The Critical Fortunes of a Romantic Novel: Novalis's Heinrich von Ofterdingen

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Since its posthumous publication in 1892, German, French, British and American critics have regarded the novel Heinrich von Ofterdingen by Friedrich von Hardenberg (Novalis) as the epitome of German Romanticism. A critical history of Heinrich von Ofterdingen thus provides an exemplary opportunity to analyze changing patterns of German and international literary criticism over the past two hundred years, particularly with respect to the changing definitions of Romanticism. Critical response to the Klingsohr tale in the novel is a constant point of reference in this study, providing a record of successive approaches to the work.