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Extra info for Karl Philipp Moritz: At the Fringe of Genius

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His magnificent get-up leads to solicitous attentions in the first inn he comes to, in Hildesheim, and these he cannot afford. He is thereafter compelled to restrict his rations to dry bread and beer, and to sleep on straw. Typically enough, his castles in the air become grander as his state worsens. He awakes on the straw before the hearth, to 'the beer mugs, the black bread and his weariness' (AR, 278). His mood follows the countours of the landscape as he labours towards his mirage, acting out in his fancy ferocious roles like that of Guelfo in Klinger's Zwillinge.

An amusing example is the incident when his melancholy is so profound his friend, Phillipp Reiser, whose ideas he claims were just as exaggerated and as 'novel-like' as his own, actually offers to shoot him before he gets even worse, and he has to decline hurriedly. An important character in the story, Philipp Reiser was in real life one Peter Israel Reiser,20 who came from Erfurt, and was therefore considered a foreigner at school. He became Moritz's intimate friend, and must be regarded as the principal source of the protagonist's name.

24 With them he hoped to find employment, and to be quickly able to pay off the debts he left behind. To do this would salvage his bourgeois identity, and emerging thus into a new life he would be 'resurrected there after dying here a civil death' (AR, 270). The notion of palingenesis, it has often been observed,25 is an important one in Moritz's writings, and translates a basic social experience into a psychology and terminology still influenced by Pietism, while also interprétable as a pattern of deep reinsurance.

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