The Gates of Brunswick: Some Aspects of Symbol, Structure and Theme in Karl Philipp Moritz's "Anton Reiser" Author

(s): Mark Boulby Reviewed work(s): Source: The Modern Language Review, Vol. 68, No. 1 (Jan., 1973), pp. 105-114 Published by: Modern Humanities Research Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3726208 . Accessed: 24/10/2012 09:25
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Both Saine and Langen in my view correctly . Some commentators (e. I954). Schrimpf. Die AsthetischeTheodizee: Karl Philipp Moritz und die (Mfinchen. one of the two most interesting (the other being Goethe's own) which were written during the classical era of German literature. Jahrhunderts. August Langen's investigation. Eva J. Engel. that it was 'im eigentlichsten Verstande Biographie' (p. but refrains from considering its overall structures. and Die neue eines Geistersehers. I962). 1962). I909) ). Sammlung Metzler (Stuttgart. 4 Moritz's contemporaries disagreed as to whether the book was wholly historical or partly fiction. 1962). I968). Wege zum psychoentwicklungsgeschichtliches logischen Roman' (in Der DeutscheRoman. I69-2i8 symbolischen Dichtung'. but the novel makes a major contribution. I97').D. however. . Anton since it is more often than not regarded as not being a novel perplexing ambiguities. (Probefahrten. See also Hans Joachim Schrimpf's edition of the Philosophiedes r8. J. edited by Albert geschichtevon K. Cornell University. Schrimpf's article: 'Anton Reiser.4 The issue thus posed is a complicated one. and Thomas P. Zeitschriftfiir deutsche and 402-40. Wiese (Diisseldorf.Neudrucke deutscher Literaturwerke.2 His one well-known production. 23 (Heilbronn. 95-131) offers several acute observations. Ph. Neue Folge 7.reject this position. Auerbach) tend to emphasize its importance as a biographical document. I05). others (e. I. has received curiously little detailed and sustained analysis. Moritz und zur Kritik seiner Autobiographie Koster (Leipzig. (Kraus Reprint.THE GATES OF BRUNSWICK: SOME ASPECTS OF SYMBOL. und I9. STRUCTURE AND THEME IN KARL PHILIPP MORITZ'S 'ANTON REISER' In the resurgence of interest in Karl Philipp Moritz which has developed over the past twenty years critics have tended to be concerned with his philosophical and aesthetic thought. or else with such matters as the typicality of his passion for the theatre.Deutsche Litteraturdenkmale des I8. and the function of the symbolizing process in both novel and autobiography. 'Karl Philipp Moritz' Weg zur Philologie [cited below as ZDP] 8i (1962). and turns upon questions of historical veracity. Saine (Asthetische Theodizee) is not the centre of his concern.5 Saine. in his excellent monograph. Jahrhunderts zur aesthetic writings: KarlPhilippMoritz: Schriften AsthetikundPoetik. 5 All references to: AntonReiser: Ein Psychologischer Roman. Nendeln/Liechtenstein. (Tiibingen.g. Egon Menz. dissertation. Anton Reiser(I785-90). Carl Philipp Moritz: A Studyof His Ethical and Aesthetic leidenschaft (Unpublished Ph. i886). 2 Karl PhilippMoritz: Andreas aus Hartknopfs Predigerjahre. at least Reiser does present us with certain as a work of art in its own right. fictionalization. Saine. Karl Philipp Moritz und die Urspriinge deutschen der Theater(Tiibingen. 1968). although neither allows to AntonReiserthe full honour it surely deserves as a work of art. in the preface to Part Two.' Recently his all but totally forgotten fictional works. Die Ironie als Moment(Jena. has recently shed some 1 See for instance: Eckehard Catholy. Philipp Moritzens'Uber die bildende (G6ppingen. Schlichtegroll) stress its inaccuracies. Iffland) are witnesses to its truth. since it involves contentious matters of genre theory. Some modern critics have taken the view that there is little or nothing to distinguish the Moritz of history from the Anton Reiser of the book.3 Of course. Cecilia. Nineteenth-century critics (Geiger.edited by Benno v. Nachwort von H. culminating in Hugo zur Eybisch's enormously conscientious and invaluable study: Anton Reiser: Untersuchungen LebensI4. errors of memory or slanted presentation of the facts. Die Schrift Karl Concepts des Goppinger Arbeiten zur Germanistik. Fragmente demTagebuche Hartknopf:Andreas Nachwort von H. 1963). although it has been discussed in various contexts and from many points of view. Sammlung Metzler (Stuttgart. I909). J.g. Andreas Hartknopfs Predigerjahre (1790) and the short fragment Die Neue Cecilia (I794) have been rescued from oblivion and provided with illuminating commentaries. Andreas Hartknopf: Eine Allegorie(1786). i968). Moritz himself sowed confusion by calling the work 'ein psychologischer Roman' and then declaring. Schrimpf. 3 An examination of the form of the novel is to be found in Fritz Briiggemann. at all but rather an autobiography. studies the symbolic landscapes of the work intensively. 4 Nachahmung Schonen'.

involves 'a shaping of the past. zerfahrenen. constantly interrupted by reflections and digressions of various kinds. and the metaphors it does use are so insistent that we might be justified in calling them symbols for this reason alone. For the purposes of my argument on these matters. It imposes a pattern on a life.5 Though the language is in no sense richly metaphorical. 9I-2. light upon this enigma by drawing attention to the fact that for Moritz these terms. Stanzel: Typische Formen Romans des (secondedition. telescoping and symbolic fusing of remembered moments. it will also bring out a cardinal issue in the entire work of Moritz. p.3 a confessional work very dependent upon Pietistic models but transcending these to become a piece of rationalistic pedagogy and therapy:4 in all these cases the structural elements in the book will remain the same. though nonetheless essentially coherent. a 'zerqualten. although our view of their relative importance might well change. Theory of Saine. An elucidation of this process will do more than illuminate the structureof Anton for Reiser. Roy Pascal: Design and Truthin Autobiography (Cambridge. Persistentrepetitions of word. an empirical approach to the text will still indicate very much the same problems. and generally even the most mundane memoir. far from being mutually exclusive. with the trudge of a fearful treadmill.Gottingen. phrase and sentence are the most striking characteristicsof a style which moves cumbersomely. reiterative narrative. I956). I propose to leave problems of generic definition largely on one side. wandering. p. and a structuring. . abrupt and uneven. Io6-8). pp. and an aspect of the conflict between empiricism and holistic rationalism which is of importance for late eighteenth-century art and thought in general.g. and of recollection into inner autobiography. constructs out of it a coherent story. and often gracelessly. In AntonReiserthis process takes the form of the translation of mere event into meaningful event. welche das menschliche Denken von dem Denken h6herer Wesen verschieden 1 2 I965).more likely .'2 Whether we regard AntonReiseras an autobiography in the purest sense. I 3. Anton Reiser soon encounters an impenetrable wall in the mind. Literature (3rd edition. FrankK.6 Two outstanding examples are the wall and the desert: trying to learn to think. were in some measure Reiser complementary. as will be shown below). 17. it is a rather bare. I will suggest.1 In any case. New York. in particular an intricate and elusive relationship between the narrating and the 'narrated' self. (pp. Comparethe definitionof the symbol given by Austin Warren and Rend Wellek. p.o6 Structure Themein Moritz's 'AntonReiser' and Symbol. 'die undurchdringliche Scheidewand. Massachusetts. round and round certain recalled experiences. 1960). by the way. und Gottesstaat:Studienzum 'AntonReiser' (Winterthur. AntonReiseris not a novel in which imagery and metaphor abound. it is still highly individual. 4 Ruth Ghisler. in whatever way we choose to categorize Anton the task of its analysis may well not be greatly changed. Any autobiography. is the imposition of coherence on the biographical raw material by a particular shaping of past time. to call AntonReisera novel. Gesellschaft 6 3 For thesetermssee e. On the contrary. 4 As Schrimpf holds: 'AntonReiser. p. equating Moritz himself with both narrator and hero and holding that all the events related in it are true (a position. whether we think of it as just another 'auktorialer Roman' of the type quite popular in the eighteenth century or . 1955). and to begin by considering one or two aspects of the use of symbolization in this work. which cannot really be maintained. The most significant such element. in angstlichen Wiederholungen sich umwalzenden Stil'.a disguised 'Ich-Roman'. I89. Die Asthetische Theodizee. 9. 'Roman' and 'Biographie'.Wege zum psychologischen Roman'.

there was no other boy in the school called Moritz.p. Jean-Jacques Rousseau. 2 3 1 . when Moritz was at school in Hannover. or much later on an 'altes Gemauer' (p. and it is probably wiser to be cautious in seeking extensive allegorical interpretations or topoi. literal account of a life just as it was lived.in his view . I963). p. in emulation of the Disciples. but certainly not primarily. exhausted and near starvation.disgraceful example of poetic licence: see Friedrich Schlichtegroll. Therefore the experience recounted is imaginary. And then we may note how frequently. 374) against which he mutely rests his head in the theatre at Gotha when it seems that all his hopes are for ever dashed. 244) which is the yellow heath in the rain. when Anton is at the end of his tether. 795). p. chewing ears of corn! The most important of the latter is perhaps the game indulged in with the name 'Anton Reiser'. he comes up against a wall outside the mind .g. and that this in turn depends not merely upon Moritz's declared didactic purpose (cf. (Livre de Poche. 273. 75. In. but betokening at its strongest that frightening transformation which the landscape sometimes undergoes as Anton tramps through it in pursuit of one or another mirage.a churchyard wall on which he stumbles in darkness when totally disoriented and 'vielleicht dem Wahnwitz nahe' (p. Gotha. contending with 'die Hitze des Tages' (pp. a wall. 202. It is however indisputable that we are not dealing here with a simple.the failure of his memory . appearing often merely as the persistent adjective '6de' (e. thus the 'einsamste Wiiste' (p.4But what is far more important than all this: it is clear that the narrative is constructed upon a basis of certain symbolic moments in a way which goes beyond what is normal in simple autobiography.' There is in fact reason to believe that Moritz himself sometimes saw his hero in this symbolic light too. Confessions Compare Pascal. pp. had introduced from time to time 'quelque ornement indiff6rent' into his parade of ruthless truths. Paris.2 his excuse . at the beginning of Part Four.at any rate.3 In Anton Reiser. 242. there are not only instances of errorsand failure of memory but also some of conscious fictionalization. in which Anton sets out from Hannover 'in der Mitte des Winters' (p. 334). 21-2. 223). Perhaps even more obtrusive is the metaphor of the desert. Schlichtegroll is the first to draw attention to this .MARK BOULBY Io7 macht' (p. 342 and 345) and then. The most grotesque of the former occurs at the very end of Part Three. the author observes later on. only to be found the next day. in search of the City of God. 339) but also upon a much deeper formative impulse. In his discussion of symbolism in AntonReiserLangen fails to make a distinction which is surely central: this is the distinction between the symbolic transmutation Compare Ghisler. 261. or the 'kahle Mauer' (p. 4 During the period in question. rhythmic 'so tot. 329). all the way back to Miihlhausen. Homo Viator et Peregrinator. which in fact controls the whole work. 284). Perhaps he was little in need of excuses since it may even be an obligation of autobiography to 'tamper' with the so-called past. Rousseau. 388) as he struggles on. Commentators have been quick to see in Anton Reiser a symbolic figure. so 6de' (pp. 69. pp. Moritz's most distinguished predecessorin the new art of the psychological autobiography. 294) or in the recurring. at least as far as this novel is concerned. Nekrologauf das Jahr 1793 (Vierter Jahrgang. 426) as he staggers about the countryside wet through and in despair. Studium. which separates men from that Otherness which is greater than 'all that is'. especially the account of the strange feeling the hero is said to have experienced in meeting with another boy at school with the same surname.was only a partial one. Design and Truth. or the 'furchtbare Wiiste' (p.

The analysis of compensatory fantasies is of course a major theme in Anton Reiser. of events in the mind of the hero of the novel as he moves through life. as being subversive of rational judgement. a quality with which Anton is in any case none too richly endowed. solange dieser Reichtum von Bildern ihm vorschwebte. Berlin. but the narrator dismisses all this objectively and derogatively as a mere 'Spiel seiner Phantasie' (p.2 the tower is a symbol to the boy (and somewhat differently to the youth later on) and with it is connected his dearest childhood aspiration. 83). I. to see into 'das geheimnisvolle Triebwerk des wunderbaren Schalles' (p. For Moritz. wovon ihm der Schuster sagte.3 At the same time.. Early in the novel there is a detailed examination of the boy's association of Pastor Paulmann's phrase.Io8 Structure Theme Moritz's 'AntonReiser' in and Symbol.. 1892). The matter is gone into by Max Dessoir. In the first case. p. towers to be found in the novel. 365) Unfortunately this symbolization of forthcoming triumph. ironic words: 'Mit seinem einzigen Gulden in der Tasche fiihlte sich Reiser begliickt wie ein Konig. I20.. . filled with uneasy reflections and doubts about his future. to inspect the great clock from close at hand. 82). Denn das Turmchen bezeichnete ihm nun deutlich den Fleck. (p. Anton Reiser appears as a character in what amounts to an 'Antibildungsroman'. vol. 3 A consideration of the extent of Moritz's debt to Wolffian thought and to the traditional der 'Vermogenstheorie' is impossible here. daB der eine auf der Kirche und der andere auf dem Kom6dienhause stiinde. indeed. made him inclined to view the imagination ('Einbildungskraft') as a lower faculty. one of a whole series of references to. 'Anton Reiser'.. essentially Wolffian. Geschichte neueren deutschen der Psychologie(second edition. 366). Dieser Platz behauptete dort seine Rechte neben dem geweihten Tempel und war selbst ein Tempel der Kunst und den Musen geweiht. more often than not. but which then turn out. 213-14. 83).1 finding symbolic meanings in the world around him which frequently influence his actions and his conception of himself. quite evidently. Dieser angenehme Kontrast und lebhafte sinnliche Eindruck machte. to be delusory. 'die H6hen der Vernunft' (p. and descriptions of. wo der unmittelbare laute Beifall eingeerntet und die Winsche des ruhmbegierigen Jiinglings gekront wiirden. die die Spitze des Tiirmchens von Gotha umgaukelten und Reisern einen sch6nen Traum in die Zukunft aufs neue vorspiegelten' (p. the intellectual traditions in which he had been educated. symbolization in this manner is not always 1 Schrimpf. where each morning and evening the town musicians blow their instruments in the high gallery.. I902) and by Robert Sommer. The obsessive pursuit of symbolical or allegorical meanings in everyday things (a well-known practice in Pietistic circles) here strikes the narrator. As Anton plods wearily towards the town of Gotha. Grundziige und der Geschichte deutschen Psychologie Asthetik(Wfirzburg. Hence the narrator. and then with the clock-tower in Hannover. A striking example occurs with the towers of Gotha. 81 (I962). with the lofty organ in the choir. expresses his disapproval in pointed. a severe judge in such instances. he notices the twin towers: die beiden kleinen Tiirmchen von Gotha. and this same process when it is a function of the narrative technique itself. and the inflation of the theatre by the analogy with a church (a parallel which is not isolated but central to the novel and which emerges early on when preacher and actor are compared) amounts to another surrender to those dreams which are Anton's constant undoing. 2For a general discussion of tower symbols see Langen in ZDP. daB sein Gemuit sich allmahlich wieder erheiterte und er durch verdoppelte Schritte seinen Gefihrten wieder in Atem setzte.

which he never clearly distinguished from allegory. It is as though he awakes from a long dream. I786). The narrator himself employs such techniques. there is created a 'picture' which for Anton and his narrator (who have here coalesced) is filled with symbolic force: in Armenbedeutungsvoll Das Bild. Pockels. however. 'sein ganzes Leben von jener Zeit an . einige Jahre nachherdie Nachrichtvon seinem Tode vernahm Denn wenn irgendein Bild sich formte. and Moritz usually treats their relationship in fairly conventional terms.MARK BOULBY IO9 spurned as a dangerously subjective game. On one occasion during Anton's miserable stay in Brunswick.2 'Zeichen' and 'Sache' are held stiffly apart in Wolffian thought. it is important to note. such a process is common enough in Moritz's other works. 414) bedeutendes This passage indicates something of Moritz's conception of the symbol. is actually called an 'Allegorie'. As he recalls his initial sight of the sentry pacing the wall. In the travel journals. 'NirgendsflieBendie Begriffevon Zeichen und Sache mehr ineinanderals hier' einer (Versuch kleinen praktischen Kinderlogik (Berlin.and not later. als er diesen StygischenFluB herunterblickte. ..wo Zeichenund Sacheeins wurden. in the memory. the perfect identity of sign and thing actually occurs in life in such a way as to leave an indelible picture. of course. making them not merely subordinate to his hero's limited or deluded vision. which he discusses in relation to the sign-language of deaf mutes. 77). and 'alle die abwechselnden Szenen seines Lebens . wie Sauermit blassenWangenund untergeschlagenen kam Reisernlebhaftwiedervor die Seele. on one of his Sunday strolls. lined with willows. one day upon a country walk stops and stares gloomily down into a dark stream. Looking back down the long straight road. and indeed both the Hartknopf are packed with obscurely allegorical and parabolic material. dringten sich dicht ineinander..3 In the passage describing Dr Sauer. und die einzelnen Bilder schienen sich nach einem groBern MaBstabe. 77). . Andreas Hartknopf. (p. as a rare instancewhere 'sign' and 'thing' are indeed of almost identical. in as we might expect. In fact. novels Part One. along which they had come. i. . P. strange feelings assail him. But even in AntonReiserthere is one outstanding example of a positiveevaluation of the perilous act of symbolization. stand jetzt auf einmal in seiner Erinnerung da' (p. which brings us to the heart of the discussion. operated with at least two very different styles at the same time. Berlin. in the former). p. is Reiser far more dependent than Moritz can have realized upon his own And Anton for imposing symbolic structuresof this kind upon his past life and thus stylizing gift it. with the individual scenes 1 NorthropFrye'sterm for 'pretentious impostor'. a 'bedeutendes Bild'. The immediate past takes sudden shape in Anton's mind. who must be contrasted with the ironically depicted alazon. den seine Seele auf einmal erhielt.l Anton Reiser. When Anton's friend in Erfurt. 198. Moritz and C. they offer an ideal figure (Hartknopf). zu verkleinern' (p. He was especially interested in metonyms. the unfortunate Dr Sauer. ReiseneinesDeutschen England(1783) in and Reiseneines Deutschen Italien (I792-3) there is a good deal of metaphoric elaboration and the workings of a surely proto-Romantic fantasy (especially in the famous account of the visit to Castleton Hole. at the city gates through which he had entered with his father a year and a half before. in parallel with AntonReiser. I786-8). he arrives. as a sort of apprentice to the mystically-minded hatter Lobenstein. 2 (edited by C.so war es hier. 66). The point is that Moritz's style did not evolve from he Reiserto Hartknopf. These books were written. Compare Denkwiirdigkeiten 3 An example is the discussion money. F.

was ihn umgibt. when Anton may cease to believe in the meaning. so that in the end everything may be reduced to 'tierische Zerstuckbarkeit' (p. Alltagliche und Zerstuckte desselben hefteten. then coherence can be achieved and individual meaning born. and where it occurs to him that the watching crowd and he himself are equally 'zerstiickbar'. since it appears to 2 A large number of passages from the Hartknopfnovels could be used to support this point. p. the endlessly repeated. especially in children. daB gleichsam alle die Faden abgeschnitten wirden. generally linked with place. Consistent with his reiterative manner. Physical objects. When it becomes possible to rise above the endless sequence of moments and to acquire 'ein anschauliches Bild' of past life. as existing fatally in time. of course. Up till now Anton had never succeeded in visualizing 'sein ganzes Leben in Braunschweig mit allen seinen mannigfaltigen Veranderungen in einem einzigen vollen Blick'. and this moreover for a particular reason: 'Der Ort. Thus the moment of time. Significantly. the author returns a page or two later to a protracted discussion of this same experience. 56). must at all costs be able to extend his existence 'iiber den gegenwirtigen Moment aus.1 Anton Reiser struggles to free himself from 'das Momentane. war es n6tig. verschlungen wurde'. according to the measure of a new insight. worin er sonst.10o and in Structure Theme Moritz's 'AntonReiser' Symbol. And in these passages we find emerging little less than a proto-naturalistic view of the power of circumstance. upon the subordinate mind. 79). the narrator has just discussed the power of place over the imagination. seems a force hostile to life itself. may act as a catalyst: 'Kurz es gibt einige k6rperliche Gegenstande. bei deren Anblick wir eine dunkle tbersicht unsers ganzen Lebens.' (p. 230).. wo er sich jedesmal befand. grip of the everyday moment of time. is absent at any one of the many low points in the novel.2 'Anschaulich' indeed in this author's usage implies clarity and completeness of outline. mit alle dem. Moritz was a Cartesian in his insistence that mind is distinguished from matter in having no extension in space. and this last term (a favourite of the author's) is most clearly elucidated in the passage in the novel which describes the boy's attendance at an execution.Metzler re-edition. erinnerte ihn immer zu stark an irgendeinen einzelnen Teil desselben. 94. for it breaks it up into an infinite succession of instants of enslavement and prevents the formation of a whole and persistent self transcending such temporal succession. or sometimes even the reality. die seine Aufmerksamkeitimmer an das Momentane. he declares in the Kinderlogik. 1 Kinderlogik. als daB noch fur das Ganze in seiner Denkkraft Platz gewesen ware' (p. p. The grip of the part precludes that freedom of vision which alone could embrace the whole. Man. This is the process which is annulled at the gates of Brunswick. and this seen moreover with great precision and acuteness as an effectuponconsciousness. and 'zerstiickt'. for all thinking involves succession. and he now adds: 'Um von dem Ganzen seines hiesigen Lebens ein anschauliches Bild zu haben. printed out small so that this past may be surveyed at a glance and comprehended entire. And this. which is on the whole derivative. Alltagliche und Zerstiickte'. or rather experienced it.. 79). as it does for Goethe. where four criminals are to be erased from the ranks of the living. und vielleicht unsers ganzen Daseins erhalten' (AndreasHartknopf. . Moritz's right to be regarded as one of the most original minds among German men of letters of his day depends not upon the grand frameworkof his ideas. but upon a number of empirical observations such as this one. of his existence. but he saw it. which is all that can exist for any consciousness. we are told.

confined by and large in the first three parts to the labyrinthine streets and claustrophobic rooms and garrets of the poorer quarters of Brunswick and Hannover. They are also the place in the novel at which Karl Philipp Moritz. parts without a whole. is frequently associated with the urge to break loose. and his life slips between his fingers. 2 See. like the human mind. has no existence in space but. 237).g. 29 ff. I961). University of Koln. at which a segment of the immediate past is integrated with the present and seen 'mit einem Blick'. Then landscapes come and go. This typically Romantic contrast is of course connected with the conflict between 'Einschrankung' and 'Ausdehnung' which has long been a commonplace of Moritz criticism. Catholy. He is thrilled by his escape 'aus dem umschrankten Zirkel seines Daseins in die grosse weite Welt' (p. The only 'genuine individual' would evidently be God who. 28. It is interesting to note that such a moment as that described above. opens out suddenly in the final part. e. This in fact is all that most men have. p. whole and entire. unlike it. I60). p. so unambiguous is their connotation that they are almost a metonym. die fur Reisers Leben bestimmend sind'. Skorna. lacking as they do individuality. Poor Anton in contrast is dragged down by incoherent moments of time. sobald er die vier Tiirme von Hannover aus dem Gesicht verlor'. AntonReiseris a novel which. Thus it is in a double sense that we have here a 'bedeutendes Bild'. alles mit einem Blick umfassenden Wesen konnte er sich kein wahres Individuum denken' (p. or a part of it. disjecta membra having the illusion of wholeness only because of the tedious similarity of successive moments of time. abgerissen und zerstiickt' (p. Thus the two come together in Moritz's imagination and the symbol is born.2 The word 'Zirkel' also has a special resonance here: it is in the city. 207). none in time either. steeples appear and fade from sight. 36). exactly the same experience supervenes: 'ein ganzer Zeitraum seines verflossenen Lebens stand vor ihm da. with subsequent despair. and therefore 'true existence': 'Die wahre Existenz schien ihm nur auf das eigentliche Individuum begrenzt zu sein . for He can see the whole of a life in its total coherence and all at once. When for instance the 'Primaner' Anton Reiser sets forth from Hannover to travel the considerable distance to the village where his parents live. 'ohne Zweck. hills rise and fall. his narrator.' that is.und auBer einem ewig unveranderlichen. . and this is not merely for the obvious reason that it usually occurs near the city gates and almost always outside the city. the gates themselves can be called a 'Zeichen'. as becomes quite clear when we note that this is only one of several very similar passages which punctuate the sprawling narrative. and 'groBe weite Welt'. The incident at the gates of Brunswick is symbolic. In these peregrinations the gates themselves are 'das Sinnbild einer Grenze zwischen jenen beiden Bereichen. And He would be (we can infer) the perfect biographer also. 'Stadt'. chooses to make him see it.. 'der eigentliche Roman seines Lebens' (p. The vision of wholeness in fact contains within itself the germ of freedom. now acquiring demonic qualities for the first time in German 1 Hans J. Der Wanderer demRomander Goethezeit in (Unpublished dissertation. But the gates of Brunswickare not only the place at which Anton Reiser first sees his life. walls and gates materialize to confront this first of the German Romantic wanderers with hopes and.MARK BOULBY III him as a mere chain of memories in a single plane. on to the highways of the wide world. most often. and it is to freedom that the sign of the gates also points.

as on the occasion when. Any deeper insight into AntonReiserdepends upon the recognition of these two levels. authenticated vision of wholeness and meaning. 'alles fuhr ihm auf einmal durch die Seele' (p. 'als ob die Hauser aufihn fallen wollten' (p. as the narrator wishes to indicate. or with the appearance or disappearance of towers or city walls. by virtue of its organization of memories and the intimate. Alles schien ihm da so dicht. in which long accounts of apparently petty episodes and the expansive detailing ofjournies are punctuated by flashes of insight. cursed by his father before the gates of Hannover. freedom and resolve. except in the recurrence of the linking sign. or when. 58. so klein ineinander zu laufen' (p. be negative. an object of wonder in childhood. The claustrophobia of the city. Thus this autobiographical novel. It is in fact a useful stylization. however. an entirely subjective neurosis. I950).the walled cities which become demonic as soon as they cease to be. The nature of this thematic material .. that 'sich alles so im Zirkel drehte . The presence of the superior level is not always obvious. the concrete object or physical event. the chain of moments becoming here a vicious circle of petty futilities. imposes the form of his scientific understanding upon the collected memories of his past. is later on 'ein fiirchterlicher Anblick' 1 Compare Stemme's definition: 'Anton Reiserist die stilisierteLebensgeschichte von Karl Philipp Moritz in romanhafter Form'. 226) . Normally. and the heaths between was no doubt itself a factor in the emergence of the peculiar structure of Anton Reiser. or fail to be. As far as the hero's vision is concerned. on the contrary they constitute the pattern which the novelist-autobiographer imposes on his material. 188-9). University of Marburg. the other of an objective and. As for the towers of Hannover. And it is clear that in constantly associating the turning points in his protagonist's consciousness of self with the physical act of passing through the gates. fluid tension between narrating and 'narrated' self. There is considerable variation in the detailed handling of the episodes themselves. his groping for a shape for his life is merely continued by his narrator on another plane as the latter. 324) is. 242). its horror as a place of psychic torment. as far as Moritz was concerned. is itself a projection of the very pattern of life-experience its hero undergoes. so that Anton's decisions are often wrong and occasionally disastrous. gate. Stemme. in which the hero's life takes on form in his own vision whilst this at the same time gives overall form to the book. he is overjoyed to remember that the Ackermann troupe is in town (pp. the clock tower. and the inner experience or discovery of sense. . p.the entire coherence of his misery. the 'Zeichen'..112 and Structure Themein Moritz's 'AntonReiser' Symbol. The experience of wholeness may even. 'ein angstliches Gefiihl' (p. Moritz has brought together two terms. as on the occasion when Anton approaches Gotha. one of a subjective and often deluded. 300). but this is often reversed. now released and enlightened. whereas the approach to the city from without arouses gloom and nervousness. 'Karl Philipp Moritz und die Entwicklung von der pietistischen Autobiographie zur Romanliteratur der Erfahrungsseelenkunde' (Unpublished dissertation. repeating and repeating like the narrator's sentences themselves. literature. on returning to Hannover. the 'Sache'. tower or wall. F. though rarely. the Civitas Dei. these become symbols of fear and depression. But these episodes are not simply Anton's subjective vision. in a symmetry which can scarcely have always existed thus in reality.' and Anton's obscure searching. this form (and the concomitant meaning) commonly turn out to be delusory. departure through the gates is a time of hope and excited resolution.

give way to joy. Here. and his consciousness is suddenly no longer subordinate to the enslaving moment of present time: der gegenwartige Moment beschrankte sein Dasein nicht . But at Eisenach. 1 Compare Langen. instigate an important act of immature symbolization. Walking one night on the walls of Hannover. ZDP. Then the narrator. to the sound of bells.MARK BOULBY I 3 (p. whose knowledge is of course still further advanced than his character's. 2 In a quite different context. und iiber dem Anblick der Hauser. on the walls of Erfurt. Here again. und nicht einzeln und zerstiickt betrachtete (pp. Und dies waren die glticklichsten Momente seines Lebens. And thus all the moments an objective at the gates.2 the desperate craving for coherence and wholeness which has informed the wretched life of Anton Reiser from his earliest memories connects with the first flickerings of scientific interest in himself. Anton looks down at the houses below. des Steinpflasters alles Vergangene und Entfernte vergaB. as Anton sees the possibility of grasping the meaning of what has happened to him. ihn zu interessieren. und mir Vergangenheit und Entfernung wieder lebhaft vor die Seele brachte' (Magazin zur Erfahrungsseelenkunde. on the Wartburg. 5). der mich zuruckrief. a Gothic horror where death sentences are proclaimed. and is broader and more scientific. as has been shown. This is part of a complex discussion of the difference between place ('Nebeneinanderstellung') and time ('Succession'). The towers of Gotha. Anton finally sees his entire existence as a connected and meaningful design. and upon the psychological importance of repetition. Anton Reiser actually ascends a tower. wo sein eigenes Dasein erst anfing. or between vision and hearing. His disgust and despair. as a case history.sondern er faBte alles das wieder mit. Such moments of symbolic elevation were soon to become cliches of Romantic writing. 193. 'dies Immerwiederkehrende in den sinnlichen Eindriicken' (p. that the most revealing instance of all occurs. war es der Klang der Glocken. The analogy with the pattern at the gates of Brunswickis fairly close we have the view of life as a whole and the urge to break loose into a more promising future. 400). 382). at the same time the lights give him an 'tberblick des Ganzen' and he imagines himself free of these limitations. Strolling there and listening to the church bells. weil er es in einem gewissen Zusammenhang. comments upon the nature of conditioning. 8I (I962). as he gazes out over the landscape. p. 4. The towers of Erfurt are inevitably mentioned. or between painting and music. 400). 187). narrator and hero have almost completely coalesced. Part 2. 'Ihn zu interessieren' is a phrase which points beyond the emotional fantasies of the unfortunate Anton to the critical understanding of the autobiographer. These two touch. der Tiirme. clearly. and to the writing of this remarkable autobiography. and 'die Eingeschrinktheit des einzelnen Menschen ward ihm anschaulich' 229) (my italics). on the towers and on the walls lead up to the possibility of an accounting. upon the circle in which people constantly turn. feeling suddenly. which arise whenever he experiences the 'Druck der Umstinde' (p. und mich nur auf den gegenwartigen armen Fleck meiner Existenz eingeschrankt fiihlte. 399-400). emerging from the crowd as a specially gifted individual. was schon entschwunden war.they are not really typical for Moritz. Moritz discusses the liberating effect of the sound of bells: 'So oft ich an einem entfernten Orte war. but not dwelt upon. though . But it is much later. and thus beginning to live in a new context. 'uibersein Schicksal erhaben' (p. 8 . (p. Vol.1 But the motif of elevation is also used in connexion with city walls. on the walls of Erfurt.as Langen points out .

This magic Moritz calls 'die das Zerstiickte in eins verwandelnde Kunst'. 125. the essence of the autobiographer's art. as one of the first true empiricists in the field of psychological science in Germany. Critics are agreed as to the importance of the concept of wholeness. I919). lead back to Pietism. Schrimpf. einen rationalen Ablauf seiner Erlebnisse. striving to embrace and transcend the empirical moment and thus rescue a threatened higher reality. I3.4 This had not only become. in the late eighteenth century. Nacht und Dunkelheit' (p. p. which are complex. It would certainly be facile to regard the impressive and often difficult aesthetic system des which Moritz expounded. For. In writing his autobiography. Verwirrung. e.g. Moritz was one of the earliest unhappy victims of the march of empiricism. p. as manifested in Rousseau. but equally to Baumgarten and Leibniz. principally in Uber die bildende Nachahmung Schinen ( 788). in the light of their faith in God. but it is balanced by other factors.in its content. In this he followed the instinctive commitment of the psychologically oriented autobiographer the search for symbolic moments. Moritz found a way of imposing coherence upon a life which had so often seemed to be nothing but 'Zwecklosigkeit.I 14 in and Structure Theme Moritz's 'AntonReiser' Symbol. 2 1 . As Mahrholz says of Spener's autobiography. VANCOUVER. 4 Kinderlogik. especially in Part Four. DeutscheSelbstbekenntnisse (Berlin. No doubt. in its structure and its symbolism it reaches out however for the eternal. published in 1718: 'sie sucht eine Einheit des Menschenwesens. however. AntonReiser. 'Anton Reiser'. such a psychological mechanism had its part to play. 3 Werner Mahrholz. eine rationale Verkniipfung seiner Erfahrungen'. but true individuality bursts through the present moment and thus escapes into eternity. I26. is inexorably subject to succession. which makes of it a great work of art. science and 'Aufklarung' are still not all. supported by symbol. of 'das In-sich-selbst-Vollendete" in Moritz's aesthetic thought. Io5). Schrimpf 'Anton Reiser'. Schrimpf observes in AntonReiser'die zunehmende Asthetisierung menschlichen Ganzheitsstrebens'. However. p. but also more particularly he adhered to the general trend. as a mere compensatory edifice.hence the significance of the discussions of poetry and art. it is also a statement of one of the central concerns of German Classicism. BRITISH COLUMBIA M K MARK BOULBY Compare. A man's life is infinitely fragmentary. I50. in reaction against 'die entseelte Wirklichkeit'2. One suspects that the search for coherence was always sustained from that deeper level of Moritz's experience where he had his confrontation with time. to time.3 Pietistic autobiographers also sought a rational understanding of themselves. The sources of it. and in the Pietistic autobiography to which he owed so much. just as the Reiserjustlyfamous as a work of psychology empirical analysis which has made Anton is balanced by the discernible structure. is Germany's first great novel of empirical psychology. But what was for Spener and Francke first and foremost a question of justification in the eyes of God has become for Moritz a need for scientific intelligibility. abgerissene Fiden. p.