolberg (1748-1821) was the author of two dramas, many elegiac poems and translations from the Greek. Leopold Stolberg (1750-1817), his brother, was still more successful as a poet, and distinguished for his acute observation of the beautiful in nature. Hoelty (1748-1776) was a poet of the gentler affections, the eloquent advocate of love, friendship, and benevolence. Claudius (1743-1815), in his poetical productions, ranges through song, elegy, romance, and fable. Buerger (1748-1794) was remarkable as the author of wild, picturesque ballads and songs. His most celebrated poem is “Leonore", which was at one time known by heart all over Germany. Schubart (1739-1791), though not belonging to the Goettingen association, may be here referred to. His songs and poems evince a warm imagination, and his descriptions are true and beautiful. One of the most powerful writers of this period was Klinger (1753-1831), whose highly wrought productions reflected most vividly the vehemence of thought and feeling of his time, and whose drama, “Storm and Stress", gave the name to that peculiar school known as the Storm and Stress literature.

5. THE ROMANTIC SCHOOL.—The founders of the Romantic School, Novalis, the two Schlegels, and Tieck, opposed the system which held up the great masters of antiquity as exclusive models of excellence; they condemned this theory as cold and narrow, and opposed alike to the true interests of literature and progress. They pointed out the vast changes in religion, morality, thought, habits, and manners which separated the ancient from the modern world, and declared that to follow blindly the works of Virgil and Cicero was to repress all originality and creative power. From the times of Pericles or Augustus they turned to the Middle Ages, and, forgetting their crimes and miseries, threw around them a halo of illusive romance. It was not only in poetry that this reaction was visible—in art and architecture the same tendency appeared. The stiff and quaint but vigorous productions of the old German painters were drawn forth from the obscurity where they had long mouldered; the glorious old cathedrals were repaired and embellished; the lays of the minnesingers, collected by Tieck, were on every lip, and the records of the olden times were ransacked for historic and traditionary lore.

Although the Romantic School soon fell into extravagances which did much to diminish its influence, the whole of Germany was to some extent affected by it. The love for particular epochs led to researches in the language and antiquities, as such, as in Oriental studies, and during the calamitous period of the French invasion the national feeling was revived and kept alive by the stirring and patriotic songs which recalled the glories of the past.

The brothers Schlegel are more celebrated as philologists and critics than as poets; although their metrical compositions are numerous, they are wholly deficient in warmth, passion, and imagination. Tieck is more distinguished as a novelist than a poet, but even his prose tales are so pervaded by the spirit of poetry that they may be said to belong to this department.

Among other poets, Koerner and Arndt are best remembered by their patriotic songs, which once thrilled every German heart.

Seldom in romance or history is there found a more noble or heroic character than Theodore Koerner (1791-1813). Short as was his existence, he had already struck, with more or less success, almost every chord of the poetic lyre. His dramas, with many faults, abound in scenes glowing with power and passion, and prove what he might have achieved had life been spared to him. But it is his patriotic poems, his “Lyre and Sword,” which have invested the name of Koerner with the halo of fame and rendered his memory sacred to his countrymen.

The name of Arndt (1769-1860) is also associated in every German mind with the cause of national liberty; and his poems have incited many German hearts to the achievement of heroic deeds. His patriotic song, “Where is the German's fatherland,” is a universal favorite. Arndt is not less celebrated for his historical and scientific works than for his poems.

The Suabian School is represented by Uhland, Schwab, Kerner, and others who have enriched German poetry with many original lyrics. Uhland (1787- 1862) is the most distinguished ballad writer of the present age in Germany. The conceptions embodied in his poetry refer chiefly to the Middle Ages, and his stories are many of them founded on well-known legends.

Kerner (b. 1786) is more intrinsically romantic than Uhland, but he is equally at home in other species of composition. Schwab (1792-1850) is distinguished among the lyric poets. An epic tendency, combined with great facility in depicting scenery and describing events, is the main feature of his metrical romances.

Rueckert (1789-1866), one of the most original lyric poets of Germany, is distinguished for the versatility of his descriptive powers, the richness of his imagination, and his bold, fiery spirit. He has been followed by Daumer, Bodenstedt, and others.

The most remarkable poet whom Germany has produced in the present century is Heinrich Heine (1800-1856), and his poems are among the most fascinating lyrics in European literature. The delicacy, wit, and humor of his writings, their cruel and cynical laughter, and their tender pathos, give him a unique place in the literature of his country. A school of writers known as Young Germany was deeply influenced by Heine. Their object was to revolutionize the political, social, and religious institutions of the country. Boerne (d. 1837), the rival of Heine in the leadership of the party, was inferior to him in poetical power, but his superior in earnestness, moral beauty, and elevation. Boerne was the nightmare of the German princes, at whom he darted, from his place of exile in Paris, the arrows of his bitter satire. Some of his writings are among the most eloquent of modern German compositions. Prominent among the followers of Heine and Boerne are Gutzkow (b. 1811), a novelist, essayist, and dramatist; Laube (b. 1806); and Mundt (b. 1808).

From about 1830 a group of Austrian poets, more or less political in tendency, commanded the respect of all Germans, the chief among them was Count Auersperg, who, under the assumed name of Anastasius Gruen, wrote lyrical and other brilliant and effective poems. Of the writers who before 1848 attempted to force poetry into the service of freedom, the best known is Herwegh, who advocated liberty with a vehemence that won for him immense popularity. The poems of Freiligrath (1810-1876) have graphic force, and possess merit of a high order. He has a rich imagination, great power of language, and musical versification. Among the more distinguished contemporary poets, Hamerling is remarkable for the boldness of his conceptions, and the passionate vehemence of his expression.

6. THE DRAMA.—At the beginning of the eighteenth century, Gottsched and his followers had rendered good service to the stage, not so much by their own productions as by driving from it the bombast of Lohenstein. Lessing followed this movement by attacking the French dramas, which had hitherto been esteemed the highest productions of human genius, and by bringing forward Shakspeare as the true model of dramatic style. This attack was so successful that the influence of the French drama soon declined, and in the reaction, Greeks, Romans, kings and princesses were replaced by honest, tiresome burghers, with their commonplace wives and daughters, and the toga and tunic gave way to woolen petticoats and dress-coats. Everything like poetry, either in language or sentiment, was banished from the stage. Such was the state of things when Goethe appeared. His rapid glance at once discerned the poverty of dramatic art, and his flexible and many-sided genius set itself to supply the deficiency. His “Goetz von Berlichingen" illustrated the possibility of a dramatic literature founded upon national history and national character. His “Egmont” is a highly poetic and eloquent dramatization of that popular hero, and of the struggles of the Netherlands against the tyranny of Spain. His “Tasso" is a poem of psychological interest, illustrating a favorite maxim of the author that a poet, like every other artist, for his true development, needs education. “A hundred times,” says Goethe, “have I heard artists boast that they owed everything to themselves, and I am often provoked to add, 'Yes, and the result is just what might be expected.' What, let me ask, is a man in and of himself?”

The lesson of the drama of “Tasso” is this—that the poet cannot fulfill his duty by cultivating merely his imagination, however splendid and powerful it may be. Like all other men who would be good and great, he must exercise patience and moderation; must learn the value of self- denial; must endure the hardships and contradictions of the real world; contentedly occupy his place, with its pains and pleasures, as a part of the great whole, and patiently wait to see the beauty and brightness which flow from his soul, win their way through the obstacles presented by human society. The singular merit of this dramatic poem is this: that it is the fruit of genuine experience, adorned with the hues of a beautiful imagination, and clothed in classical language; but it is a work written for the few.

“Iphigenia” is a fine imitation of the ancient Greek style, but not well suited to the stage.

In his dramatic, as in all his other works, the only end and aim of Goethe was to carry to perfection the art in which he was so great a master. Virtue and vice, truth and falsehood, are each portrayed with the same graceful complacency and the same exquisite skill. His immense and wide- spreading influence renders this singular indifference, which seems to confound the very sense of right and wrong, doubly lamentable.

In plastic skill and variety, the dramatic creations of Schiller are regarded, in some respects, inferior to those of Goethe, but they all glow with the love of true goodness and greatness, and with an enthusiasm for virtue and liberty which communicates itself, as by an electric spark, to his readers. The violent tone of Schiller's first tragedy, the “Robbers,” was suggested by other theatrical writers of the period, who esteemed wildness and absurdity the chief characteristics of poetical genius. Schiller gave to his dramatic works more movement and popular interest than can be found in Goethe's dramas, but yielded in some instances to the sentimental tone so prevalent in German poetry. “Fiesco” was written in a better style than the “Robbers,” though less suited to please the low theatrical taste of the time. “Don Carlos” showed more maturity of thought, and is pervaded by a coloring of poetic sentiment; “Wallenstein” won for the poet a universal reputation in his native land, and was translated into English by Coleridge. “Marie Stuart,” the “Maid of Orleans,” and the “Bride of Messina,” contributed still more to increase the poet's fame. “Wilhelm Tell” was the most popular of Schiller's plays, and is still esteemed by some as his best production. Here the love of liberty, so wildly expressed in the “Robbers,” appears in its true and refined character.

Kotzebue (1760-1819) was one of the most successful playwrights of Germany. He composed an almost countless number of plays, and his plots were equally versatile and amusing; but he was entirely destitute of poetic and moral beauty. His opposition to liberal principles caused him to be regarded as the enemy of liberty, and to be assassinated by an enthusiastic student named George Sand, who, on obtaining admittance to him under the pretense of business, stabbed him to the heart.

While the influence of the Romantic School tended to invest all poetry with a dreamy and transcendental character, in the drama it was mingled with stormy and exciting incidents, often carried to the extreme of exaggeration and absurdity. The Romancists dealt almost exclusively with the perturbed elements of the human mind and the fearful secrets of the heart. They called to their aid the mysteries of the dark side of nature, and ransacked the supernatural world for its marvels and its horrors. The principal of these “Power Men,” as they were called, are Muellner, Werner, Howald, and Grillparzer.

Muellner (1774-1829) displayed no common order of poetic genius; but the elements of crime, horror, and remorse often supply the place of originality of thought and delineation of character. Werner (1768-1823), after a youth of alternate profligacy and remorse, embraced the Catholic faith and became a preacher. His dramas of “Martin Luther,” “Attila,” and the “Twenty-ninth of February,” have rendered him one of the most popular authors in Germany. Grillparzer (b. 1790) is the author of a drama entitled the “Ancestress.” The wildest dreams of Muellner and Werner sink into insignificance before the extravagance of this production, both in language and sentiment. The “Sappho” of this author displays much lyric beauty. Iffland (1759-1814) was a fertile but dull dramatist. One of the best national tragedies was written by Muench Bellinghausen. Charlotte Birchpfeifer has dramatized a great number of stories. Raupach (1784-1852) was one of the most able of recent German writers of plays, Gutzkow is distinguished among contemporary dramatists; and Freytag and Bauernfeld are excellent writers of comedy. Kleist (d. 1811) was also a distinguished writer of dramas of the Romantic School. Mosenthal, the author of “Deborah,” has achieved distinction by aiming at something higher than stage effect.

7. PHILOSOPHY.—The appearance of Kant (1724-1804) created a new era in German philosophy. Previous to his time, the two systems most in vogue were the sensualism of Locke and his followers and the idealism of Leibnitz, Wolf, and others. Kant, in his endeavors to ascertain what we can know and what we originally do know, was led to the fundamental laws of the mind, and to investigate original or transcendental ideas, those necessary and unchangeable forms of thought, without which we can perceive nothing. For instance, our perceptions are submitted to the two forms of time and space. Hence these two ideas must be within us, not in the objects and not derived from experience, but the necessary and pure intuitions of the internal sense. The work in which Kant endeavored to ascertain those ideas, and the province of certain human knowledge, is entitled the “Critique of Pure Reason,” and the doctrines there expounded have been called the Critical Philosophy and also the Transcendental. In the “Critique of Practical Reason” the subject of morals is treated, and that of aesthetics in the “Observations on the Sublime and Beautiful.”

The advent of Kant created a host of philosophical writers and critics, and besides Lessing and Herder there were Moses Mendelssohn, Hamann (the Magus of the North), Reinhold, Jacobi, and many others who speculated in various directions upon the most momentous problems of humanity and of the human soul.

Fichte (1762-1814) carried the doctrine of Kant to its extreme point, and represented all that the individual perceives without himself, or all that is distinguished from the individual, as the creation of this I orego; that the life of the mind is the only real life, and that everything else is a delusion.

Schelling (1775-1854), in his “Philosophy of Identity,” argues that the same laws prevail throughout the material and the intellectual world. His later writings contain theories in which the doctrines of Christianity are united with philosophical speculations. The leading principle of Schelling is found in a supposed intuition, which he describes as superior to all reasoning, and admitting neither doubt nor explanation. Coleridge adopted many views of this philosopher, and some of his ideas may be found in the contemplative poems of Wordsworth.

Hegel (1770-1831), in his numerous, profound, and abstruse writings, has attempted to reduce all the departments of knowledge to one science, founded on a method which is expounded in his work on Logic. The “Identity System” of Schelling and the “Absolute Logic” of Hegel have already produced an extensive library of philosophical controversy, and the indirect influence of the German schools of philosophy has affected the tone of the literature in France, England, America, Denmark, and Sweden. The effect of German philosophy has been to develop intense intellectual activity. The habit of searching into the hidden mysteries of being has inclined the German mind to what is deepest, and sometimes to what is most obscure in thought; and the tendency to rise to the absolute, which is characteristic of this philosophy, manifests its influence not only in the blending of poetry and metaphysics, but in every department of science, literature, and art. The literary theory thus developed, that ideal beauty and not the imitation of nature is the highest principle of art, is everywhere applied even to the study of the great monuments of the past, and in the writings of the German archaeologists new youth seems to spring from the ruins of the ancient world. The physical sciences are also introduced into that universal sphere of ideas where the most minute observations, as well as the most important results, pertain to general interests.

From 1818 to the time of his death, in 1831, the influence of Hegel dominated the highest thought. Later, his school broke into three divisions; Ruge, one of the most brilliant writers of the school, led the extreme radicals; Strauss resolved the narratives of the gospel into myths, and found the vital elements of Christianity in its spiritual teaching; while Feuerbach urged that all religion should be replaced by a sentiment of humanity. Ulrici and the younger Fichte exercised considerable influence as advocates of a pantheistic doctrine which aims to reconcile religion and science. None of these names, however, have the importance which attaches to that of Schopenhauer (d. 1860), who, at the present day, stirs a deeper interest than any other thinker. His main doctrine is that Will is the foundation principle of existence, the one reality in the universe, and all else is mere appearance. History is a record of turmoil and wretchedness, and the world and life essentially evil. High moral earnestness and great literary genius are shown in his graphic and scornful pictures of the darker aspects of the world.

Van Hartmann, the most prominent leader of the Pessimistic School (1842- 1872), the latest original thinker of Germany, in his “Philosophy of the Unconscious,” follows essentially the same line of thought. He assumes that there is in nature a blind, impersonal, unconscious, all-pervading will and idea, a pure and spiritual activity, independent of brain and nerve, and manifesting itself in thought, emotion, instinct, morals, language, perception, and history. He teaches that this is the last principle of philosophy, described by Spinoza as substance, by Fichte as the absolute I, by Plato and Hegel as the absolute idea, and by Schopenhauer as Will. He believes the world to be utterly and hopelessly bad, and the height of wisdom to suppress the desire to live. At the same time he believes that there is no peace for the heart and intellect until religion, philosophy, and science are seen to be one, as root, stem, and leaves are all organic expressions of one same living tree.

8. MISCELLANEOUS WRITINGS.—The best German minds of the nineteenth century have been absorbed by severe labor in all branches of learning and the sciences. Many memoirs of eminent persons have appeared, and many books of travel, since the days of George Forster (1754-1794), the teacher of Humboldt and the inaugurator of a new scientific and picturesque school of the literature of travel. Lichtenstein has written his travels in Southern Africa; Prince Maximilian von Wied and Martius, in Brazil; Poeppig, in Chili, Peru, etc.; Burmeister and Tschudi, in South America; Lepsius and Brugsch, in Egypt; and more recently, Guetzlaff, in China; Siebold, in Japan; Barth and Vogel, in Africa; Leichhardt, in Australia; the brothers Schlagintweit, one of whom fell a victim to his zeal, in Asia; and Ida Pfeiffer (1797-1858), a woman of rare intrepidity, who visited, mostly on foot, the most remote regions of the globe. Another tourist and voluminous writer is Kohl (b. 1808). Qualities rarely united in one individual met in the character of Alexander von Humboldt (1769- 1859), an enterprising traveler, a man of extensive science, and an accomplished writer. Accompanied by his friend Bonpland, he visited South America, and after five years of adventurous research among the wonders of nature, he returned, and prepared for the press the results of his travels—the “Aspects of Nature,” “Picturesque Views of the Cordilleras,” and “Travels in the Equinoctial Regions of America.” This veteran student produced at an advanced age a remarkable work entitled “Cosmos,” containing the results of a long life of observation and contemplation. In the first part he gives general views of the economy of nature, while in the second we find ingenious speculations regarding the influence of nature on human society, in its various stages of culture.

The Chevalier Bunsen (d. 1860) celebrated by his theological and historico-philosophical researches, has written, among other works, one on the “Position of Egypt in the History of the World,” which is a learned dissertation on the antiquities and especially on the primitive language of Egypt.

In the periodicals of Germany every department of letters and science is represented, and through the book-fairs of Leipsic all the literature of the ancient and modern world passes. They are the magazines of the productions of all nations. Every class of contending tastes and opinions is represented and all the contrasts of thought which have been developed in the course of ages meet in the Leipsic book-market.

SCIENCE.—The growth of science has been one of the most powerful factors in the recent development of Germany, and some of the best works present in a popular form the results of scientific labor. Among these the first place belongs to the “Cosmos” of Humboldt. Although no longer in accordance with the best thought, it has enduring merit from the author's power of handling vast masses of facts, his poetic feeling and purity and nobility of style.

In chemistry Liebig (d. 1873) is widely and popularly known; DuBois-Raymond has made great researches in animal electricity, physics, and physiology; Virchow in biology; Helmholtz in physiological optics and sound; Haeckel has extended the theories and investigations of Darwin, and all have made admirable attempts to render science intelligible to ordinary readers.

With the death of Goethe began a new era in German literature not yet closed. The period has been one of intense political excitement, and while much of the best of the nation has been devoted to politics there has also been great literary activity deeply influenced by the practical struggles, hopes, and fears of the time. There has been a tendency in German writers hitherto to neglect the laws of expression, although their writings have evinced great originality and power of imagination, owing doubtless to the fact that they were addressed only to particular classes of readers. But since the political unity of the country has been accomplished, increasing numbers of thinkers and scholars have appealed to the whole nation, and, in consequence, have cultivated more directness and force of style.

NOVELS, ROMANCES, AND POPULAR LEGENDS.—Poetry and prose fiction form the general literature of a nation, and are distinguished from the literature of the study or from special literature, which consists chiefly of books for the use of distinct classes or parties. Fiction borders closely on the province of history, which, in its broad and comprehensive outlines, must necessarily leave unnoticed many of the finer lights and shades of human life, descriptions of motives, private characters, and domestic scenes. To supply these in the picture of humanity is the distinct office of fiction, which, while free in many respects, should still be essentially true. The poetry and fiction of a country should be the worthy companion to its history. The true poet should be the interpreter and illustrator of life. While the historian describes events and the outward lives of men, the poet penetrates into the inner life, and portrays the spirit that moves them. The historian records facts; the poet records feelings, thoughts, hopes, and desires; the historian keeps in view the actual man; the poet, the ideal man; the historian tells us what man has been; the poet reminds us either in his dreams of the past, or in his visions of the future, what man can be; and the true poet who fulfills such a duty is as necessary to the development and education of mankind as the historian.

The numerous fictitious works of Germany may be arranged in four different classes. The first, comprehending historical romances, affords few writers who bear comparison with Scott. In the second class, containing novels which describe characters and scenes in real life, German literature is also comparatively poor. The third class comprises all the fictions marked by particular tendencies respecting art, literature, or society. In the fourth class, which includes imaginative tales, German literature is especially rich. To this department of fiction, in which the imagination is allowed to wander far beyond the bounds of real life and probability, the Germans apply distinctively the term poetical. In these imaginative and mystical fictions there is an important distinction between such tales as convey moral truth and interest under an array of visionary adventures, and those which are merely fantastic and almost destitute of meaning.

Goethe's novel, “Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship,” may be classed with fictions intended to convey certain views of life; but its chief defect is, that the object of the writer remains in a mist, even at the end of the story. The “Elective Affinities,” while it contains many beauties as a work of art, is objectionable in a moral point of view.

Jean Paul Richter (1763-1825) describes human life in all its aspects of light and shade, and his voluminous works embrace all subjects, from the highest problems of transcendental philosophy and the most passionate poetical delineations to “Instructions in the Art of Falling Asleep;” but his essential character, however disguised, is that of a philosopher and moral poet, whose study has been human nature, and whose delight is in all that is beautiful, tender, and mysteriously sublime in the fate or history of man. Humor is the ruling quality of his mind, the central fire that pervades and vivifies his whole being. The chief productions of Jean Paul (the title under which he wrote) are novels, of which “Hesperus” and “Titan” are considered his masterpieces. These and the charming prose idyl, “The Years of Wild Oats,” keep their place as works of permanent excellence. In his famous “Dream,” in which he describes a universe without religion, he rises to the loftiest height of imagination.

Tieck (1773-1853) was at once a novelist, poet, and critic; but his fairy tales have perhaps rendered him most popular. His fancy was brilliant and sportive, and his imagination varied and fantastic. The world of his creation was peopled by demons who shed their malignant influence on mankind, or by spirits such as the Rosicrucians had conjured up, nymphs of the air, the woods, or waters. These airy visions he wove into form and shape with a master hand, and he invested even the common objects of life with a supernatural hue. At times he seems almost to have acquired a closer intimacy with nature than that granted to common men, and to have dived into the secret of her operations and the working of her laws. But while Tieck is unrivaled in the world of phantasy, he becomes an ordinary writer when he descends to that of daily life.

Hardenberg, known by the assumed name of Novalis (1772-1801), by his unsullied character, his early death, and the mystic tone of his productions, was long regarded with an enthusiasm which has now greatly declined. His romance, “Henry von Ofterdingen,” contains elements of beauty, but it deals too exclusively with the shadowy, the distant, and the unreal. His “Aphorisms” are sometimes deep and original, but often paradoxical and unintelligible.

La Motte Fouque (1777-1843) is best known by his charming story of “Undine,” founded on one of those traditions in which the ancient fairy mythology of Germany abounded. Undine, a beautiful water-spirit, wins the heart of a noble knight, and consents to be his bride. We have seen it was only through the union with a being of mortal mould that the spirits of air and water could obtain the gift of a soul. But before giving her hand to her lover, Undine reminds him that the relentless laws of her race condemn her to become herself the instrument of his destruction if he should break his plighted vow. The knight accepts the conditions, and for a time he remains true to his beautiful wife. But at length, weary of her charms, he seeks the daughter of a neighboring baron for his bride, and in the midst of the wedding festivities the faithless knight is suffocated by an embrace from Undine, who is forced by the race of spirits thus to destroy him. The sweetness and pathos of this tale and its dream-like beauty have given it a place among those creations which appeal to all the world, and do not depend for their popularity on the tendencies of any particular age.

Chamisso (1781-1836), one of the most popular poets of Germany, was the author of “Peter Schlemihl,” a well-known tale describing the adventures of a man who sold his shadow for a large sum of money, and found afterward that he had made a very bad bargain. The moral it seems to indicate is that gold is dearly obtained at the sacrifice of any part, even of the shadow, of our humanity.

Hoffmann (1776-1822) surpassed all other imaginative writers in inventing marvelous incidents, while he was inferior to many of them in poetical genius. His stories mingle the circumstances of real life with grotesque and visionary adventures.

Zschokke (1771-1847) was remarkable as a man and an author. His literary activity extended over more than half a century, and his tales and miscellaneous writings have had extensive popularity. His studies were generally directed toward human improvement, as in “The Goldmaker's Village,” where he describes the progress of industry and civilization among a degraded population.

Of the other numerous writers of fiction the names of a few only can be mentioned.

Theresa Huber (1764-1829) was the authoress of several popular novels. Benedicte Naubert wrote several historical romances mentioned by Scott as having afforded him some suggestions. Caroline Pichler's “Tales” were accounted among the best fictions of her times. Henriette Hanke produced eighty-eight volumes of domestic narratives and other writings of a moral character; the Countess Hahn-Hahn follows the tendencies of Madame Dudevant (George Sand), though with less genius.

Brentano, the author of “Godiva,” and Arnim, author of the “Countess Dolores,” may also be mentioned among the remarkable writers of fantastic romances.

Bettina (1785-1859), the sister of Brentano, and the wife of Arnim, who resembles these authors in her imaginative character, wrote a singularly enthusiastic book, entitled, “Goethe's Correspondence with a Child.” Imaginative pictures in words, interspersed with sentiments, characterize the writings of Bettina and many other romancists, while they show little power in the construction of plots and the development of character.

Among the more renowned female writers are Auguste von Paalzow, Amalie Schoppe, Johanna Schoppenhauer, Friederike Brun, Talvi (Mrs. Robinson). Henriette Herz (1764-1841) and Rahel (1771-1844) also occupied a brilliant position in the literary and social world. The latter was the wife of Varnhagen von Ense (d. 1859), the most able and attractive biographical writer of Germany. Wilhelm Haering (Wilibald Alexis) is particularly eminent as a romance writer.

The historical novelists of the early part of this century, as Van der Velde, Spindler, Rellstab, Storch, and Rau, have been succeeded by Koenig, Heller, and several others. Good French and English novels are translated into German, almost immediately after their appearance, and the comparative scarcity of interesting German novels is accounted for by the taste for this foreign literature, and also by the increasing absorption of literary talent in the periodical press. Schucking is remarkable for his power of vividly conceiving character. Fanny Lewald is artistic in her methods and true and keen in her observation of life; and among novelists of simple village life Auerbach (1812-1883) takes the first place. Gustave Freytag (b. 1816), whose “Debit and Credit” is an intensely realistic study of commercial life, is also one of the distinguished writers of fiction.

The popular legends of Germany are numerous and characteristic of the country. These narratives are either legends of local interest, associated with old castles, or other antiquities, or they are purely fabulous. Though they are sometimes fantastic and in their incidents show little respect to the laws of probability, they are genuine and fairly represent the play of the popular imagination; while under their wild imagery they often convey symbolically a deep and true meaning,

LITERARY HISTORY AND CRITICISM.—Modern German literature is singularly rich in this department. In the Republic of Letters, German students have found the liberty they could not enjoy in actual life, and this cause has promoted investigation in ancient and modern literature. Poets, historians, philosophers, and other writers have been studied and criticised, not merely as authors, but with especial reference to their respective contributions to the progress of ideas and the movements of society. Some of the most eminent German critical writers have already been mentioned under various preceding heads. Winckelmann (1717-1768) devoted himself with enthusiasm to the study of antique sculpture, and wrote elegant dissertations on the grace and beauty of the works of ancient art. His writings display true enthusiasm and refined taste. It may be said that the school of art-criticism in Germany owes its origin to the studies of Winckelmann. The critical writings of Herder were more remarkable for the impulse which they gave to the studies of authors than for their intrinsic merits. Goethe in his prose writings showed with what grace and precision the German language might be written. The letters of Schiller are pervaded by a lofty and ideal tone. William von Humboldt (1762-1832) was the founder of the science of comparative philology, a scholar of remarkable comprehensiveness and scientific knowledge, and the author of several highly important works on language and literature. The brothers Schlegel developed that taste for universal literature which had been introduced by Herder. The mind of Augustus Schlegel (1767-1845) was rather comprehensive than endowed with original and creative genius. His poems are elegant, but not remarkable. Friedrich Schlegel (1772-1829), like his brother, was opposed to the skeptical character of some of the philosophical theories of his day, and after entering the Catholic Church he expressed his religious and polemical opinions in his works on literature. His lectures on “The Philosophy of History” were evidently written with political and religious purposes. He participated with his brother in the study of Oriental literature and language, but his lectures on “The Literature of all Nations” have chiefly extended his fame for great capacity, critical acumen, and extensive learning. The main purpose of the author is to describe the development of literature in its connection with the social and religious institutions of various nations and periods. He thus elevates literature, and especially poetry, far above the views of trivial and commonplace criticism, and regards it in its highest aspect as the product of human life and genius in various stages of cultivation. The history of the world of books is thus represented as no dry and pedantic study, but as one intimately connected with the best interests of humanity. In the establishment of this humanitarian style of literature, the services of this author were of great value, although many of his works, as well as those of others in this department, have been written rather for the use of scholars than for the public. There still remains in Germany that distinction between a popular and scholastic style which characterized the Middle Ages, when the literati excluded their thoughts from the people by writing in Latin. The literature of the past, which is in itself too diffuse to be comprehended by men of scanty leisure in modern times, is with most writers too often rather complicated and extended than simplified and compressed into a readable form. If the labors of learned historians and critics had been directed to popularize the results of their extensive scholarship, readers without much time for study might have acquired a fair general acquaintance with universal literature. But while concise and masterly summaries are required, many scholars love to wander in never-ending disquisitions, and the consequence is that the greater number of readers acquire only a fragmentary and accidental knowledge of books.

While the brothers Schlegel, and many other writers, followed the tendencies of Herder in universal literature, a national school of criticism was founded and supported by the brothers Grimm, with many able associates. Jacob, the eldest (d. 1863), devoted his researches to the German literature of the Middle Ages, and collected the scattered remnants of old popular legends. In conjunction with, his brother William (d. 1860) he published his “Children's Fables,” or “Household Tales,” which are marked by great simplicity, and often convey pleasing sentiments and good morals mingled with fantastic and supernatural adventures. Later works on the “German Language,” “Legal Antiquities,” and “German Mythology,” have secured for this author the highest position among national philologists and antiquaries. The example of these brothers gave a strong impulse to the study of German archaeology, and the results have been received with great enthusiasm. Many relics of old literature have been recovered, and these remains form a considerable library of literary antiquities.

Menzel (d. 1855), well known as a critical and polemical writer of the national school, has written the “History of German Literature,” “The Spirit of History,” and other works, in which he has warmly opposed the extreme revolutionary tendencies of recent political and social theorists.

Gervinus (d. 1871) may be considered as a historian, politician, and critic. In his “History of the Poetical National Literature of the Germans,” he traces the development of poetry in its relations to civilization and society. He has also written a work on Shakspeare, and a history of the nineteenth century, which is characterized by its liberal tendencies. His views of literature are directly opposed to those of Frederic Schlegel.

As historians of ancient classical literature, German scholars have maintained the highest position, and to them the world is prodigiously indebted. Their works, however, are too comprehensive to be described here, and too numerous even to be mentioned. The idea of classical erudition, as maintained by them, is extended far beyond its common limitation, and is connected with researches respecting not the language only, but also the religion, philosophy, social economy, arts, and sciences of ancient nations.

Karl Ottfried Mueller (d. 1840) must be mentioned as an accomplished scholar and the author of a standard work, the “History of Greek Literature.” Among the other great writers on ancient history are Boeckh, Duncker, Droysen, Mommsen, and Kortuem.

Several works on the modern literature of European nations have recently been published in Germany; and much industry and research have been displayed in numerous criticisms on the fine arts. The principles of Winckelmann and Lessing have been developed by later authors who have written excellent critical and historical works on the plastic arts, sculpture, painting, and architecture. In general, the literary criticism of Germany deserves the highest commendation for its candor, carefulness, and philosophical consistency.

HISTORY AND THEOLOGY.—The extensive historical works of the modern writers of Germany form an important feature in the literature. The political circumstances of the country have been in many respects favorable to the progress of these studies. Professors and students, excluded in a great measure from political life, have explored the histories of ancient nations, and have given opinions in the form of historical essays, which they could not venture to apply to the institutions of Germany. While Prussia and Austria were perilous topics for discussion, liberal and innovating doctrines might be promulgated in lectures on the progress and decline of liberty in the ancient world. Accordingly, the study of universal history, to which the philosophical views of Herder gave the impulse, has been industriously prosecuted during the last fifty years, and learned and diligent collectors of historical material are more numerous in Germany than in any other country.

Mueller (d. 1804), a native of Switzerland, displayed true historical genius and extended erudition in his “Lectures on Universal History.” Among other writers on the same subject are Rotteck, Becker, Boettiger, Dittmar, and Vehse. Of the two last authors, the one wrote on this vast subject especially in reference to Christianity, and the other describes the progress of civilization and intellectual culture.

Schlosser's (b. 1786) “History of the Ancient World and its Culture" holds a prominent place among historical works. His writings are the result of laborious and conscientious researches to which he has devoted his life.

Heeren (d. 1842) opened a new vein of ancient history in his learned work on the “Commercial Relations of Antiquity.” While other historians have been attracted by the sword of the conqueror, Heeren followed the merchant's caravan laden with corn, wine, oils, silks, and spices. His work is a valuable contribution to the true history of humanity.

Carl Ritter (d. 1859) has united the studies of geography and history in his “Geography viewed in its Relations to Nature and History.” This great work, the result of a life devoted to industrious research, has established the science of comparative geography.

Lepsius and Brugsch have rendered important services to Egyptology, and Lachmann, K. O. Mueller, Von der Hagen, Boeckh, the brothers Grimm, Moritz Haupt, and others, to ancient and German philology.

In Roman history, Niebuhr (1776-1831), stands alone as the founder of a new school of research, by which the fictions so long mingled with the early history of Rome, and copied from book to book, and from century to century, have been fully exploded. Through the labors of this historian, modern readers know the ancient Romans far better than they were known by nations who were in close contact with them. Niebuhr made great preparations for his work, and took care not to dissipate his powers by appearing too soon as an author.

Besides many other histories relating to the Roman Empire, German literature is especially rich in those relating to the Middle Ages. The historical writings of Ranke (b. 1795) connect the events of that period with modern times, and give valuable notices of the age of the Reformation. “The History of Papacy in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries” is highly esteemed, though Catholic critics have objected to some of its statements. Histories of the German people, of the Hohenstauffen Dynasty, of the Crusades; histories of nations, of cities, of events, and of individuals, all have found their interpreters in German genius. Schlosser (b. 1776), the vigorous and truthful historian of the eighteenth century; Dahlmann (b. 1785) the German Guizot, and Raumer (b. 1781), the historian of the Hohenstauffens, deserve particular mention. Nor is the department of ecclesiastical history and theology less distinguished by its research.

No writer of his time contributed more towards the formation of an improved prose style than Mosbeim (1694-1755); although his “Ecclesiastical History” is now superseded by works of deeper research. His contemporary, Reimarus, wrote in favor of natural theology, and may be considered the founder of the Rationalistic School. Neander (d. 1850) wrote a history of the church, in ten volumes, distinguished for its liberal views. The sermons of Reinhard (d. 1812), in thirty-nine volumes, display earnestness and unaffected solemnity of style. Schleiermacher (d. 1834), celebrated as a preacher at Berlin, was the author of many works, in which he attempted to reconcile the doctrines of Protestantism with certain philosophical speculations. De Wette, the friend of Schleiermacher, is one of the most learned and able representatives of the Rationalistic School. Tholuck (b. 1799) is celebrated as a learned exegetical writer.

Mommsen (b. 1817) is the vigorous historian of ancient Rome, and Curtius (b. 1819), the author of a history of Greece, not more remarkable for its learning than for the clear and attractive arrangement of its material. In histories of philosophy recent German literature is absolutely supreme. Hegel still ranks as one of the greatest writers in this line, and Ueberweg, Uedmann, and others are important workers in the same department. Fischer writes the history of philosophy with sympathetic appreciation and in a fascinating style, and Lange, in his “History of Materialism,” does full justice to the different phases of materialistic philosophy.

Since the time of Lessing, aesthetics have formed a prominent branch of philosophy with the Germans, and they have been no less successful as historians of art than of metaphysics. Among the most distinguished are Kugler, Carriere, and Luebke. Biographers and historians of literature are numerous.