According to GETZIPCODES, Schiller died in 1805; Little by little Humboldt was taken more and more by political activity; Goethe alone was able to continue his indefatigable work as a creator in spiritual calm, and gave the first psychological novel of the modern age in the Wahlverwandschaften (1809); and with Westöstlicher Diwan (1814) he introduced the contemplative mystical inspiration of the East in poetry; and integrated the Meister with the Wanderjahre (1829) and completed the Faust before dying(1831), reflecting in poetry the new life of the new times as the river reflects the image of the surrounding banks in the ever-equal flow of its waves. The work he created is and remains the perennial nourishment of the modern spirit; but, if a circle of devotees continued to renew around him with almost religious dedication, a new movement began, which, while also partly repeating its origins from him, was destined to develop in its own ways: Romanticism.
All those depths of feeling, in which life becomes more exalted or even falls ill, and of which the Stürmer und Dränger they had obscurely felt the fascination, had been accepted in the clear spirituality of Goethe’s poetry only in so far as they allowed themselves to be resolved and overcome in the classic internal balance of the poet. But, orienting itself in this direction, the evolution of the modern spirit could no longer be stopped. And it was precisely in those depths that the romantics sought and found the elements of a new life. Beyond Kantian criticism, the idealistic philosophy that began with Fichte had opened new worlds to thought by recognizing the unity spiritual character of reality; and sentiment, no longer understood as immediacy of nature and instinct – as it had been for the Stürmer und Dränger – but conceived in indissoluble unity with consciousness, it seemed to confer an infinite extension to the interiority of the individual. The sich selbst erweitern zu einer Welt, which remained for the young Goethe only supreme aspiration, seemed to have become truth. Becoming aware of oneself, of all that is stirred up in the world of one’s own sensitivity, was for man the great way and the only one open to reach knowledge, creation, God. Listening within oneself to the voice of one’s own feeling was the great secret of life. The feeling was nature operating in us, it was God himself present in our interior. And a general renewal in the whole conception of life ensued. Religion was renewed, becoming an entirely interior fact: direct spiritual communion of the individual with God (Br. Schleiermacher, 1768-1834). Morality was renewed, becoming “organic morality”, man’s agreement with himself and with nature, sentiment and conscience at the same time (F. Schlegel, 1772-1829, Novalis, 1772-1801, Schleiermacher). The aesthetics were renewed even more deeply. Art acquired a religious character, a revelation of the divine in life (WH Wackenroder, 1773-1798, Novalis, F. Schlegel, etc.): it became the supreme form of spiritual activity, even higher than philosophy itself, because, revealing in image rather than in thought the divine truth can be thought and life at the same time. Religion, philosophy, love, poetry became different aspects of a single reality. And many affirmations ensued, which, having vanished the mystical atmosphere in which and from which they were generated, remained then acquired to modern aesthetics: the distinction between lyrical intuition and theoretical thought as the foundation of the distinction between poetry and philosophy; the recognition that in its lyricism poetry, world of the individual, reaches its universality; the consideration that the lyric content of the poem is identical with the poetic form, etc. The interpretation of art as of the world in which the freedom of the spirit is fully realized was developed up to the concept of romantic irony, for which poetry reaches its highest expression when the poet “plays” with his work and smilingly destroys the vision he has created. Aesthetic and critical positions, which will later have a long development. More important still was the discovery of a new poetic world: mystical ecstasy and intoxication of meaning, voluptuousness and suffering, dream and disease, love and death, the extreme tones of feeling came to domination in poetry, mixed, fused together in unity of life.. To the figurative trend, that the Renaissance had made prevail in poetry, a musical tendency was replaced, which allowed to reflect in the words what the feeling has of vague, indefinite, elusive. The Middle Ages were seen with new eyes, felt closer to modern consciousness than ancient poetry, studied in its highest expressions, taken up in its religious and legendary motifs. The “bottomless depth of Shakespeare” was rethought and relived so as to become almost German poetry in W. Schlegel’s translation. The richness of colors and melodies of Romance poetry, especially of Italian and Spanish poetry, extended its charm to everyone. The Protestant intellectualism that had dominated literature was replaced by a new and ever-growing feeling of spiritual affinity with Catholicism.