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Mixed FeelingsTropes of Love in German Jewish Culture$
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Katja Garloff

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501704963

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501704963.001.0001

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Romantic Love and the Denial of Difference

Romantic Love and the Denial of Difference

Friedrich Schlegel and Dorothea Veit

(p.45) 2 Romantic Love and the Denial of Difference
Mixed Feelings

Katja Garloff

Cornell University Press

This chapter moves into the early Romantic period, when the increased social interaction between Jews and Christians in the Romantic salons led to much-discussed interfaith love affairs that found their way into literature. When in 1799 Friedrich Schlegel, the leading theoretician of German Romanticism, published Lucinde, the clearest example of the Romantic love ideal in German literature, it was widely assumed that the novel was based on the author's relationship with Dorothea Veit, the oldest daughter of Moses Mendelssohn. It is argued that Schlegel's transformation of love into a model for society hinges upon the elision of religious difference in favor of sexual opposition, an elision that explains the striking absence of references to Jews and Judaism in the novel. The second part of the chapter reads Veit's own novel Florentin (1801), in which love conspicuously fails to secure the hero the sense of home and identity he desires, as a critical response to Lucinde and a subversion of the Romantic love ideal. In resisting the homogenizing force of romantic love, Veit continues the political project of Mendelssohn, who sought to harness the powers of love for Jewish emancipation while guarding against forced assimilation.

Keywords:   Jews, Christians, interfaith love affairs, Friedrich Schlegel, Lucinde, Dorothea Veit, religious difference, Florentin

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