The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Novalis [Georg Friedrich Philipp Von Hardenberg] (1772–1801)

  • Murray Milgate
Reference work entry


Born on 2 May 1772 in Saxony, Novalis ranks among the finest of the German Romantic writers. His works mark the transition from early Romanticism to that more politically oriented movement (not always of reaction) that rose to prominence in the 19th century. Novalis was educated in Jena and Leipzig, attending Schiller’s lectures on history and becoming closely associated with Friedrich Schlegel. After graduating in law (and while serving as a minor government official in Arnstadt) he embarked upon a systematic study of Fichte’s Wissenschaftslehre. Himself a traditionalist and an admirer of Edmund Burke, Novalis promulgated an ‘organistic’ view of society and called into question mechanistic and utilitarian conceptions which in economics had been the hallmark of the Enlightenment. Perhaps the best example of that critique is the complex tale which comprises the ninth chapter of his unfinished Heinrich von Ofterdingen.

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  1. Pinson, K.S. 1933. Novalis. In Encyclopaedia of the social sciences, ed. E.R.A. Seligman. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Murray Milgate
    • 1
  1. 1.