Addresses to the German Nation (Cambridge Texts in the by Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Gregory Moore

By Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Gregory Moore

This is often the 1st translation of Fichte's addresses to the German country for nearly a hundred years. The sequence of 14 speeches, added when Berlin used to be below French profession after Prussia's disastrous defeat on the conflict of Jena in 1806, is commonly considered as a founding record of German nationalism, celebrated and reviled in equivalent degree. Fichte's account of the individuality of the German humans and his trust within the local superiority of its tradition helped to form German nationwide id during the 19th century and past. With an intensive creation that places Fichte's argument in its highbrow and ancient context, this version brings an immense and seminal paintings to a contemporary readership. all the ordinary sequence positive factors are supplied, together with notes for additional examining, chronology, and short biographies of key individuals.

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27 A second edition of the Addresses was accordingly banned in Prussia in 1824, the same state whose censors had given Fichte so much trouble in 1808, and had to be printed in Saxony. Fichte’s influence was also felt by conservative nationalists, who were impressed by his equation of language and identity. Friedrich de la Motte Fouque´, better known as a writer of romantic tales, drew on the conjectures in the Fourth Address in Etwas u¨ber den deutschen Adel (1819) and Der Mensch des Su¨dens und der Mensch des Nordens (1829), but gave them a narrower, more exclusivist sense.

Why should we too dread this clarity? The evil will not grow smaller through our ignorance of it, nor greater with knowledge; indeed, only by knowledge can it be remedied. No blame, however, shall be apportioned here at all. Excoriate indolence and selfishness through bitter censure, through biting mockery, through keen contempt, and incite them, if not to something better, than at least to a hatred of and exasperation towards the admonisher himself, for these are powerful impulses also – by all means do this for as long as the necessary consequence, the evil, is not yet complete, and salvation or mitigation can still be expected if things improve.

The First Address was eventually cleared on 1 April 1808, by which time Fichte had already concluded his course of lectures (on 20 March). The remaining addresses were passed without delay, although there were reservations about the disparaging comments in the Fifth concerning the ‘dead’ language and culture of the foreign countries, and some more serious misgivings about passages in the Eighth. Only with the final address did the censor again wield his red pencil, and Fichte was once more obliged to make a few small changes.

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