Throughout his literary work Goethe portrays characters who defy and reject 18th and 19th century ideals of aristocratic and civil families, notions of heritage, assumptions about biological connections, expectations about heterosexuality, and legal mandates concerning marriage. The questions Goethe's plays and novels pose are often modern and challenging: Do social conventions, family expectations, and legal mandates matter? Can two men or two women pair together and be parents? How many partners or parents should there be? Two? One? A group? Can parents love children not biologically related to them? Do biological parents always love their children? What is the nature of adoptive parents, children, and families? Ultimately, what is the fundamental essence of love and family? Gustafson demonstrates that Goethe's conception of the elective affinities is certainly not limited to heterosexual spouses or occasionally to men desiring men. A close analysis of Goethe's explication of affinities throughout his literary production reveals his rejection of loveless relationships (for example, arranged marriages) and his acceptance and promotion of all relationships formed through spontaneous affinities and love (including heterosexual, same-sex, nonexclusive, group, parental, and adoptive).
Advocates the use of an intuitive cognition in order to discover plants' medicinal and nutritional purposes, including discussions of the scientific model's limits and how, once cultivated, it can be applied to disciplines such as medicine.
"In investigating the inner life of the whole Victorian bourgeoisie, that vast class, in Emile Zola's words, "reaching from the common people to the aristocracy," Gay turns also to the letters and confessional diaries of both obscure and prominent men and women."--Jacket.
The experience of modernization -- the dizzying social changes that swept millions of people into the capitalist world -- and modernism in art, literature and architecture are brilliantly integrated in this account.
This sterling biography of Germany’s greatest writer presents Johann Wolfgang von Goethe as if we are seeing him for the first time. The work of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe has reverberated through two and a half centuries, altering the course of literature in ways both grand and intimate. No other writer so completely captivated the intellectual life of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Europe, putting into language the anxieties and ambitions of a civilization on the cusp of modernity. A literary celebrity by the age of twenty-five, Goethe, who was born in Frankfurt in 1749, attracted the adulation and respect of the greatest scientists, politicians, composers, and philosophers of his day. Schoolboys dressed like his fictional characters. Napoleon read his first novel obsessively. He was an astoundingly prolific writer, a master of many genres, from poetry to scientific treatises, from novels like the tragic Sorrows of Young Werther to dramatic works like Faust. Indeed, Goethe’s unparalleled literary output would come to define the Romantic age. Rüdiger Safranski’s Goethe: Life as a Work of Art is the first definitive biography in a generation to tell the larger-than-life story of the writer considered to be the Shakespeare of German literature. Drawing upon the trove of letters, diaries, and notebooks Goethe left behind, as well as correspondence and criticism from Goethe’s contemporaries, Safranski weaves a rich tale of Europe in the throes of revolution and of the man whose ideas heralded a new era. Safranski’s monumental biography is a careful survey of Goethe’s wide-ranging genius. Beyond his incredible literary gifts, Goethe was intensely interested in natural science and took seriously his official post as a statesman, working tirelessly to ensure that the working poor received wages and daily bread. With grace and nuance, Safranski crafts a portrait of Goethe’s inner life that illuminates both his written work and the turmoil and triumphs of his era. Safranski shows that reading Goethe affords not simply an encounter with a literary virtuoso but an opportunity to develop a deeper appreciation of the human condition. Goethe was writing in the midst of a dramatic and bloody time for Europe: the revolutions in France and America overturned the old regimes and introduced new ways of thinking about the world. Set against this backdrop, Goethe’s life and work serve as an essential touchstone for the birth of the modern age. But as Safranski ultimately shows, Goethe’s greatest creation was not only his literary masterpieces but his very life.
In Goethe and Judaism, Schutjer aims to provide a broad, though by no means exhaustive, literary study that is neither apologetic nor reductive, that attends to the complexity and irony of Goethe’s literary work but takes his representations of Judaism seriously as an integral part of his thought and writing. She is thus concerned not simply with accusing or acquitting Goethe of prejudice but rather with discerning the function and logic of his relationship to Judaism, as seen within his work. Her premise is that Goethe’s conception of modernity—his anxieties as well as his most affirmative vision concerning the trajectory of his age—are deeply entwined with his conception of Judaism. Schutjer argues that behind his very mixed representations of Jews and Judaism stand crucial tensions within his own thinking and a distinct anxiety of influence. Indeed, Goethe, she contends, paradoxically wrestles against precisely those impulses in Judaism for which he feels the greatest affinity, which most approach his own vision of modernity. The discourse of wandering in Goethe’s work serves as a key site where Judaism and modernity meet.
Part-murder mystery and part-family saga, this dramatic and often hilarious novel explores the history of Los Angeles's Iranian-Jewish community.
Published in concert with the 250th anniversary of Goethe's birth, this selection of great works from the German writer includes The Sorrows of Young Werther and Faust, among others.
You must attend to the commencement of this story, for when we get to the end we shall know more than we do now about a very wicked hobgoblin; he was one of the very worst, for he was a real demon. One day, when he was in a merry mood, he made a looking-glass which had the power of making everything good or beautiful that was reflected in it almost shrink to nothing, while everything that was worthless and bad looked increased in size and worse than ever. The most lovely landscapes appeared like boiled spinach, and the people became hideous, and looked as if they stood on their heads and had no bodies. Their countenances were so distorted that no one could recognize them, and even one freckle on the face appeared to spread over the whole of the nose and mouth. The demon said this was very amusing. When a good or pious thought passed through the mind of any one it was misrepresented in the glass; and then how the demon laughed at his cunning invention. All who went to the demon's school- for he kept a school- talked everywhere of the wonders they had seen, and declared that people could now, for the first time, see what the world and mankind were really like. They carried the glass about everywhere, till at last there was not a land nor a people who had not been looked at through this distorted mirror. They wanted even to fly with it up to heaven to see the angels, but the higher they flew the more slippery the glass became, and they could scarcely hold it, till at last it slipped from their hands, fell to the earth, and was broken into millions of pieces. But now the looking-glass caused more unhappiness than ever, for some of the fragments were not so large as a grain of sand, and they flew about the world into every country. When one of these tiny atoms flew into a person's eye, it stuck there unknown to him, and from that moment he saw everything through a distorted medium, or could see only the worst side of what he looked at, for even the smallest fragment retained the same power which had belonged to the whole mirror. Some few persons even got a fragment of the looking-glass in their hearts, and this was very terrible, for their hearts became cold like a lump of ice. A few of the pieces were so large that they could be used as window-panes; it would have been a sad thing to look at our friends through them. Other pieces were made into spectacles; this was dreadful for those who wore them, for they could see nothing either rightly or justly. At all this the wicked demon laughed till his sides shook- it tickled him so to see the mischief he had done. There were still a number of these little fragments of glass floating about in the air, and now you shall hear what happened with one of them.
Storm Jameson writes of Stendhal "as one speaks in suitable company of a friend". She knew him very well. Over the years she read everything available by him and she immersed herself in his life and his writings - and the two cannot be separated. As a biographical subject, Stendhal is vastly more rewarding than many literary figures. Something was forever happening to him; usually another passionate love affair. Life at home, in his youth, was a smouldering battle-ground: he hated his father, and when he rejoiced at the execution of Louis XVI, "be sure", Storm Jameson adds, "that another head glimmered in his mind." There was his naively close relationship with his sister Pauline, whom however he later outgrew, so that "he would do anything he could for her except live with her." There was his brief but horrifying experience of Napoleon's wars. And of course, there was his passion for travel, for society, for the opera, for Italy. It all became part of the texture of his books. What is so astonishing is that his contemporaries were unconscious of his genius: even his old friend Merimee patronised him as a failure. Posterity has set that right, and this study, so lucidly and perceptively written, and providing so many insights, gives a marvellously concise picture of a rich and varied life.
Loosely connected with Part One and the German legend of Faust, Part Two is a dramatic epic rather than a strictly constructed drama. It is conceived as an act of homage to classical Greek culture and inspired above all by the world of story-telling and myth at the heart of the Greek tradition, as well as owing some of its material to the Arabian Nights tales. The restless and ruthless hero, advised by his cynical demon-companion Mephistopheles, visits classical Greece i search of the beautiful Helen of Troy. Returning to modern times, he seeks to crown his career by gaining control of the elements, and at his death is carried up into the unkown regions, still in pursuit of the `Eternal Feminine'. David Luke's translation of Part One won the European Poetry Translation Prize. Here he again imitates the varied verse-forms of the original, and provides a highly readable - and actable - translation, supported by an introduction, full notes, and an index of classical mythology. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.