Andreas Hartknopf - Andreas Hartknopf

Andreas Hartknopf. An Allegory is a novel by Karl Philipp Moritz that was published in 1786. A sequel appeared in 1790 under the title Andreas Hartknopfs Predigerjahre .

The text is preceded by a motto from Paul's second letter to the Corinthians : "The letter kills, but the spirit gives life."


Andreas Hartknopf has learned two professions: he is a blacksmith and a preacher. On a long wandering east from his native Westphalia, he arrives in the town of Gellenhausen, where he spent his childhood and where his cousin Knapp runs the inn "Das Paradies". Shortly before the city he meets Küster and Hagebuck: two friends who are at the Philanthropinum Dessaugot to know and have now set up such a school in Gellenhausen. However, contrary to the teaching they represent, they are not exactly philanthropic in everyday life. The narrator speaks of them as “cosmopolitans” and “world reformers” in a dismissive, ironic tone. The widowed innkeeper Knapp, Hartknopf's cousin, rejects the educational methods of the Philanthropinum and raises his son himself. In the town's churchyard, Hartknopf and Knapp meet the retired principal of the Latin School , Hartknopf's former teacher, with whom he has a kind of spiritual relationship and deep gratitude connects.

The next morning, Hartknopf, accompanied by his cousin's old dog, hikes up the gallows hill outside the city. He meets the old principal again, but their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of Hagebuck and his students. The dog gets too close to Hagebuck, Hagebuck kicks him and kills him with it. When the cousin found out, he mourned the animal that once saved his life.

At this point the reader learns about the anonymous first-person narrator, a friend of Hartknopf, details about Knapp: Like him, he also attended Latin school and had the potential for a “higher” intellectual profession. Out of philanthropy and compassion for the weak and outcasts, however, he decided to buy an inn and serve people there who could not find accommodation anywhere else. He tries to help these people on a spiritual level and to lift them up again. He prefers practical help in everyday life to great theories; thus he stands in contrast to Hagebuck and has the recognizable sympathy of the narrator. He educates his son to be patient, charitable and practical. In addition, he keeps showing him the transience of human beings, since in his opinion you can only use your day if you are always aware of finiteness.

Hartknopf himself is also shaped by these values: Despite his abilities, he works as a blacksmith in order to be useful in the small things of the world. He is humble and avoids contact with people on his travels. His father, seduced by alchemy , turned away from the craft. His attempts to make gold ultimately impoverished him.

The narrator now describes how he once got to know Hartknopf: He came on his wandering to Erfurt , where he began to study theology. One evening the narrator went to the Steigerwald to find Klopstock's messiahreading while watching the sunset over the city. Hartknopf met him and triggered a feeling of shame in the narrator: He realized that he had only staged the sensitive romantic situation and was playing something for himself. As a result, a friendship develops in which the narrator learns a lot from Hartknopf: about astronomy, about music as an expression of feeling, about poetry as a consolation for the soul, and about a real, comprehensive form of wisdom through which one can find one's way in the spirit Recognizes others and becomes a resident of a “ghost republic”.

Hartknopf visits a young monk in the Carthusian monastery in Erfurt who, after a friend died, withdrew from the world there. The monk is unhappy, but Hartknopf shows him that he can discover a whole world within himself that replaces the outer world for him. From the insight into the unchangeable life happiness can arise. Hartknopf's motto, which is mentioned at the beginning of the novel, is now applied: “I want what I have to. I have what I want. "

The novel ends with a “song to wisdom”, in which Hartknopf's maxims of life are summarized.


In 1787, a poem of praise to Hartknopf's author appeared in the fourth issue of the Thalia magazine, edited by Friedrich Schiller . Dispatched from an unnamed woman . [1]

Moritz's contemporary Jean Paul highly valued the novel, as did Arno Schmidt , who recommended it to his listeners in a radio essay on Moritz's 200th birthday. [2]

Benedikt Erenz reviewed the work in 2001 (on the occasion of the publication of the RUB edition) almost exuberantly and described it as "the strangest of all the strange works of the classical era", also because it has a "fragmentary pattern" instead of a stringent plot and itself none of the literary movements of the time of its origin ( late Enlightenment , early romantic or classical ) can be assigned. [3]


  • Christiane Frey: The way of all flesh - spirit and letter in Moritz 'Andreas Hartknopf. In: Markus Dauss, Rals Haekel (eds.): Body / Soul - Spirit / Letter. Dualisms in Aesthetics and the Arts around 1800 and 1900 . Königshausen & Neumann , Würzburg 2009. from p. 147. ISBN 978-3-8260-3649-1 .
  • Achim Geisenhanslüke : An allegory of finitude: Karl Philipp Moritz 'novel "Andreas Hartknopf". In: Eckart Goebel, Martin von Koppenfels (eds.): The finiteness of literature. Literary research . Akad.-Verlag, Berlin 2002. pp. 50-61. ISBN 3-05-003567-6 .


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Text of the poem on Wikisource
  2. Review on, published on June 17, 2016
  3. Benedikt Erenz: Incredible: Andreas Hartknopf! In: Die Zeit, July 5, 2001