Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Modern Languages and Literature (German Option)

Department or School/College

Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures

Committee Chair

Elizabeth Ametsbichler

Commitee Members

Hiltrud Arens, James McKusick


Hardenberg, Karl Marx, Material, Novalis, Romanticism, Social


University of Montana


In an attempt to widen interpretations, this study first explores the myths associated with Friedrich von Hardenberg, commonly known as Novalis, which have resulted in the neglect of material interpretations of his works. After an introduction to Hardenberg's theory of the Self and Karl Marx's theory of alienation, an analysis of Hardenberg's most widely read work, Heinrich von Afterdingen, demonstrates how Hardenberg was as concerned with the material and the social relations among human beings and their labor as he was with their spiritual endeavors. The self-development of Heinrich, the main character in Afterdingen, is chronicled in this study with special attention given to his material existence as well as the material existence of the people he encounters. This study demonstrates that Afterdingen can be read as a handbook for the development of the Self according to the theories of Hardenberg and Marx, in which the Self cannot favor the spiritual realm, or inner existence, at the expense of its material and social relations. Rather, these two spheres are both important for full self-development.



© Copyright 2008 Robert Earl Mottram