Relationship Between Romantic Poetry And German Idealism

1353 words - 5 pages

David IrahetaProfessor MurataEng 240-V4/28/14 In this paper I will demonstrate how Walt Whitman believes there is a deeper connection between natural and human life. I will use the ideas of German idealist philosophers, primarily Freidrich Wilhelm Von Schelling and Phillip Matthaus Hahn. Through his works Song of Myself and When the lilacs in the last Dooryard Bloom'd, Whitman romanticizes the idea of human and natural life being synchronized and holds an intrinsic relationship between the two. German idealism was very closely linked with romanticism and both Schelling and Hahn were very motivated by transcendentalism as well, protesting the belief of spirituality and belief in the inherent goodness of both humans and nature. Both subscribe to Plato's notion of combing unity and manifoldness (Naturbegriff), everywhere considers as the first form that circumscribes all nature, though whose application to the formless matter brings forth not only particular objects, but also makes possible the relationship of objects to one another (Matthews 132). Schelling dedicates himself to pursuing the divine in sensuous and intellectual nature, he is a philosopher of nature both seen and unseen, pursuing absolute truth through the study of natural sciences and simultaneously studying sacred texts (Matthews 133). Hahn was a renowned naturphilosoph, a natural scientist whose empirical investigation of nature was guided by the belief that humanity's role in creation is to complete its evolution by coming to know the divine through nature (Matthews 37).Schelling believed "What unifies knowing subject and known subject is the underlying order of organic nature that bonds us with the phenomenal world we live in" (Matthews 9). He states "Our power to appreciate the unfathomable intentionality, the unbelievable naiveté of nature in the achievement of its purposes, points to the view of a true inner history of nature in whose formation humanity can look into that of a related being"(Matthews 9). "Our spirit recognizes nature as a blood relative", "nature is the spirit estranged from itself, in nature the unity and concept reveals itself" (Krell 120). For Schelling there is no question that there is a connection between nature and humanity, as nature is an extension of the human, it is a construct of our consciousness. In Whitman's Song of Myself, when asked by a child the speaker is struck and considers the question before answering "Or I guess grass itself is a child….the produced babe/ of the vegetation" (Whitman 31). In a direct fashion, Whitman compares natural life to human life, grass and all vegetation grow just as babies grow into adults. The grass is life, it has a soul. Whitman's interpretation of the grass having a soul like a human is quite similar to Schelling's view of a seed. "The seed that I can squish with my hand, a seed which like a rusty old lamp, contains a powerful spirit, is the concept of nature" (Krell 124) In both the eyes of...

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