Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Adrian Del Caro


Not only did Friedrich Nietzsche acknowledge his stylistic affinity for Heinrich Heine, but both writers--despite their overt criticism of certain aspects of German Romanticism--manifest significant parallels in style with the aesthetic formulations of the Romantic theorist Friedrich Schlegel for a new direction in contemporary literature. Friedrich Schlegel's Fragment 116 of the Athenaum, for example, designates this new poetic direction as "progressive universal poetry," and characterizes it as a poetic form capable of embracing the fluctuating multiplicity of the surrounding world as well as reflecting the developing ideas and individual personality of the poet-creator. The paradoxical result is a poetry that manifests unity in multiplicity, an unsystematic system with emphasis on the interrelatedness of form and content and on literature as a self-reflective mode of creativity. The self-reflective quality of Schlegel's "Universalpoesie" appears in the creative works of Heine and Nietzsche in the form of pervasive irony and self-parody. Disdain for systematization tempered with acute attention to organic unity and symphonic form also distinguishes the creative writings of both authors. In the Diesseitigkeit focus of their works, these writers recall Schlegel's concept of art as a mirror of the surrounding world. Furthermore, each writer, like Schlegel earlier, viewed his literary creations as interrelated, as forming a composite whole representing the evolution of the creative genius behind the works. Perhaps most significant to this comparative study is the fact that in many respects Schlegel's aesthetic views and formulations foreshadow the aesthetic implications of Nietzsche's Dionysian concept, a concept which finds many aesthetic parallels and previews in Heine as well. For Nietzsche, Dionysus was a symbol of the eternally "becoming" aspect of existence. It is this aspect of life which Nietzsche sought to manifest and affirm in his art. In the Gesprach uber die Poesie, Schlegel too hailed the view of nature reflected in the Dionysian cults at Eleusis and pointed to these mysteries as the source of a new cultural revival, a new modern mythology.