Die Nachtwachen des Bonaventura
Die Nachtwachen des Bonaventura; The Night Watches of Bonaventura (1804, date on title page 1805)
This fictional text is divided into sixteen chapters or ‘night watches’. The anti-hero, Kreuzgang, is a former poet who has become a night watchman. As he witnesses the errors of his fellow human beings, he suffers from romantic agony, and considers life to be a grotesque joke.
In 1987 Ruth Haag provided evidence that Ernst August Friedrich Klingemann (1777-1831) is the author, on the basis that Klingemann included the text in a handwritten list of his published works (see further reading list below).
The Nachtwachen anticipate the existential pessimism of Schopenhauer.
Die Nachtwachen des Bonaventura; The Night Watches of Bonaventura, ed. and trans. by Gerald Gillespie, Edinburgh Bilingual Library 6 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1972)
Further Reading in English
Gerald Gillespie, ‘Bonaventura’s Romantic Agony: Prevision of an Art of Existential Despair’, Modern Language Notes 85 (1970), 697-726
Gerald Gillespie, ‘Night-Piece and Tail-Piece: Bonaventura’s Relation to Hogarth’, Arcadia 8 (1973), 284-95
Further Reading in German
Ruth Haag, ‘Noch einmal. Der Verfasser der “Nachtwachen von Bonaventura”, 1804’, Euphorion 81 (1987)