Henry Crabb Robinson, Essays on Kant, Schelling, and German Aesthetics

Edited by James Vigus

Critical Texts 18

Modern Humanities Research Association

15 October 2010  •  166pp

ISBN: 978-0-947623-88-3 (paperback)  •  RRP £10.99, $17.50, €13.99

Sample: Google Books


As a student at the University of Jena at the beginning of the nineteenth century, Henry Crabb Robinson (1775–1867) became the outstanding English mediator of the revolution in German thought.

For the first time, this volume collects his early writings, both published and unpublished. The contents include ‘Letters on the Philosophy of Kant’ and notes from F. W. J. Schelling’s lectures on the philosophy of art. Further, Robinson’s private lectures for Madame de Staël are presented with her marginalia. In the intellectual history of Romanticism, Robinson emerges as a major figure whose lucid and entertaining essays can still guide the modern reader through the key German texts.

James Vigus is postdoctoral research fellow at the Department for English and American Studies, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich.


  • ‘Robinson's expertise in German philosophy can now be studied in significant detail in the well-documented edition prepared by James Vigus ... Vigus has not only brought together for the first time a full collection of Robinson's essays on German Philosophy, he has made these bold forays into the complexities of Kant and Schelling readily accessible in his general Introduction ... and his notes on the origin and provenance of each of the manuscripts. His volume is a valuable resource ... Scholars of the reception of German Philosophy in the British Romantic period will find it worthwhile to put Robinson alongside of Coleridge at the top of their reading list ... [A] remarkable achievement.’ — Frederick Burwick, The Wordsworth Circle XLI.4, 2010, 244-47
  • ‘Vigus' [edition] bears impressive witness to Robinson's expertise and fills a void [...] the corpus of published and manuscript material remains a fascinating guide to the dynamic intellectual and literary culture of Germany at the beginning of the nineteenth century. [...] Vigus' authoritative, scholarly edition of Robinson's Essays is an essential text for anyone interested in late Enlightenment and early Romantic thought in Germany and in what Robinson did to disseminate that thought beyond the borders of the German-speaking world.’ — Eugene Stelzig, New Books On Literature 19, 28 June 2011
  • ‘This volume will be of interest to scholars elucidating the state of Rational Dissent around 1800; to Kant specialists who deal with the early responses to Kant in Great Britain, especially given that Robinson's reception of Kant was superior to that of most of his British contemporaries; to Schelling specialists focussing on the development of Schelling's philosophy between 1800 and 1805; to Staël specialists investigating the background of her work on Germany De l'Allemagne [...] and perhaps most interestingly, Robinson's attempt to understand German philosophy will be relevant to those historians of philosophy and of ideas who believe that much can be learned from comparing radically different philosophical movements [...]. The introduction provides a fine overview and the editor's notes are helpful.’ — Vilem Mudroch, Enlightenment and Dissent 27, 2011, 188-91
  • ‘James Vigus's excellent edition of Crabb Robinson's writings marks a new appreciation of his life and work. Crabb Robinson emerges from this volume as a writer and intellectual of considerable significance in his own right, and as one whose ideas contributed to the genesis and development of European Romanticism.’ — Stephen Burley, The Charles Lamb Bulletin n.s. 154, Autumn 2011, 161-63
  • ‘As a pioneer of intercultural exchange, Robinson remains too little known today. James Vigus’s edition of his philosophical writings provides a valuable adjunct to the ongoing Crabb Robinson Project of the Dr Williams Centre for Dissenting Studies.’ — H. B. Nisbet, Modern Language Review 107.3, 2012, 970-71 (full text online)
  • ‘This collection is a most welcome addition to the slowly growing number of editions of writings by one of Romanticism's most fascinating literary figures. [...] The resultant picture, perspicuously outlined in Vigus's introduction, is of 'a complex process of cultural transfer by which the metaphysics and aesthetics topical in Jena and Weimar around 1800 spread to Europe'. [...] [T]he texts presented in this volume [...] enable us to appreciate [Robinson's] own intellectual achievements more fully and justly than ever before.’ — Nicholas Halmi, The Coleridge Bulletin n.s. 39, Summer 2012, 100-02

Bibliography entry:

Vigus, James (ed.), Henry Crabb Robinson, Essays on Kant, Schelling, and German Aesthetics, Critical Texts, 18 (Cambridge: MHRA, 2010)

First footnote reference: 35 Henry Crabb Robinson, Essays on Kant, Schelling, and German Aesthetics, ed. by James Vigus, Critical Texts, 18 (Cambridge: MHRA, 2010), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Vigus, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Vigus, James (ed.). 2010. Henry Crabb Robinson, Essays on Kant, Schelling, and German Aesthetics, Critical Texts, 18 (Cambridge: MHRA)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Vigus 2010: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Vigus 2010: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

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