Selina oder über die Unsterblichkeit der Seele

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek


Jean Paul, really Johann Paul Friedrich Richter (1763-1825) and born in Wunsiedel, is considered a singular figure in German history of literature - his comprehensive work forms an alternative both to the Weimar Classic and to Romanticism. His final substantial work, the incomplete "Selina or on the immortality of the soul" (1823-1825), is a sequel to the narrative "Das Kampaner Tal" ("The Valley of Campan") of 1797. Occasion for the book on the immortality was the anniversary of the death of Jean Paul's son on 25 September 1821. The present, 136-page strong paper manuscript is by the hand of Jean Paul and contains the chapters 1 to 4. At his death, nine of the planned twelve chapters were ready, the first four the poet had already declared as ready for printing. The fragment was edited by his friend Christian Otto in 1827 in two volumes with Cotta. In terms of narrative and dialogue, the autograph engages with the "Vernichtglauben" ("annihilation of life") (I.3), the "Seelenwanderung" ("reincarnation") (III.1), the "Schlaf, Traum, Alter und Sterben als Zweifel an der Unsterblichkeit" ("sleep, dream, aging and death as doubt on immortality") (IV.2) as well as with the "Verhältnis zwischen Leib und Geist" ("relationship between body and soul") (IV.4). Theological conclusions are drawn from the existence of God as well as from the human need for justice and aspiration for happiness. Datum: 2016


Peter Czoik

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