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


Poems in Günderrode’s Notebooks & Their Sources

Supplementary information and corrections to published scholarship on the sources for poems transcribed in Günderrode’s notebooks. This is a resource for scholars working on Günderrode’s notes and unpublished writings. Günderrode left numerous notes from her studies on a range of subjects, including philosophy, chemistry, Latin, metrics, physiognomy, ancient history and religions from across the world.…

Karoline von Günderrode, “Muhammad’s Dream in the Desert”

This poem was published in Günderrode’s first collection of poetry, dialogues and short stories, Poems and Fantasies, which appeared in 1804. Unlike Günderrode’s play Muhammad, the Prophet of Mecca, the poem does not follow Muhammad’s life or use the Prophet as a stand-in for European political figures. Instead, the piece develops Romantic, Christian, and alchemical…

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 in…

Karoline von Günderrode, “Valorich”

Although this piece is unfinished (it ends mid-sentence), it was set to be published as the last piece in what would have been Günderrode’s third collection of poetry and short prose, “Melete.” The second part of the piece has been lost, leaving a tantalising fragment that uses humour to gently mock its characters and the…

Shirking Your Responsibilities

Sarah Cameron is a multi-award winning painter and photographer with an MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art and a BFA from Edinburgh College of Art. At the time the pieces for this website were painted, she was working in oils on representations of the human-nature relationship. She was particularly interested in the perceived…

Karoline von Günderrode, “Musa”

This little-read short story by Günderrode is loosely based on the events of the 15th century Ottoman Interregnum. The story contains typical Günderrodean themes of friendship and betrayal, as well as the limits of the rightful use of power and the nature of tyranny. The piece also showcases Günderrode’s interest in epic stories and the…

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 to…

Untitled painting (Günderrode; the unknown)

Sarah Cameron is a multi-award winning painter and photographer with an MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art and a BFA from Edinburgh College of Art. I commissioned this large, untitled piece at a time when Sarah was working, in conceptual terms, on paintings as repositories of emotions and, in technical terms, on the…

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,” or…

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” for…

Friedrich’s Mountain, Botched Romance

Sarah Cameron is a multi-award winning painter and photographer with an MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art and a BFA from Edinburgh College of Art. At the time the pieces for this website were painted, she was working on representations of the human-nature relationship. She was particularly interested in the perceived boundary between…

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’s…

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.…

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