Where did the violin frog come from?

On the musical view of Jean Paul in his educational novel "Flegeljahre"




1) Multiple orientation inherent in the work

2) Historical and epochal multiple orientation

3) Production and reception of music interpretation

1) Reactions to the crisis in musical culture around 1800. Spectators and listeners

2) The realm of the romantic: eyes and ears

3) homesickness for the future

4) The "ruse" of humor (and music)

5) Listener typology. Design of a reception aesthetic for music: mediation between the "special" and the "general"

6) Enjoyment of the heart and enjoyment of art

7) Combination of the organic and the mechanical (or: the advantages of a beating game among musicians)

8) "vocal music"

9) Mask dance music

10) dream music


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The aim of this thesis is to present some aspects of Jean Paul’s view of music, as far as they are in a meaningful context that constitutes his educational novel "Flegeljahre". The organic diversity of living conditions and interpersonal relationships depicted in the novel could not be dealt with in detail here.

The focus of the investigation is Jean Paul's draft of a reception aesthetic that has so far hardly or not at all been considered in secondary literature.

This work lacks empirical data on Jean Paul's relationship to music. The historical and personal context left out here is dealt with in detail by Georg Schünemann and Gustav Jäger (1949) (cf. bibliography, pp. 72 and 70). Both works are highly recommended from this point of view.


On May 30, 1805, Jean Paul completed the fourth and last volume of the "Flegeljahre". According to his invitation, Karl August Varnhagen von Ense visited him in Bayreuth on October 23 and 24, 1808: "I asked about the flailing years and was delighted to hear that he will certainly continue it; he regards it as his best work, Where he actually lived, everything was at home and comfortable for him, like a friendly living room, a comfortable sofa and familiar, cheerful company. He is also convinced that he followed his most peculiar and truest direction in this book and that he has certainly met his true style in it Other of his books, he said, he could have made with his talent, but in the boozy years his talent had seized him himself, and Vult and Walt are only the two opposite and yet related persons, from whose union he consists. "1 The two twin brothers Vult and Walt are the main characters in the novel, the subtitle of which is "A Biography". Jean Paul himself describes his relationship with the "two opposite ... people" in his preparatory studies for the flail years2 as follows: "W.s and V.s dissonance must resolve itself higher, at least with me, if not with them." The character duplicity Vult - Walt experiences in the novel a reality that both people perceive and cope with differently. Vult and Walt are two different people who exchange experiences in dialogue with each other, but ultimately cannot slip out of their own skin. "Meanwhile, both have to digress into their (em?) System insofar as they lack the synthesizing poet."3 While Jean Paul on the one hand "consists of their union ...", Vult and Walt do not exhaust themselves exclusively in the person of Jean Paul. "Justice against all characters is the best, float over it. - ... Neither W. nor V. must be given unconditionally or always right or wrong."4 However, Jean Paul will (have to) take this seemingly neutral Archimedean point of view ad absurdum at the latest when Vult and Walt arguably work off each other in the course of the novel, so that the narrator Jean Paul brings himself into the story with judgment and in one of the last chapters of the novel, Walt proves the preference by predicting: "... and man will be like Walt, ...".5 This perspective has to be relativized insofar as Jean Paul wanted to continue the novel.6 In view of the premise that "neither W (old) nor V (ult) ... may always be given right or wrong", it can be assumed that if the novel had been continued, the person of Vult would have received rehabilitation.7 Jean Paul has the intention of his preliminary studies, "everything from one point of view, the second mitigating point comes after"8, g can no longer be realized.9

This fact raises several questions: To what extent can an interpretation of the flailing years be presented in a work-related way, and to what extent must the statements of the author Jean Paul on a certain subject area (e.g. music) be taken into account, which go beyond the framework of the inner logic of the flailing years? May the reflections on music in the context of the flail years be related to the, as it were, aphoristic and detached remarks on music in Jean Paul's literary papers?10 Finally, the reflections on music from other novels by Jean Paul are allowed11 be robbed of their specific position within the whole of the novel in order to obey the primacy of an upstream systematic, which scans Jean Paul's works for their usability with incomplete (and perhaps also "uninteresting") examination criteria?

An interpretation of the flail years from the point of view of presenting Jean Paul's view of music must take into account that Walt and Vult are delegated to a context of very specific living conditions.12

Even if there are many autobiographical moments involved, the novel's plot must not be denied a specific dynamic of its own. Jean Paul arranges and stages his novel, on the background of which the actors Walt and Vult are given their own interpretation. Last but not least, this means a difference between the aesthetic intent of the author Jean Paul and the aesthetic freedom of his readers in terms of reception. "On the one hand, the text is just a score, and on the other, it is the individual different abilities of the readers who instrument the work."13 Vult and Walt are score and instruments at the same time, because both Jean Paul consists of their union and his readers are offered a wide range of identification options. The character duplicity Vult - Walt harbors an added value in terms of plot qualities. It can counter the reality of life with a double strategy, in that two opposing people in an I-Thou relationship are able to cope with their life problems communicatively.

The "a priori of the communication community" between Vult and Walt can be understood as a condition of possibility, the "synthesis of the dualism between poetry and reality" demanded by Jean Paul in his preliminary studies14 to realize.15

It is remarkable that the reconciliation sought here between poetry and reality is reflected in the philosophy of art. Variants of this reconciliation problem can be analogized with the relationship levels spirit and nature (natural philosophy), subject and object (epistemological), individual and society (social science), law and gospel (salvation history), present and utopia (historical philosophy).

The realization of the synthesis idea presumably requires a multiple orientation, which is represented by Vult and Walt in an intrinsic way.

The phenomenon of this multiple orientation can at the same time be interpreted historically. Heinrich Heine characterizes Jean Paul in the third book of his 1835 study "The Romantic School": "I am talking about Jean Paul Friedrich Richter. He has been called the only one. An excellent judgment that I only fully understand now after thinking in vain about it At which point one should speak of him in a literary history. He appeared almost at the same time as the Romantic School, without taking any part in it, and just as little later he had the slightest communion with the Goethean School of Art. He stands quite isolated in his time, precisely because, in contrast to the two schools, he was completely devoted to his time and his heart was completely filled with it. His heart and his writings were one and the same. "16 If Heine's general judgment puts Jean Paul in a "neither-nor" position, this must be understood in the context of a polemical front position against "the new aesthetic doctrine"17 the "romantic school".18 Heine's literary policy makes it necessary to understand Jean Paul as "completely isolated in his time" in order to reclaim him for the interests of "young Germany".19 Nonetheless, Heine is correct in assuming that Jean Paul has a special status in literary aesthetics.

In the sense of a corrective to the history of reception, the literary scholar Peter Szondi speaks of a "neither-nor and both-and-attitude" with regard to Jean Paul's relationship to the Classical and Romantic periods.20 In his "Preschool of Aesthetics", which was created almost at the same time as the flail years, Jean Paul distinguishes between "poetic nihilists" and "poetic materialists".21 While these artistically double reality22 , they only make up their own delusional world "with the failure of all reality".23 The "poetic nihilist" represents the romantic, the "poetic materialist" the classicist.24 "As he (Jean Paul) ... is of the opinion that 'right aesthetics (...) will only be written one day by someone who is able to be a poet and a philosopher at the same time'25 So his treatment of the classical-romantic antithesis also aims at overcoming it, at the union of the two poles. "26 Szondi further states the following analogy relationships: "The exaggerated synonyma of idealistic and realistic are nihilistic and materialistic. The contrast that Jean Paul has in mind is that of ideal and real, subjective and objective ...".27 Here the circle of equations is closed.

The intrinsic interpretable problematic of a synthesis of the dualism between the ideal and the real, between poetry and reality, refers to a historical - epochal counterpart: the aesthetic plurality of a zeitgeist that experiences a paradigm shift from classic to romantic offers the possibility of multiple orientation. Nevertheless, it would be simpler to want to analogize the opposites "Vult - Walt" and "Classic - Romantic". In the contrast of terms between "objective" and "subjective", however, the immanence of the work and the historical context find a common denominator.28 From this point of view, relationships can be established between individual work and epoch, between - in a less demanding way - the individual work and the epochs of aesthetic theory reflected by the author. For an interpretation of the flail years, this means an orientation towards Jean Paul's "Preschool of Aesthetics".29

One of its central chapters explains the "concept of humor".30 Jean Paul describes humor as "a finite applied to the infinite"31 and determines its function: "The humor ... destroys ... the finite through the contrast with the idea."32 Jean Paul understands the function of music in the same way: "... the music (is) the mediator (...) between the present and the future."33

Jean Paul's concept of music is ambiguous: on the one hand, music has a share in the socialized concert business that has to finance the livelihood of the "professional" musicians, on the other hand it has the task of creating a utopian "second world" with and beyond all marketing.34 to transplant into reality. Music depends on being produced, interpreted and received, be it within or outside the institutional concert framework of a (bourgeois) musical culture. "The music itself does not exist ... actually, ... it (has) become a mere auxiliary construction of the mind, a not entirely correct abbreviation to simplify certain mental operations."35 It is only in the context of production and reception behavior that art's claim to autonomy, which emerged in the 18th century, can be perceived. On the production-aesthetic level, a "new conception of the aesthetic creative process that is closely linked to the cult of genius"36 propagated. In contrast to the work of the craftsman for a specific purpose, the artist's method of production is viewed beyond purposeful thinking and marketing interests. Under the premise that "the artist (...) only creates use, not exchange value"37 , the artificial product is relegated to an aesthetic area in which, in turn, only a very specific way of speaking about music is allowed. The artist will bring a music-aesthetic discourse to the public, which ultimately demands a "purposeless" reception behavior for the practical value of his product (composition, interpretation): the postulate that the music is heard for its own sake and not as a means for the purpose of an emotional massage should function, determines the paradigm shift from "emotional aesthetics" to "metaphysics of instrumental music" in terms of the history of ideas, a change that names the difference between vocal and instrumental music in a genre-specific manner.38

The aesthetic emancipation of music - its claim to autonomy affects production and reception - enables an "aesthetic opposition of art and non-art",39 a differentiation between art and the reality of life.

In the flail years, the idea of ​​autonomy is represented by the flute virtuoso Vult, who is interested in preserving his artist image and who therefore tries to ideologically glorify his ability to reflect on music. On the other hand, the lawyer and hobby poet Walt represents the idea of ​​a dedifferentiation between art and the reality of life. Walt lives in his own world and is often unable to perceive the problems of the "real" world. While Vult suffers from society, Walt comes to terms with her by poetically glorifying everything. While Vult needs a (survival) strategy, Walt goes through life with all imaginable naivety. Vult's strategic consciousness subordinates musical receptivity to art's claim to autonomy. Walt, on the other hand, receives music without feeling obliged to any overarching listening doctrine.40

Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to want to abandon the idea of ​​autonomy exclusively to suspicion of ideology. The reception claim to hear the music for its own sake is legitimized in the composition itself, in that the music is identified with a "musical logic".

Summarizing and pointing the way, it must be stated so far: The problem of a synthesis between reality and poetry refers to a concept of humor that contrasts the finite with the idea, and to a concept of music that mediates between the present and the future. The character duplicity Vult - Walt ultimately represents the dual offer of differentiation or de-differentiation between the reality of life and art.41


Fourteen out of a total of sixty-four chapters from the flail years focus on musically aesthetic, philosophical and sociological considerations.

The following attempt at interpretation does not intend to present chapters 13, 15, 20, 25, 26, 27, 30, 35, 40, 57, 60, 61, 63, 64 "chronologically" along the text, but tries to do a systematic one Explication of the problem complexes addressed in the text of the novel.

Among other things, the crisis situation in bourgeois musical culture around 1800, the evaluation of vocal music, the importance of dance, and finally the concept of music as a promise of a utopian "second world" are reflected on.42

The focus of the investigation is Jean Paul's draft of a reception aesthetic for music.

Jean Paul's music-aesthetic considerations outside of the novel are taken into account insofar as they illustrate the attempt at interpretation that is predominantly inherent in the work here.

The poetological studies of the "Preschool of Aesthetics" are also helpful. Jean Paul's concept of "romantic poetry" can be related to music, since "music is romantic poetry through the ear" (see note 28).

Vult drafts a "plan that he intends, as healthy as his eye is, to proclaim it every market day in the weekly paper for sicker and finally for dead blind and to give a flute concert as a blind man, which attracts as many spectators as listeners."1 Vult's strategy becomes understandable against the background of a crisis in the concert business, which is clearly observed as a "general crisis in the years after 1800"2 can.In addition to unfavorable economic conditions in Germany, a public crisis can be observed as the cause: "New classes are emerging, they have interests other than intellectual ones or they lack the educational energy."3 Cultural institutions such as concerts are becoming uninteresting for a section of the population who have geared their usefulness thinking to financial profit. "Before 1800 we see concert events growing everywhere, suddenly one complains everywhere about empty concert halls, about a decline in concert operations."4 The "Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung", which has been published in Leipzig since 1798, describes the social situation in retrospect in 1807.


1 N.A. Varnhagen von Ense, Memoirs and mixed writings, published in Mannheim 1837-1859, III, 64. Quoted in: Jean Paul's personality in reports of contemporaries, ed. by Eduard Berend, Weimar 1956 (= supplement to the historical-critical edition), p. 102. Varnhagen recorded his conversation with Jean Paul on October 24, 1808.

2 Jean Paul quoted in: Freye, Karl, Jean Pauls Flegeljahre. Materials and Investigations, Berlin 1907 (= Palaestra vol. 61), p. 91. Freye has compiled extensive manuscript material from Jean Paul's preliminary work.

3 Ibid, p. 89

4 Ibid, p. 130

5 Flegeljahre, p. 491

6 Another testimony comes from the writer Karl Mayer, who visited Jean Paul on August 29, 1810 in Bayreuth: "When I asked whether he would not continue the Fle gel years, Jean Paul replied: 'Certainly!' and if he no longer lived to see it, he told a friend, the musician Tirion in Geneva (Thieriot), the whole plan for the rally. Quoted in: Jean Paul's personality ..., op. Cit., P.

7. Eduard Berend notes that Thieriot "unfortunately ... never (has) announced anything of the plan to continue the boozy years that was communicated to him", op. Cit., P. 413

8 Vult experiences several disappointments in the fourth volume of the Flegeljahre: his professional ethos as a musician with cool interpersonal relationships ("Cold ... impressed", Flegeljahre p. 131) makes his love for Wina fail.

9 Freye, op. Cit., P. 130

10 Jean Paul died on November 14, 1825. He could have found the time in twenty years to continue the novel. The resulting question is answered in note 12.

11 Truth from Jean Paul's Life, Booklet 1-8, ed. by Christian Otto (1 - 3) and Ernst Förster (4-8), Breslau 1826 ff., in particular pp. 102 - 105

Memories from the life of Jean Paul Friedrich Richter, ed. by Ernst Förster, Vol. 1-4, Munich 1863, esp. p. 163: Jean Paul's distinction between "enjoyment of art" and "enjoyment of the heart" is instructive for the interpretation of the flail years.

12 esp. "Invisible Lodge" and "Hesperus"

13 In his "Preschool of Aesthetics" (§ 72 = pp. 253-257) Jean Paul distinguishes three novel classes: "The first class is made up of the novels of the Italian school" (e.g. "Titan"). The second class, the novels of the "German School", "includes, for example ... Siebenkäs and especially the flail years etc.". The third class consists of the novels of the "Dutch School" (eg Wutz, Fixlein, Fibel "). Hans. G. Helms has convincingly demonstrated that" the classes of the novel (...) (represent) the classes of society "( P. 13). The Flegeljahre thematize the horizon of experience of a "middle class navigating between upper and lower classes" (p. 13/14). Helms, HG, About Jean Pauls Novel Categories, in: Arnold, HL (Hrsg.), Jean Paul. Special volume Text + Criticism, Munich 31983, pp. 10 - 16 Jean Paul recognizes here a literary aesthetic problem to continue the flail years: "The hero in the novel of the German school, as it were in the middle and as mediator of two classes, as well as the locations, the languages , of the occurrences, and as a character who assumes neither the grandeur of the figures of the Italian form, nor the comical or even serious deepening of the opposite Dutch form, such a hero must give the poet the means in two directions, romantis to be, to increase the price, even to rob, and who does not want to see it, just sit down and continue the flailing years. "(Preschool of Aesthetics, p. 255).

14 Iser, Wolfgang, The act of reading, Mönchen 1976, p. 177

15 Freye, op. Cit., P. 25. The formulation dates from April - June 1801; a year and a half later it says: "Summa: Poetry and love in the struggle with reality" (Freye, p. 130). Marie-Luise Gansberg understands the second formulation as a restriction: "The conclusion of the 'Titan' seems to have fed certain doubts about the possibility of synthesis". Gansberg, M.-L., Welt-Verlachung and 'the right country'. A contribution to the sociology of literature on Jean Paul's "Flegeljahren" (1968), in: Schweikert, Uwe (Ed.), Jean Paul, Darmstadt 1974, p. 380.

16 Peter Sprengel notes that the note from 1801 could not even be applied to character duplicity, since the person of Vult was not conceived until December 1802. This consideration is not of interest in this context: Even if Jean Paul did not find the idea of ​​duplicity as an answer to the problem of synthesis, it is legitimate in terms of reception aesthetics to analyze the relevance of this relationship. See Sprengel, P., Inwardness. Jean Paul or the suffering in society, Munich 1977, p. 281.

17 Heine, Heinrich, The romantic school, in: Heinrich Heine works, fourth volume; Writings on Germany, ed. by Helmut Schanze, Frankfurt a.M. 1968 (Insel Heine), p. 265. In a not yet final version, Heine published this study in Paris in 1833 under the title "On the history of modern, beautiful literature in Germany".

18 Ibid, p. 180

19 Heine's criticism is directed most sharply against August Wilhelm Schlegel: "The head of the Romantics married the daughter ... of the head of the German rationalists. It was a symbolic marriage, romanticism married, as it were, with rationalism; but it remained fruitless On the contrary, the separation between Romanticism and Rationalism became even greater, ... and as soon as he recognized the wooden nullity of romantic art, he ran away "(p. 220). In this connotative interplay it becomes understandable why Heine used the word "romantic" exclusively in the pejorative sense.

20 Ibid., P. 265 (continuation of the quotation note 16): "His heart and his writings were one and the same. We also find this quality, this wholeness in the writers of today's young Germany, who also do not want to distinguish between life and Writing that never separates politics from science, art and religion, and which are at the same time artists, tribunes and apostles. "

21 Szondi, Peter, Poetics and Philosophy of History I. Antiquity and Modernity in the Aesthetics of Goethe's Time. Hegel's doctrine of poetry. (= Study edition of the lectures, volume 2), ed. by Senta Metz and Hans-Hagen Hildebrandt, Frankfurt a.M. 21976 (1974), p. 256 (also p. 535). The lecture on Jean Paul can be found on p. 249265.

22 Preschool of Aesthetics, § 2 and § 3.

23 "But is it all the same to imitate 'the' or 'the' nature, and is repetition imitating? - Actually, the principle of faithfully copying nature hardly makes any sense." Ibid, p. 34.

24 Ibid. "Of course, they imitate nature, but a piece, not the whole, not its free spirit with a free spirit." Ibid, p. 33.

25 Szondi, op. Cit., P. 257: "He calls the romantic 'poetic nihilist', he calls the classicist 'poetic materialist'. Friedrich Schlegel was the model for the portrait of the romantic ...".

26 Preschool of Aesthetics, p. 24 (preface to the first edition), quoted in: Szondi, op. Cit., P. 257.

27 Szondi, op. Cit., Pp. 256/257.

28 Ibid, p. 257

29 The conceptual dichotomies that are formally assigned to one another are substantiated in terms of their musical aesthetic relevance in the interpretative part of this work.

30 The author calls it "both the result and the source" of his works. (Preschool of Aesthetics, p. 22)

31 Preschool of Aesthetics, § 31 - 35 (= pp. 124 - 144)

32 Ibid, p. 125

33 Ibid

34 Flegeljahre, p. 183

35 Ibid, p. 184

36 Metzger, Heinz-Klaus, Musical Quality as Internalization of Use and Exchange Values ​​(1973), p. 255, in: Music for what. Literature on notes, ed. by Rainer Riehn, Frankfurt a.M. 1980, pp. 244 - 262.

37 Sprengel, Peter, op. Cit., Pp. 93/94

38 Ibid, p. 94

39 a) Cf. Dahlhaus, Carl, Metaphysik der Instrumentalmusik, in: ders., Die Musik des 19. Jahrhundert, Wiesbaden 1980 (= New Handbook of Musicology, edited by Carl Dahlhaus, Volume 6), pp. 73-79. b) Cf. Dahlhaus, Carl, The Idea of ​​Absolute Music, Kassel 1978, pp. 47-80 and 91-104.

40 Sponheuer, Bernd, On the aesthetic dichotomy as a way of thinking in the first half of the 19th century, p. 3, in: AfMw 32 (1980), p. 1 - 31. Historically transferred, this means the contrast between serious and popular music.

41 Jean Paul's distinction between enjoyment of art and enjoyment of the heart is presented in the interpretative part.

42 Dahlhaus, Carl, op. Cit. B) p. 105 ff.

1 Flegeljahre, p. 117

2 Preussner, Eberhard, The bourgeois music culture. A contribution to the German music history of the 18th century, Hamburg 1935, p. 48.

3 Ibid, p. 49

4 Ibid, p. 48

End of the reading sample from 86 pages