I am a man experienced in time And taking what my fate dealt out. It is a babbling child I left behind. You will not stretch your arms out to me more, Farewell my cherub and my paradise. Schlegel never published these verses, and it may be hard now to defend them on purely aesthetic grounds especially the borrowing from Goethe in the first line , but there is no doubting that the sentiments were heartfelt. Yet Schlegel was not the only one whom leave-taking moved to poetic utterance. I have felt it, that god, in the ruins of Rome that I have wandered through with you in the moonlight and almost at the moment of leave-taking.
My whole soul is pierced with longing, tenderness and admiration. Much of this would go into her novel Corinne. It is difficult to rescue much of the poem aesthetically even if we know that Schlegel would later declare those incursions into the Roman Empire to be the catalyst of modern European history. Not even the Renaissance, Raphael or Michelangelo, is spared these depredations of time: perhaps this prompted him to hope that Vincenzo Monti might translate Rom into Italian.
To show how heartfelt these sentiments are, he summons up the ultimate name in her personal configuration: her father Jacques Necker. Unlike Winckelmann for whom the male form was everything, Schlegel was here writing to a woman who would not let him go, while he was in the entourage of another woman whose imperious claims had brought him to Italy in the first place. He was well advised to leave the former and cleave chastely to the latter.
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Already in the first full letter he had written from Coppet on his arrival in May , he had recounted how he had had to drop his own work and be present when visitors arrived, first Bonstetten, then the prefect. Even Benjamin Constant, still making serious claims on her heart and hand, was similarly constrained. As we shall see, the large bulk of the work on those projects was not actually carried out at Coppet at all and seemed to be fitted into a peripatetic lifestyle that took in several venues.
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If that involved bringing to French-language readers what was now common knowledge in Germany, well and good. He approached Cotta about a reissue of his poems. For the time being there was nothing Schlegel could do to help his family except send sums of money to his needy mother through the war zones. In practical terms, nothing. The letter had its symbolic side, for the bearer was Carl von Clausewitz, not yet the theoretician of war, but the aide-de-camp to Prince August of Prussia.
Friedrich had not succeeded in extricating himself from Cologne. He was to complain that circumstances were forcing them apart, where they naturally belonged together. He denied for instance the theory that the American peoples may once have crossed the Bering Strait from Asia and embraced instead wilder notions of Indian colonies in Peru and Germanic settlements in Mexico. Fortunately Friedrich was able to rein them in somewhat when writing his important Ueber die Sprache und Weisheit der Indier of The boy then left for Paris in August, and Napoleon in the event intervened to put a stop to his admission.
Things were not improved by Napoleon continuing his injunction banning her from Paris and restricting her to a precinct of forty leagues from the capital while graciously allowing her the provinces. But other visitors involved emotional tangles: Prosper de Barante, immediately falling in love, Monti, to whom she was platonically attached, while Benjamin Constant saw himself as the lover en titre. When not thus engaged, she was writing Corinne. For Schlegel the shine was already wearing off Coppet.
Dispose of my person, of my life, demand, forbid, I shall obey you in everything. I do not aspire to any happiness but what you care to bestow on me; I do not wish to possess anything, I wish to keep everything out of your generosity. I shall of my own free will consent to think no more wholly of my celebrity, to devote exclusively to your own use whatever I have by way of knowledge and talents. I am proud of belonging to you as your own possession. On that level, it is one writer addressing another, each aware of the conventions and proprieties.
It is also an admission of resignation and defeat, of the powerlessness of resistance, the realisation that his life, for the time being at least, was to be determined by her movements, her preferences, her dispensations. He had in effect nowhere else to turn: she offered security, but on her terms. Seen thus, it need not be read merely as the craven and obeisant act of submission that many have judged it to be. It does also suggest that an intervening letter or conversation had promised to make amends, to repair their relationship, and her solicitude for his welfare in the next years, and his willingness to undertake acts of sacrifice on her behalf, would bear this out.
While Schlegel went through these rites of acquiescence and homage, accepting his role in a court where all was free but by the same token all was subtly controlled, at his desk, in those hours when there were no conversations and no social duties, he was able to perform some small acts of insubordination. Caricature drawing, undated [? Orphan work. When he reviewed the posthumous papers of Jacques Necker, he found the same hagiographical tone appropriate that Germaine always employed with reference to her father.
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He also started writing in French. It is a thirty-to-forty-page fragment that Schlegel never published in his lifetime, much of it derivative and not all of its arguments sustained. We do not know for whom or for what occasion it was written. It has echoes here and there of Rom , from the same year.
We have lost original unities—those of philosophy with poetry or law-making with cosmogony—and our scientific discoveries serve only to make the material world available. The old idea of a Golden Age expressed this in terms of a primal energy, organic forces at work in natural rhythms, traces of which can be found in most ancient cultures. That is one side. Boredom was another form of melancholy and depression. Something had to be done to ward it off. Apart from writing frequent letters to Auguste in Paris, there was her other, slightly brainless, son Albert to consider.
We know very little of this except what Schlegel tells us in a letter to his sister-in-law in Hanover, and a few lines to Sophie. Rousseau in It had been a very serious diversion since her childhood, when she had some lessons in the speaking of verse from the celebrated actress Mademoiselle Clairon. In Germany, it had added to her reputation for eccentric celebrity, as it would later in Vienna and Stockholm.
This also meant Schlegel. We can imagine him as a lecturer in Jena or Berlin reading verse with good accentuation and even with feeling; and we know of his concern—also shared by Goethe— that the actors in Ion in Weimar should speak their lines well. Of his acting skills we know less. The ever-malicious Benjamin Constant claimed that he was comical in tragedy and not happy in comedy, but that we may largely discount. Schlegel knew, as probably no-one else present did, that Lessing had once subjected this play to one of his elegant demolitions in the Hamburgische Dramaturgie , and Schlegel had already made no secret of his disdain for French neo-classicism.
This was in the article that he sent to the Berliner Damen-Kalender for thus late in , Ueber einige tragische Rollen von Frau v. She had of course been romantically associated with Schlegel in Berlin, and he had paid court to her in verse —and, who knows, perhaps in other form.
The context is crucial. Similarly, he would be careful not to display too many of the prejudices against French and to some extent Italian neo-classicism to which his Berlin lectures had most recently given expression.
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Schlegel assured his German readers that she possessed the poise, the ease of movement and gesture, the mastery of spoken language, that the actor must have, but above all the ability to make the poetic character her own, to act from within the dictates of her own heart, to empathise, to draw the audience into her own pain and suffering.
There was none of the alleged forced declamation of some of the leading Paris actors.
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Apart from its ability to move Schlegel found words in French verse , the play has the merit of breaking with the conventions of the French stage, being in prose, allowing for mime, and with instrumental interludes between the speeches. Diana, Aurora, Atalanta, Althea—the gamut of mythological emotion, terror, dignity, fury, despair—came easily to Ida. Schlegel wrote a poem in her honour. First, they went to Lyon, then to Auxerre. She disclaimed any interest in politics, only a wish to live in the metropolis, but Napoleon and his agents were inexorable.
She could at least send Schlegel and Albert to Paris for ten days, which happened in May. In August, however, Schlegel fell ill. There is something of the Wunderdoktor and charlatan about him, especially his magnetic cures; there is also no doubt that he was skilled at his profession.