“Marriage Is the Most Exalted Secret”: Novalis on the Metaphysics and Semiotics of Marriage

in Uncivil Unions

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780226136936
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226136950 | DOI:
“Marriage Is the Most Exalted Secret”: Novalis on the Metaphysics and Semiotics of Marriage

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter tries to illustrate that Novalis' use of marriage-as-model is far less arbitrary than some of his notes can make it seem. Novalis' political writings of marriage addressed a veritable carousel of the sexes, families, and dynasties. Faith and Love provided a sketch of a poetic state organized around and by a (royal) couple. The triple function of the concept of “love” inspired Novalis' central claim in Faith and Love. In combination with the somewhat later Political Aphorisms, Faith and Love offered an answer to the question that bedeviled Johann Gottlieb Fichte's metaphysics of marriage. His reflections on loving couples and their kingdoms in his fairy tales work through an increasingly dizzying calculus aimed at upsetting traditional structures of dominance opted for imbrication rather than hierarchization. Marriage exhibited the spontaneity and dignity of the forces of free attachment, and distressed any strictly paternalistic analogies between kingdom and household.

Keywords: marriage; Novalis; Faith and Love; Political Aphorisms; Johann Gottlieb Fichte; metaphysics of marriage; kingdoms

Chapter.  19266 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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