The Voice That Crieth in the Wilderness: F. W. J. Schelling and Toni Morrison’s Primordial Longing


Abstract
This paper explores the relationship between Toni Morrison’s 1987 novel, Beloved, and F. W. J. Schelling’s 1813 draft of Ages of the World. It shows that Die Weltalter, contrary to much recent scholarship, which often stresses the many ways Schelling anticipated the antimetaphysical trends of post-Hegelian thought, should be first approached as a genuine attempt tobe faithful to the event of first creation and time’s “indivisible remainders”. The paper will show that Schelling’s “indivisible remainders”, the forgotten and “disremembered” of history, force his thought to the limits of Romantic and idealist reflection and toward the traumatic encounters of Beloved. Morrison’s depiction of the irrepressible longing for life and recognition amid the pain and ugliness of American slavery parallels Schelling’s efforts to understand the tremendous need for life and fellowship that first urged god toward creation, when primordial longing was overcome in a child and a god entered time.
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DOI 10.1515/znth-2018-0004
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