Romantic symbolism is a poorly understood concept. It was first formulated by the Romantics in a variety of contexts. Goethe develops his theory of the symbol most notably in his scientific works. Schelling's approach to the Romantic symbol is firmly rooted in his philosophical writings. Coleridge articulates a Romantic notion of symbolism across his extensive literary criticism. The foundational influence of these related theories of Romantic symbolism can be seen in the artistic, literary, and scientific productions of Romantic minded individuals all over Europe in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. However, the nature and scope of the Romantic symbol as originally formulated by Goethe, Schelling, and others has been obfuscated in unfortunate ways by the contemporary theoretical assumptions and narrow interpretations of recent academic scholarship. This thesis restores the original connotation of the Romantic symbol by identifying the common way in which it is misconstrued: the ontic fallacy.
College and Department
Humanities; Comparative Arts and Letters
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Worth, Ryan Mitchell, "Romantic Symbolism Re-examined: The Ontic Fallacy" (2021). Theses and Dissertations. 9136.
symbol, allegory, romanticism, ontology, Ernst Cassirer, Paul de Man, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Friedrich Schelling