Catholic Political Thought, 1789-1848

By Baéla Menczer | Go to book overview

V. FRIEDRICH VON SCHLEGEL 1772-1829

FRIEDRICH VON SCHLEGEL, poet, historian and translator of Shakespeare, together with his brother August-Wilhelm, the poet and philosopher Friedrich von Hardenberg (better known under his pseudonym, Novalis), Clemens Brentano, and Count Friedrich Stolberg--these are the Germans of the period who, as the result of the French wars, the Napoleonic conquests and the fall of the last remnants of the Empire, moved towards the eternal and central light of European history and culture, and who gave a Christian and European meaning to a belated German Renaissance. Certainly none of them is a major teacher of the Church, fighting the aesthetic-pantheist heresy of the nineteenth century (which was mainly German) in the sense that St Augustine fought the Manichean heresy, or St Thomas the Albigensians. All the same, the German convert thinkers of the Napoleonic era, by the very fact of their conversion, took up the struggle against all the perils of agnostic deviation from a firm system of truth, against the trend in German philosophy which reached its fullest expression in Hegel's dialectics, against all the pitfalls of a "historicism" which confuses all standards by its pantheism.

It was a Protestant historian, the Swiss Johannes von Müller, who first showed, with great brilliance and learning, that the law of Europe governing the relations between the individual states was originally laid down by the Papacy, and that the European concept of personal liberty is inseparable from the law of Christian morality. It was a Protestant publicist, the Prussian Friedrich von Gentz (who later became an Austrian, for some decades the theoretical organ of Metternich's policy), who showed the dogmatic--ultimately the theological--character of the common law of Europe. But the last consequences of the principles laid down by German political thinkers in the struggle against Napoleon were drawn by such Germans who, in the critical years of Napoleon's rise to hegemony, placed their hopes in Catholic Austria. For some years, Vienna was the centre of German thought and the German awakening. Johannes von Müller (born in Switzerland) and Friedrich von Gentz (born in Prussia) spent the most important years of their lives in the Imperial city, the birth-place of the "Romantic" school of thought and of art.

The central figure of the Vienna circle was a priest and preacher

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Catholic Political Thought, 1789-1848
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction 1
  • 5- the Primacy of Politics: From Montesquieu to Bonald 38
  • I- Joseph De Maistre 1753-1821 59
  • III- François René, De Chateaubriand 1768-1848 96
  • IV- Honoré De Balzac 1799-1850 108
  • V- Friedrich Von Schlegel 1772-1829 119
  • VIII- Jaime Balmes 1810-1848 183
  • IX- Louis Veuillot 1813-1878 192
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