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By Lisa Marie Anderson

Recent years have witnessed a resurgence of scholarly curiosity within the paintings of Johann Georg Hamann (1730–1788), throughout disciplines. New translations of labor via and approximately Hamann are showing, as are a few books and ar­ticles on Hamann’s aesthetics, theories of language and sexuality, and specific position in Enlightenment and counter-Enlightenment thought.

Edited by way of Lisa Marie Anderson, Hamann and the Tradition gathers estab­lished and rising students to envision the total variety of Hamann’s im­pact—be it on German Romanticism or at the very perform of theology. Of specific curiosity to these now not accustomed to Hamann can be a bankruptcy dedicated to examining—or sometimes, placing—Hamann in discussion with different very important thinkers, corresponding to Socrates, David Hume, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Buber, Franz Rosenzweig, and Ludwig Wittgenstein.

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Schelling, Sämtliche Werke, ed. K. F. A. Schelling (Stuttgart and Augsburg: J. G. Cotta’scher Verlag, 1856–61), I/7:293. Hereafter cited in the text as SW by part and volume. The context of the citation is a discussion of the aesthetic theory of the Enlightenment and, in particular, the classical prescription that art should imitate nature. ” 32. See F. W. J. Schelling, Briefe und Dokumente, ed. Horst Fuhrmans (Bonn: Bouvier, 1962), 1:433. 33. SW I/8:8. Hamann, it should be noted, did not necessarily have a fa- 31 R EADI N G “S I BY LLI NE LE AV E S ” vorable view of Böhme, and therefore may not have welcomed Schelling’s comparison of them.

Other more obvious examples of his humor include his practice of anonymously reviewing reviews of his own pseudonymous works, and his frequent use of paranomasia and prosopopeia. A particularly amusing example of the latter, which even the serious Kant is known to have enjoyed, is Hamann’s satire New Apology of the Letter h Written by Itself. In this little work, written in the voice of the terminal letter h, the letter, facing its own imminent elimination at the hands of orthographical reformers, who cannot bear its contingency and seeming superfluity, begins its prophetic tirade with the tart reminder to the would-be reformers, “Your life is what I am—a breath” (N 3:105–7).

But, leaving aside the more obscure levels of Hamann’s humor, even the most cursory reading 23 R EADI N G “S I BY LLI NE LE AV E S ” of his writings will afford some impression of it. , from Königsberg), an apocryphal sibyl named “Adelgunde,” an “angry prophet from the brook Kerith,” “Ahasverus Lazarus Elias Redivivus,” “a preacher in the wilderness,” “un sauvage du nord,” “Zacchaeus the publican,” “a Prussian school teacher named Heinrich Schröder,” “a fifty-year old cleric in Swabia,” the Chinaman “Mien-man-hoam,” and so on.

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