The Romantic Dimensions of Love: F. Schlegel’s “Lucinde”

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Boris A. Maximov

PhD in Philology, Associate Professor at the Chair of Foreign Journalism and Literature, Faculty of Journalism, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia


Section: History of Journalism

Schlegels audacious novel, first published 1799, is a good starting point to explore the borderlines between the romantic (i.e. the contemporary) view of love and gender, and that of the Enlightenment. While their predecessors saw in (sensual) love either pleasant pastime or conventional social bonds, the romantic generation regarded it as an universal cognitive tool and a driving force of individual evolution. Through love a person (primarily, a man) can supply significant defects, such as lack of energy and of integrity, — however, it implies reciprocity. For Schlegel, love doesn’t reduce to selfish longing to possess, but it demands a close (and turbulent) interaction, urging both sides to transform and aiming not just at corporal intimacy, but at biological fusion. The romantics tend to describe this process in terms common for erotic and religious matters.

Keywords: romanticism, gender, Platonism, reciprocity, sensuality