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“Yes, a time of perfection must come, when each being will be harmonious with itself and with the others, when they flow into each other and become one in a great unison, when every melody throws itself into the eternal harmony.” – Karoline von Günderrode

Art: Sarah Cameron, Friedrich’s Mountain: Botched Romance. sarahcameroninfo@gmail.com

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Get new content delivered directly to your inbox. Twice-monthly entries on historical women philosophers, expanding the canon, and related topics in philosophy, literature, and fine arts.

Guest posts on historical German women philosophers at the Genealogies of Modernity project.


Karoline von Günderrode, “Antiquity, and Modernity”

This unfinished poem by Günderrode contrasts faith and reason; an enchanted world with a safer but less inspiring world of science. The piece has parallels to Novalis’ “Christendom, or Europa,” although it was very likely written before Novalis’ text was published. It is interesting in part because of its consideration of themes that appear inContinue reading “Karoline von Günderrode, “Antiquity, and Modernity””

Why We Should Read Günderrode as a Philosopher

The question of why we should read Karoline von Günderrode (1780-1806) as a philosopher is only a specific instance of the question about the value of studying historical women’s writing in general for its philosophical contributions. The discipline of philosophy, as it is carried out in academic institutions in the west, has historically tended toContinue reading “Why We Should Read Günderrode as a Philosopher”

Karoline von Günderrode, “The Apparition”

Karoline von Günderrode’s “The Apparition” is a ghost story dealing with betrayal and regret, as well as two of Günderrode’s trademark themes: connections between the living and the dead, and the search for knowledge. The piece appeared in Poems and Fantasies: Günderrode’s first, 1804 collection of poetry, short stories, dialogues and Lesedramen (“closet dramas,” orContinue reading “Karoline von Günderrode, “The Apparition””

Why I Don’t Want to Talk About Günderrode’s Suicide

Karoline von Günderrode killed herself on 26 July 1806, after receiving a letter from the married Georg Friedrich Creuzer ending their affair. This event, and its spectacular circumstances (she stabbed herself in the heart with a silver dagger, on the banks of the Rhine, leaving a poem and a blood-stained handkerchief as a “pledge” forContinue reading “Why I Don’t Want to Talk About Günderrode’s Suicide”

Karoline von Günderrode, “Don Juan”

Karoline von Günderrode’s poem “Don Juan” was published in her first, 1804 collection of poems, dialogues and short stories, Poems and Fantasies. The poem is a highly original take on the Don Juan story and reflects Romantic ideas of gender, of the relationship between art, love and morals, and of social constraints vs individuality. Günderrode’sContinue reading “Karoline von Günderrode, “Don Juan””

Philosophy and Genre

Philosophy has always been practiced in a wide variety of genres, both written and spoken. In philosophy programs in the west, we’re often trained to look for philosophy in specific types of writing: structured prose passages that make arguments in an explicit and logical form. But this is not the only way philosophy is done.Continue reading “Philosophy and Genre”

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