Novalis [key], 1772–1801, German poet. He studied philosophy under Schiller, Schlegel, and Fichte and was especially influenced by Fichte. He later studied geology. Novalis was one of the great German romantics; his chief work was the novel Heinrich von Ofterdingen (1802), unfinished at the time of his early death from tuberculosis. It tells the story of a legendary minnesinger, whose wanderings and search for a “blue flower” became symbols of German romantic poetry. Novalis's grief at the death (1797) of his young love, Sophie von Kühn, found expression in a volume of beautiful and deeply religious lyrics, Hymns to the Night (1800; tr. 1889, 1948). Christendom or Europe (1826, tr. 1844) is an exposition of his Roman Catholicism.
See studies by B. Haywood (1959), J. Neubauer (1971), and J. Neuberger (1980).
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