HEINRICH VON OFTERDINGEN. This fragmentary romance by Novalis (Fried rich van Hardenberg), written 1799-1800 and published by Tieck after the author's death (1801), is the masterpiece of early German Romanticism, the supreme representation of Romantic thought and feeling. The novel was planned consciously to be both a supplement to Goethe's 'Wilhelm Meister' (q.v.) and a ref utation of it; the tendency of 'Wilhelm Meister' seemed to the Romanticists to be too prosaic and practical. von Ofter dingen' was to be the glorification of the poetry of life; poetry and life are actually identical; poetry is the pathway to all wisdom. Novalis presents his theme in a symbolic tale, which relates the life of an ideal poet: indeed, the whole substance of the story is included in the two phrases, substantially identical in mean ing: ((Heinrich becomes a poet? and world becomes a dream.' Various experiences are provided for the shaping of the hero's gifts; the culmination of the first period is reached in love and grief, these experiences being directly connected with Novalis's love for Sophie von Kuhn and his sorrow at her death.
'Heinrich von Ofterdingen' is divided into two parts: '
In the first chapter of the novel the hero re lated a dream, the vision of the Blue Flower, and the romance consists essentially in the sym bolic quest for this flower, which Heinrich ultimately plucks. Through the influence of 'Heinrich von
the Blue Flower became the symbol of Romantic longing, the realization of the poet's dream, the union of the dream-world and the real world. The hero has only his name in common with a legendary poet of the Middle Ages, who appears in a Middle High German poem
Wart burgkrieg' ('