Perhaps one of the most revolutionary and influential works of philosophy ever presented, Phenomenology of Spirit is Hegel’s 1807 study of the stages in the mind’s necessary progress from immediate sense-consciousness to the position of a scientific philosophy that is in numerous ways extraordinary.
“Hegel’s deadline for submitting the manuscript was October 18, 1806. Shipping the text from Jena to Bamberg would take five days, so October 13 was his last day to take the package to the post office. On October 8 and 10, Hegel sent the bulk of the manuscript to Bamberg. On October 9, war broke out between France and Prussia. Hegel still had to send the concluding part of the book, but the postal service was no longer functioning. On the morning of October 13, French troops occupied Jena. “The hour of fear”—that’s what Hegel called this moment. Soldiers burst into Hegel’s house. He tried to be friendly, inviting them for a glass of wine, but he soon had to flee—with the remaining parts of the manuscript stuffed in his pockets. In another house where he took refuge, he spent a few hours organizing these papers and putting the finishing touches on the manuscript. Only on October 20 was he able to send it to the publisher, who, in spite of this delay, paid him what was due, as Hegel was broke and his house plundered.
This is the story of how Phenomenology of Spirit, one of the most difficult philosophical books ever written, came into the world. ”
— Oxana Timofeeva, Now Is Night