Novalis in Freiberg -
The Mark Left by the Poet and How his Works are Received
The 200th anniversary of the death of Novalis attracted great attention this year. In his short life, he united profession and vocation in a unique way. As a student of the Mining Academy in Freiberg, which at the end of the 18th century was still young but already world-famous, he regarded this town as a very special place in connection with ore mining. Therefore, the town of Freiberg offers enough reasons and opportunities for reflections on the life and works of the poet from different aspects: cultural and literary history on the one hand and the history of natural sciences on the other. This approach is exactly the way Novalis saw things. He translated experience and knowledge into poetry and made discoveries in poetry which disclosed the sense of life for mankind and nature. The works which were written in Freiberg on the basis of his experience of the Freiberg mining industry, the letters written from Freiberg to friends and acquaintances as well as the memories of his contemporaries who stayed at that time in Freiberg give the cultural and historical background to the subsequent reflections.
The article first examines the cultural climate at the time when Novalis studied at the mining academy in Freiberg then goes on to analyse its effect on Novalis's literary works. It follows with an overview of how the former GDR received and dealt with Novalis and of the increased interest from different scientific disciplines since the beginning of the 1990. Taking the example of the works of Frank Führmann, the article finally examines and explains the romantic phenomenon of mining in contemporary literature.