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Novalis (1772 – 1801)


Author, philosopher and poet of early German Romanticism.
Novalis
Tools arm the man. One can well say that man is capable of bringing forth a world; he lacks only the necessary apparatus, the corresponding armature of his sensory tools. The beginning is there. Thus the principle of a warship lies in the idea of the shipbuilder, who is able to incorporate this thought by making himself into a gigantic machine, as it were, through a mass of men and appropriate tools and materials. Thus the idea of a moment often required monstrous organs, monstrous masses of materials, and man is therefore a potential, if not an actual creator.
Novalis quotes
Man is the higher Sense of our Planet; the star which connects it with the upper world; the eye which it turns towards Heaven.
Novalis
For Novalis the poetic in the world was the only genuine reality, even as the poetic spirit in man was the proof of man’s divine origin. All of his poetry is concerned ultimately with revealing and celebrating the poetic spirit.




Novalis quotes
If our Bodily Life is a burning, our Spiritual Life is a being burnt, a Combustion (or, is precisely the inverse the case?); Death, therefore, perhaps a Change of Capacity.
Novalis
We are on a mission: we are called to the cultivation of the earth.
Novalis quotes
The spirit of Poesy is the morning light, which makes the Statue of Memnon sound.
Novalis
Nature too remains, so far as we have yet come, ever a frightful Machine of Death: everywhere monstrous revolution, inexplicable vortices of movement; a kingdom of Devouring, of the maddest tyranny; a baleful Immense: the few light-points disclose but a so much the more appalling Night, and terrors of all sorts must palsy every observer.
Novalis quotes
To become properly acquainted with a truth, we must first have disbelieved it, and disputed against it.
Novalis
Man consists in Truth. If he exposes Truth, he exposes himself. If he betrays Truth, he betrays himself. We speak not here of lies, but of acting against Conviction.
Novalis
I shall in no time forget that moment. We felt as if we had had in our souls a clear passing glimpse into this wondrous World.
Novalis
Imagination places the future world for us either above or below or in reincarnation. We dream of travels throughout the universe: is not the universe within us? We do not know the depths of our spirit. The mysterious path leads within. In us, or nowhere, lies eternity with its worlds, the past and the future.




Novalis quotes
The poem of the understanding is philosophy.
Novalis
Man is a Sun; his Senses are the Planets.
Novalis quotes
Many counterrevolutionary books have been written in favor of the Revolution. But Burke has written a revolutionary book against the Revolution.
Novalis
Now to Some it appears not at all worth while to follow out the endless divisions of Nature; and moreover a dangerous undertaking, without fruit and issue. As we can never reach, say they, the absolutely smallest grain of material bodies, never find their simplest compartments, since all magnitude loses itself, forwards and backwards, in infinitude; so likewise is it with the species of bodies and powers; here too one comes on new species, new combinations, new appearances, even to infinitude. These seem only to stop, continue they, when our diligence tires; and so it is spending precious time with idle contemplations and tedious enumerations; and this becomes at last a true delirium, a real vertigo over the horrid Deep
Novalis quotes
I. The Pupil. — Men travel in manifold paths: whoso traces and compares these, will find strange Figures come to light; Figures which seem as if they belonged to that great Cipher-writing which one meets with everywhere, on wings of birds, shells of eggs, in clouds, in the snow, in crystals, in forms of rocks, in freezing waters, in the interior and exterior of mountains, of plants, animals, men, in the lights of the sky, in plates of glass and pitch when touched and struck on, in the filings round the magnet, and the singular conjunctures of Chance. In such Figures one anticipates the key to that wondrous Writing, the grammar of it; but this Anticipation will not fix itself into shape, and appears as if, after all, it would not become such a key for us. An Alcahest seems poured out over the senses of men. Only for a moment will their wishes, their thoughts thicken into form. Thus do their Anticipations arise; but after short whiles, all is again swimming vaguely before them, even as it did.
Novalis
We dream of journeys through the cosmos — Is the cosmos not then in us? We do not know the depths of our own spirit. — The mysterious path leads within. In us, or nowhere, is eternity with its worlds — the past and the future.
Novalis quotes
The world must be romanticized. In this way the originary meaning may be found again.
Novalis
Everywhere we seek the Absolute, and always we find only things.
Novalis
The best thing about the sciences is their philosophical ingredient, like life for an organic body. If one dephilosophizes the sciences, what remains left? Earth, air, and [[water.


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