These appropriations fall into two main groups: those pertaining to the name Böhme or a life assigned to it, and those involving concepts or images from the mystic's oeuvre. The first group constituted an attempt to co-opt the aura of sanctity attached to portrayals of the poet-prophet in order to invest Romantic Poesie with the sacral standing of religion. The second group, exemplified by Friedrich Schlegel and Friedrich Schelling, involved the borrowing and radical redefinition of a few concepts and images from Böhme's work in the hope of bridging the gap between the abstract first principle of idealism and the personal God that became an emotional necessity for both thinkers. Jena Romanticism and Its Appropriation of Jakob Böhme treats the Romantic reception of Böhme as a striking example of how the past is appropriated and rewritten in the service of self-affirmation. Analysing the need and the techniques for this self-affirmation sheds light on the nature of the self to be affirmed and on the content and underlying motivation of the Romantic program.
About the author
Paola Mayer is associate professor of European studies and German at the University of Guelph and author of Jena Romanticism and Its Appropriation of Jakob Böhme: Theosophy, Hagiography, Literature.
"There has been frequent comment on the importance of Böhme in the development of romantic thought in Germany, and there have indeed been studies on that influence with regard to individual romantic authors. [Jena Romanticism and Its Appropriation of Jakob Böhme is] the first comprehensive study of that influence as it regards the Jena romantics taken together." James McGlathery, Department of Germanic Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana. "[Jena Romanticism and Its Appropriation of Jakob Böhme is] significant not only because the story of Böhme's influence will henceforth have to be told differently, but also because we will have to think differently about some of the strategies of the Jena Romantics and the way their philosophies developed ... the patience and the acumen with which [Mayer] plowed through Böhme's and Schelling's obscurities are as admirable as the clarity of her explications." Hans Eichner, Professor Emeritus of University of Toronto.