The Mind-body Problem in German Literature 1770-1830: Wezel, Moritz and Jean Paul

This impressive study explores the role of philosophical anthropology - the question of the relationship between mind and body - in the novels and non-fictional writings of Johann Karl Wezel, Karl Philipp Moritz, and Jean Paul. Through a scholarly and lucid discussion of their ideas on human physiology and psychology, as well as the application of these ideas to their aesthetic and moral theories, Catherine J. Minter suggests that these three German writers of the late eighteenth century share a common desire: to invest the physical world with spiritual significance. The study traces not only the development in the three authors' views on philosophical anthropology, but also, more generally, in the history of ideas in Germany between 1770 and 1830. As well as making a substantial contribution to the discussion of the origins of anthropology in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it successfully highlights the continuity in German intellectual history between the Late Enlightenment and Romanticism - two periods which are frequently seen as antagonistic.