Napoleon and European Romanticism

LibraryThe GemsNapoleon and European Romanticism

Documents in Napoleon’s hand and editions of Goethe and Hegel, which offer an interesting contrast to those of Mme de Staël and Chateaubriand, make clear the diverging orientations that existed at the start of the century. The Romantic sensibility is embodied in several mythic autograph copies of German poetry like Novalis’s Hymns to the Night, and in English with Byron, Shelley, and Keats. Russia is present in the collection with Pushkin and Gogol, and the 19th-century novel is reflected in works by Balzac and Stifter.


A gem of European Romanticism: Novalis (1772-1801)
Hymnen an die Nacht – autograph manuscript, 1799-1800

A figurehead of German Romanticism from the great Jena period, Novalis, who was an engineer, a man of science and letters, a jurist, and a philosopher, died quite young, at the age of 28. Like a premonition, his Hymns to the Night explored the Romantic idea of a link between life and death and their common essence. The collection very quickly came to be seen as one of the great works of the Romantic literary school and therefore of Weltliteratur.




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Novalis (1772-1801), Hymnen an die Nacht, autograph manuscript, 1799-1800

Our collection’s gems include of course the famous “Napoléon, Empereur des François”