Goethes Naturalistic Anthropology: Man and Other Plants by Matthew Bell

Goethes Naturalistic Anthropology: Man and Other Plants

byMatthew Bell

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

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For many readers in the English-speaking world, Goethe is somehow separate from the European intellectual and literary tradition. In this unique and wide-ranging study, Matthew Bell aims to correct this view by showing how Goethe portrayed human beings as part of a natural continuum, verymuch in the spirit of the Enlightenment. Dr Bell's fresh readings of Goethe's major and lesser-known texts are set against the background of the science and philosophy of the age, and the writer's debts to other thinkers are analysed. The development of Goethe as a writer and thinker is traced from his sentimental epistolary novel Werther- read in the context of the rise of psychological theory in the Englightment - to the emergence of his own theory of `empirical psychology' in the great roman a clef of 1809, Die Wahverwandtschaften. In a major new interpretation of Wilhelm Meisters Lehriahre, Matthew Bell follows the ideal oforganic growth from the novel's origins in Engligtenment optimism to its revision in an atmosphere of post-revolutionary scepticism. Placing Goethe in an anthropological context, Goethe's Naturalistic Anthropology demonstrates that eighteenth-century anthropological thought provides an essential, hitherto overlooked context for the understanding of Goethe's literary enterprise from Werther to Die Wahllverwandtschaften.

About The Author

Matthew Bell is at King's College, London.
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Details & Specs

Title:Goethes Naturalistic Anthropology: Man and Other PlantsFormat:HardcoverDimensions:356 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 1.06 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198158947

ISBN - 13:9780198158943

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`It is impossible to do justice in such a short review to the wealth of ideas in this book and the light they shed on Goethe's diverse productions.'British Association for Romantic Studies Bulletin and Review, issue no.12, June 1997