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.
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).
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”)
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.