Man is an animal that delights in telling stories to his fellows, and some (a few only — alas! — in any age) have, by dint of their great power over words, been far better at this than all the others. Quite rightly, they have received much attention; for not only did they have a story to tell but they also had the gift of telling it well. While it is impossible neatly to separate what they have said from their manner of saying it, the interest of man over the ages has been captured not only by the magic of their mode of speaking, but also by the conviction that they had knowledge to convey. At least their work has created the illusion that they were communicating truth, and their very ability to generate this illusion has appeared to widen the horizon of the human mind and thus convey some knowledge hitherto not perceived.


Aesthetic Experience Creative Artist Creative Writer German Culture Reading Public 
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  1. 1.
    Richard Alewyn, Johann Beer. Studien zum Roman des 17. Jahrhunderts Leipzig, 1932, pp. 129f.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Paul Kluckhohn, Dichterberuf und bürgerliche Existenz Tübingen/Stuttgart n.d.[1949], P. 15.Google Scholar
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    Novalis, Briefe und Werke (ed. Ewald Wasmuth), in, Berlin, 1943, p. 330;Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    cf. also H. S. Reiss (ed.), The Political Thought of the German Romantics 1795 —1815 Oxford, 1965, pp. 6 ff., for a fuller discussion of this aspect of Romantic thought; and my Politisches Denken in der deutschen Romantik Berne and Munich, 1963, pp. 12 ff.Google Scholar
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    Cf. Friedrich Sengle, Biedermeierzeit. Deutsche Literatur im Spannungsfeld zwischen Restauration und Revolution 1815–18481,Stuttgart, 1971, pp. 83—100, an outstanding work, for a discussion of this aspect.Google Scholar
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    Cf. F. A. Hayek, The Counter-Revolution of Science, Studies on the Abuse of Reason (paperback edition), New York and Toronto, 1964, pp. 13 ff., for an account of the widespread misunderstanding of the methods and nature of science.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Hans Reiss 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans Reiss
    • 1
  1. 1.BristolUK

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