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Additional resources for Karl Philipp Moritz: At the Fringe of Genius
The confrontation with death, with the finite nature of the body, is linked with the realisation of its infinite possibilities of dismemberment, and the endless series of divided things. This fatal fascination with the infinitesimal is paralleled by visions of wholeness and circularity, and while both of these are significant as psychological symptoms they are obviously connected with Moritz's intellectual heritage, with Cartesianism and with a Leibnizian School philosophy which operated by means of deductive analysis and drew, at some remove, on Neoplatonist ideas.
AR, 163). It is a 'chain of circumstances' [Verkettung der Dinge] which drags Anton, that year of 1773, even to the brink of crime. The raid on the orchard, which he undertakes with his boon companions (social drop-outs like himself) 'did not seem to him to be robbery at all, but a sort of incursion into enemy territory5 (AR, 166) - a perceptive illumination, quite unusual for its time, of an incipiently psychopathic attitude from the inside. How close he has come to total ruin is brought home to him traumatically when his room-mate, while singing on the street in the school choir, is arrested, charged with the capital crime of sacrilegious theft, and lodged in the town jail.
He had musical talents (he was to become a piano-maker) as well as a practical flair, and though also impoverished he was generous. His 'novel-like' fancies included the active pursuit of the opposite sex (an occupation which baffled Anton Reiser and bored him) and his equally ardent notions of friendship, philanthropy and self-sacrifice were also based partly on his avid reading of novels. The offer to shoot his bilious companion must have seemed to him a genuinely magnanimous proposition. At the Hanover high school in the 17708 the life of the seniors, the 'Primaner,' appears to have been a rather free one, approximating to that of university students.
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