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11 Hero of the Bourgeois World. Copernicus and His Afterlife in German Literature

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Chapter Summary

Nicolaus Copernicus's literary vestiges amount to quite a number of texts in (German) literature; for better or for worse they are, however, much less well remembered than his reception in the histories of science and philosophy. When it comes to the tradition of the German-speaking countries, Kant's, Nietzsche's and Sigmund Freud's comments on the man and his achievement are among the most famous ones. Gottsched's Copernicus is an enlightenment philosopher who elucidated contexts of delusion, which in a sense puts him in line with Blumenberg's point. Herder's Copernicus is a great mind operating in and from the spirit of aesthetics; his world-historical achievement does not need to be substantiated any more, only Copernicus the man is of interest here. Both texts, however, coincide in one point: marking and commemorating Copernicus as a self-confident and, almost by implication, lonely individual: a true bourgeois hero.

Keywords: bourgeois; Kant; Nicolaus Copernicus's literary; Nietzsche; Sigmund Freud



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