Key Texts of Johann Wilhelm Ritter (1776-1810) on the Science and Art of Nature


Johann Wilhelm Ritter (1776-1810) was an influential scientist of the Romantic era, acquainted with the greatest minds of his day. He made significant contributions in the fields of chemistry and galvanism, but also tested the boundaries of the sciences and the arts through a speculative thinking which placed human intellectual activity within far-reaching historical narratives. Until now, Ritter’s work has remained largely unknown to an Anglophone audience. For the first time, this bilingual edition offers English translations of Ritter's work and explanatory essays of three texts - including the complete fragment project - which testify to the confluence of the scientific and aesthetic inquiry around 1800.

Medieval and Early Modern Science, 13

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Jocelyn Holland, Ph.D. (2003) in German Literature, Johns Hopkins, is Associate Professor in German and Comparative Literature at UCSB. She has published extensively on Romanticism, including German Romanticism and Science, The Procreative Poetics of Goethe, Novalis and Ritter (Routledge, 2009).
"Holland has translated three of Ritter's works, "Physics as Art". "The History of Chemistry" and the fascinating "Fragments from the Estate of a Young Physicist". This last demonstrates both the difficulty of assigning a slot to Ritter and Holland's ability to translate the difficult prose literally while still reproducing the exuberance of Ritter's thoughts. This facing-page German and English edition should interest anyone studying the early Romantic period from any angle".
Annotation ©2010 Book News Inc. Portland, OR.

“A good resource for those interested in the history of science and Romanticism.”
R. Bledsoe (Augusta State University), CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, 2011, Vol. 48 (6), 68 pp.

Part One: The Fragment Project (Fragmente aus dem Nachlasse eines jungen Physikers)
The Workshop as Monument. Fragments from the Estate of a Young Physicist.
Text and Translation: Prologue
Text and Translation: Fragments, First Booklet
Text and Translation: Fragments, Second Booklet
Text and Translation: Ritter’s Appendix to the Fragments

Part Two: Physics as Art (Physik als Kunst)
1. Essay: A Speech for the Academy
2. Text and Translation: Physics as Art

Part Three: The History of Chemistry
Tracing the History of Chemistry
Text and Translation: Attempt at a History of the Fate of Chemical Theory in the Last Centuries (“Versuch einer Geschichte der Schicksale der chemischen Theorie in den letzten Jahrhunderten”)

Index (English)
Index (German)
Scholars of History of Science, Romanticism, German literature, as well as historians of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European culture; also academic libraries with holdings in literature and the history of science.
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