Novalis and the Absolute of Attraction

Gabriel Stephen Trop
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
January 16, 2014
3:30 – 5:00 pm
205 East Pyne

In German Romanticism, the absolute – supposedly the elusive goal of philosophical and poetic speech – is often understood as a sphere of pure identity that is unrepresentable in systems constituted by differentiation. This talk examines an alternative conception of the absolute in Novalis’ poetic and philosophical writings, one that prioritizes neither difference nor identity, but rather, posits attraction and repulsion (Newtonian forces that have been converted into semiotic operations) as a higher-order absolute than the absolute of undifferentiated identity. The talk will examine the consequences of this alternative conception of the absolute for the theoretical and sensuous apprehension of Novalis’ poetry.