The Reception of Burke’s Enquiry in the German-language Area in the Second Half of the Eighteenth Century (A Regional Aspect)
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Although research to date has helped in important ways to shed light on the penetration of Burke's 'Enquiry into the German-language area', a comprehensive treatment of this reception as a process distinguished not only by changes over time, but also characterized by regional variations, remains lacking. Based on the lectures on aesthetics by August Gottlieb Meissner (1753-1807) at Prague University in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the paper seeks to illuminate this underexposed regional aspect. The first phase of the reception of the Enquiry took place especially in Berlin immediately after its publication in London in 1757. The second phase can be located mainly in the northern maritime centres of German culture, particularly Koenigsberg, Riga, Hamburg as well as Copenhagen. Christian Garve's translation, published anonymously by Hartknoch in Riga in 1773, and Kant's 'Critique of Judgement' (1790) constitute two peaks of north-German interest in Burke's Enquiry. The intense reception of the 'Critique of Judgement' within German aesthetics around and after 1800 subsequently led to the polemic with the British author becoming a part of Idealist interpretations for the next few decades. Outlining the three centres (and the three corresponding phases) of the German reception of Burke's Enquiry begs the question which of them should be connected with Meissner's remarks concerning Burke's ideas. Leipzig is presented as another important German-language centre disseminating knowledge of Burke's Enquiry, especially in the first half of the Seventies, moreover the decisive intermediary for the penetration of the Enquiry into the south-German Roman Catholic areas, Prague in particular.
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