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Feen und Rokoko? Zu Wielands Produktion der Biberacher Zeit


This article is centred on the analysis of some of the early works by one of the most important German authors of 18th century, Christoph Martin Wieland. He was considered up until 1950s as a ‘rococo’ author, then an Enlightenment writer, and only recently as a classic one. In reality, Wieland avoida any precise classification, like all the great authors. In 1760s, when he returns to the town of his birth, Biberach, Wieland writes his first novel (Die Geschichte des Agathon) and the first psychological novel (Don Sylvio) in German literature and distances himself from his past as an enthusiastic pietist. Again in those years, he also wrote those words for which he was defined as a rococo writer. The article here presented analyses the form and content of those works, demonstrating how Wieland also deals with the esoteric tradition which is at the origins of the Enlightenment, but distances himself from the vulgar forms of Hermetic doctrine. Analysing the connection with the historical sources which contributed to the spread of esoteric thought in 18th century German literature, the article proposes to redefine the role of the texts in question within the Wielandian production and in a temporal context.