Adam Walker

Mentor: Dr. Franz Futterknecht
College of Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
"I discovered the writings of Novalis through English-speaking authors like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thomas Carlyle, and George MacDonald. I began researching the works of Novalis to understand his life, and how his works reflected and influenced the aestheticization of philosophy that characterized the Early German Romantic Movement."


English Literature 19th Century Studies



Research Interests

  • Romanticism and Transcendentalism
  • Aesthetics
  • Ecology

Academic Awards

  • Dean's List
  • University Scholars Program 2015-2016


  • Tau Sigma Honors Society
  • Shakespeare in the Park at UF
  • Gator English Society


  • Tau Sigma Honors Society
  • Knights of Columbus
  • Tutoring

Hobbies and Interests

  • Hiking
  • Gardening
  • Kayaking
  • Playing piano and oboe

Research Description

Novalis and his Artistic Sense for Death
“Perhaps you are the first man of our age to have an artistic sense for death.” A letter from Schlegel to Novalis, Dec. 2, 1798. Friedrich Leopold von Hardenberg (1772-1801), most commonly recognized by his pseudonym, Novalis, was an early German Romantic poet and theorist who, during the last years of his life, developed an eclectic, personalized philosophy. His search for an ultimate understanding of the universe was sparked after the death of his fiancé, Sophie von Kühn, in 1797. The death of Sophie was the origin and opportunity for the growth of Novalis’ poetic energies. What followed were the first attempts to exercise his imagination, and to endow death with new meaning under an aesthetic vocation to reorient life. For the following four years until his death in 1801, Novalis wrote continuously and formulated ideas. Three things were catalysts for the development of his unique philosophy. The first was his background and knowledge. He was inspired by diverse sources such as the classicism by Hemsterhuis, the pantheism of Spinoza, the pietism of Zinzendorf, the idealism of Kant and Fichte, and the theology of Schleiermacher. The second was the death of Sophie and his favorite brother, Erasmus. The third was his correspondence and interaction with other romantics and theorists, particularly during the years 1797-1801. I will examine these three factors to understand Novalis’ concept of death as both a phenomenon in the German Romantic movement and as the central concept within Novalis’ philosophy and art.