chapter
17 Pages

Introduction

This introduction presents an overview of key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book presents the Romantic idea of the Golden Age from a new angle by discussing it in Friedrich Schlegel's (1772-1829) early works. The idea of the Golden Age, when humans were happier and more genuine, is as old as literature itself. For a long time, Schlegel was considered to have been merely a literary theorist and writer, too impatient to create a serious philosophical system. Schlegel is probably best known for his Romantic fragments. Among the key purposes of Schlegel's Golden Age utopia was to criticise the Enlightenment's belief in technological progress and mastery of nature. In the 'triadic reading', the early Romantic philosophy of history is seen as having had a threefold structure. The chiliastic reading risks christianising Schlegel's ideas and losing their concrete political significance in relation to the French Revolution.