Novalis sculpted by the aptly-named Fritz Schaper - perhaps the most beautiful of great thinkers?
I have been aware of the 'German Romantic' Novalis (1772-1801 - he died of TB at age 28) for a long time, but also knew I was not ready to tackle him.
And indeed I misjudged the nature and scope of his achievement; since I assumed Novalis was solely a lyrical poet and romantic novelist - yet I know from experience that this kind of achievement is not translatable.
(I have tried and failed to appreciate lyrical poetry and poetic prose in translation so many times that I have ceased trying.)
Yesterday I felt ready - and discovered that Novalis was a philosopher, scientist and professional mining engineer who wrote on these - and all other - subjects for a projected Encyclopedia (lost for c. 150 years and only translated into English 11 years ago).
I then encountered some of his aphoristic/ 'fragment'-ary philosophical writings; and have seen enough to recognise that Novalis was someone who was embarked in the same cultural project as ST Coleridge; and that - like Coleridge - he was himself writing from a state of consciousness that had attained Final Participation (no wonder Barfield was so powerfully drawn to Novalis!).
After just a day, it already looks like Novalis will be joining my very small and select pantheon of those who (like Goethe, Blake, Coleridge, Steiner, Barfield, Arkle) significantly understood the single most-important issue of human developmental-evolution as it presents to Western consciousness.