The volume assembles the contributions to an international symposium on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the death of Friedrich von Hardenberg (= Novalis, 1772-1801). An approach based on close study of imagination, poetics, anthropology, and Novalis' literary writings shows that his concerns were a product of the Enlightenment, and the solutions he outlined were also very much of the 1790s. But the essential role played by 'productive imagination' also points forward, to later modernism. Some of the perspectives it opens up include the rivalry between religion and art, an interpretation of evolution as a non-teleological 'feedback' between 'mind' and 'nature', self-invention of the ego in an 'intermediary space' (Winnicott), and an awareness of symbolizations in gender discourse. It also anticipates the foundations for cubist abstraction in the 20th century.