Romantische Realität: Ludwig Tiecks ‘Reisegedichte’ und die Persistenz frühromantischen Denkens

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Ludwig Tieck’s Italian journey of 1805–6 is usually considered to be a turning point in the life and oeuvre of this author. The poetological and aesthetic differences between works he wrote before and after the time in Italy cannot be ignored. The lived experience of early romanticism turns into ‘remembered romanticism’ in the first decade of the nineteenth century, and in ‘Reisegedichte eines Kranken’ and ‘Rückkehr des Genesenden’, both of which were composed during the Italian journey, the ironic playfulness of ‘Universalpoesie’ seemingly makes way for a realistic view both of experiences gained in Italy and of the contingency of history. However, a closer look at the realism of the ‘Reisegedichte’ reveals traces of exactly that early romanticism from which the poems allegedly depart. The introductory poems, in particular, constitute a poetic and self-referential framework for the double cycle that connects the texts to Tieck’s earlier ideas on aesthetics. Tieck’s realism, this essay argues, is less the result of a complete reorientation in his aesthetics than it is a realignment of early romantic modes of thought.