Christian culture 基督教文化学刊

The Hidden Poetic Source of Carl Schmitt's Thought: Carl Schmitt and Theodor Däubler, A Spiritual Dialogue between Philosopher and Poet

Author: JIANG Linjing, Lecturer, College of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Fudan University



This article investigates the constant influence of Theodor Däubler’s poetry on the thinking of the famous German philoso- pher and jurist Carl Schmitt. Based on a comparison of Schmitt’s two interpretations of Däubler’s major work The Northern Lights in 1916 and 1946, the influence is analyzed from a literary and cultural critical perspective. In his first interpretation, Schmitt carries out a critique of utilitarian language and finds a critique of modernity as a whole. In the second commentary, he admits that he had misinterpreted the poet’s spiritual origins in his earlier monograph. Through Schmitt’s understanding of Däubler’s poetry, the Christian origins of Schmitt’s own thinking are evident, the basis for his self-interpretation and self-justification during and after World War II. Inspired by Däubler’s poetry, Schmitt confirms the absolute enemy - the modern antichrist, who simulates the figure of Christ, and stresses that one must distinguish between political friends and enemies. This article reveals the hidden poetic origins and dangers of Schmitt’s political and legal thought, which has been both deeply influential and highly controversial in the academic world. 



Carl Schmitt, Theodor Däubler, political theology, modern poetry, modernity


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