The short but intense life of the romantic poet caught between his quest for the 'blue flower' and his striving for 'wedding night, matrimony and progeny'.
Friedrich von Hardenberg (1772-1801), who called himself Novalis, was the young genius among the German Romantics. His definition of Romanticism also holds true for his life: "Insofar as I imbue the mundane with meaning, the ordinary with mystery, the familiar with the seemliness of the unfamiliar, and the finite with the semblance of the infinite, I romanticize it." He studied law, geology and mine engineering, was inspired by the French Revolution and wrote the poems Hymnen an die Nacht and Geistliche Lieder, as well as the novel Heinrich von Ofterdingen. He penned philosophical critiques of Fichte and Kant and advocated fair pay for the miners. He befriended the seriously ill Schiller at an early age but shortly after was forced to watch the love of his life, Sophie von Kühn, die; he would have liked to die alongside her.
Wolfgang Hädecke recounts a life suspended between the extremes of the coal pits in the heart of Germany and European enlightenment and idealism - which engendered an understanding of nature and society that is highly topical once more.