a brief biographical sketch of the odysseus of German idealism
Our current understanding of Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling warrants replacing Hegel's caricature of him as philosophical Proteus with a historically accurate account, in which Schelling emerges more the Odysseus, whose philosophical journey encompasses far more than just the beginnings and end of German Idealism. Indeed, when we consider the territory traversed in the some sixty years of his philosophical activity, we encounter an intellectual terrain that includes not only the otherworldly summit of German Idealism, but also the stormy summits of German Romanticism that appear below the cloud line, as well as the lush plains of what Schelling calls in his final decades his "system of existentialism." Throughout this odyssey the Schelling who emerges refuses to remain confined within the walls of such static systems and philosophical categories, revealing instead a character whose "primal nature" his first wife Caroline characterized as "true granite" whose destiny was "to break through walls."1
Matthews, B. (2014)., Schelling: a brief biographical sketch of the odysseus of German idealism, in M. C. Altman (ed.), The Palgrave handbook of German idealism, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 437-456.
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