The Novices of Sais is a Romantic meld of poetry, philosophy, and transcendental journey. Revolutionary yet profoundly simple at once, Novalis’ reverence for the natural world pours out of every page. Translated into French in 1925, it was embraced by artists and poets alike and is often quoted by the Surrealists. Paul Klee’s drawings were inspired by this visionary exploration of the inner life of modern humankind.
The Novices of Sais is a kaleidoscope of interpretations, visions and allegories of nature . . . a transfiguration of the commonplace, giving “the ordinary a mysterious countenance, the known the dignity of the unknown. —Ross Benjamin, The Nation
There are two poets at work in the body of this mysterious and transporting book, one using language, the other line. And what an intriguing, epoch-spanning duet they form . . . Klee’s complex, lovely, whimsical, and enigmatic drawings evince a profound affinity for Novalis and add dimension to the intricate text, while Novalis’s fable provides a provocative context for Klee’s images. —Donna Seaman, Speakeasy
In his brief 29 years on earth, Novalis asked the questions heard in age- old mystery schools and his poems and poetic thinking lifted the inner life of the modern soul to new dominions. He is a founding spirit for the works of the likes of Rilke, Hesse, Heidegger and Celan, among many others, and this grand meditation on Nature reveals him at his finest. —Jack Hirschman