Women Writers’ Philosophy of Love in German Romanticism

Dialogical Life in Letters


This monograph spotlights women writers’ contributions to the philosophy of German Romanticism. Dorothea Mendelssohn Veit Schlegel, Rahel Levin Varnhagen, Karoline von Günderrode, and Bettina Brentano von Arnim suggested a new vision for an emancipated community of women that develops through philosophical discourse of Progressive Universal Poetry. Their personal, fictionalized, and literary letters reinvent and retheorize the Romantic notions of sociability, symphilosophy, and sympoetry, as theorized by men, and retheorize the concepts of love. They provided a model for shaping intellectual and cultural life in the modern world while challenging rigid dichotomies of classs, gender, and ethnicity.

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Renata T. Fuchs received her PhD from the UIUC in 2014. She has published on women’s authorship in XVIII and XIX centuries as well as on contemporary German literature thematizing alterity, migration, and neo-nomadism. Her most recent article contributes to The Oxford Handbook of Nineteenth-Century Women Philosophers in the German Tradition (2024).

 1 The Concept of German Romanticism
 2 Salon Sociability
 3 The Romantic Letter as an Expression of Sociability
 4 The Romantic Philosophy of Symphilosophy and Sympoetry
 5 Dialogue and the Discourse on Love
 6 The Structure of This Book

1 Dorothea Mendelssohn Veit Schlegel’s Philosophy of Infinite Love
 1 From the Tugendbund to the Jena Circle and Salon
 2 Symphilosophical Life in Letters
 3 Symphilosophizing with Rahel Levin Varnhagen
 4 The Philosophy of Romantic Love: the Case of Lucinde
 5 The Romantic Irony of Love Means Love Eternal
 6 Symphilosophy and Love in Florentin

2 Rahel Levin Varnhagen’s Dialogical Network of Love
 1 Jewish Feminist Consciousness
 2 Salon’s Aesthetics of Art Installation
 3 The Correspondence Project
 4 The Network of Love
 5 The Exchange with Friedrich von Gentz as the Ultimate Philia
 6 The Subliminal Dialogue with Goethe Rooted in Agape
 7 Agape as Pacifist Love

3 Karoline von Günderrode’s Love Philosophy as Creative Passion
 1 The Concept of the New Philia
 2 Günderrode’s Poetic Subversion of Patriarchy
 3 Dialogue Strategies in Günderrode’s Letters
 4 The Idea of Intellectual Love as the Foundation of Life
 5 The Philosophy of Love and Death as a Vehicle of Artistic Production
 6 Fictitious Dialogue with Clemens Brentano as Artistic Passion

4 Bettina Brentano von Arnim’s Concept of the New Philia in Die Günderode
 1 Salon Sociability
 2 Symphilosophy and Sympoetry in Letters
 3 Dialogue Strategies in Die Günderode
 4 The New Woman: in Defiance of the Patriarchy
 5 The New Philia: Female Community as an Intellectual Partnership
 6 Female Alternative Spirituality: Schwebereligion
 7 The Concept of Bildung as an Expression of Female Autonomy
 8 The Poeticized Erotics of Nature
 9 Love as a Unifying Concept in Die Günderode

This is an academic monograph of interest to any specialist in the field of Romanticism and German-Jewish studies. General market audience will also appreciate it because of its interdisciplinary nature, as it discusses literary salons, letter writing, and art concepts.
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