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date: 31 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter weighs the value of early German romantic philosophy, in terms both positive and negative, to the advance of feminism in Germany in the nineteenth century. It argues that at the dawn of the nineteenth century, early German romantic conceptions of creativity and genius provided philosophical insights crucial to the eventual empowerment of women as creative equals. It also discusses the problematic gap between these conceptions and their proponents’ ability fully to grasp, let alone implement, the radical changes in social practices that would be required to realize them. Nevertheless, it concludes that nineteenth-century feminism could have been far more progressive at the dawn of the twentieth century had these earlier visions been brought seriously to bear on women’s issues throughout the nineteenth century.

Keywords: romanticism, feminism, sociability, women of the Jena Circle, Caroline Schlegel/Schelling, Dorothea Schlegel, Friedrich Schlegel, Friedrich Schleiermacher, Novalis

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