Metamimesis


Book Description

Reconsiders the role played by mimesis - and by Goethe's Wilhelm Meister as a mimetic work - in the novels of Early German Romanticism. Mimesis, or the imitation of nature, is one of the most important concepts in eighteenth-century German literary aesthetics. As the century progressed, classical mimeticism came increasingly under attack, though it also held its position in the works of Goethe, Schiller, and Moritz. Much recent scholarship construes Early German Romanticism's refutation of mimeticism as its single distinguishing trait: the Romantics' conception of art as the very negationof the ideal of imitation. In this view, the Romantics saw art as production (poiesis): imaginative, musical, transcendent. Mattias Pirholt's book not only problematizes this view of Romanticism, but also shows that reflections on mimesis are foundational for the German Romantic novel, as is Goethe's great pre-Romantic novel Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship. Among the novels examined are Friedrich Schlegel's Lucinde, shown to be transgressive in its use of the aesthetics of imitation; Novalis's Heinrich von Ofterdingen, interpreted as an attempt to construct the novel as a self-imitating world; and Clemens Brentano's Godwi, seen to signal the endof Early Romanticism, both fulfilling and ironically deconstructing the self-reflective mimeticism of the novels that came before it. Mattias Pirholt is a Research Fellow in the Department of Literature at Uppsala University, Sweden.




Goethe's Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship and Philosophy


Book Description

In the decades after its publication, Goethe's Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship served as a touchstone for such major philosophical and literary figures as Schopenhauer, Schleiermacher, and Schlegel, and was widely understood to be one of the greatest novels of the German canon. But in the decades and centuries following, the attention it has received in both disciplines has diminished in comparison to either Goethe's Sorrows of Young Werther or his Elective Affinities. This volume follows the impetus of its early respondents to examine deeply what exactly Goethe's long and complicated novel is doing, and how it engages with problems and themes of human life. An interdisciplinary group of eminent scholars grapple with the novel's engagement with central philosophical questions such as individuality, development, and authority; aesthetic formation and narrative (and human) contingency; and gender, sexuality, and marriage. That these questions and their working-through in Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre are in tension with one another speaks ultimately to how literature explores philosophical questions in ways that are open-ended, creative, and contain potential for new and different solutions to living with them. This unique philosophical approach to the form and purpose of a literary masterpiece illuminates new inroads into a novel at once famously complex and influential, and into the projects of one Germany's greatest writers.




Conversations of German Refugees ; Wilhelm Meister's Journeyman Years, Or, The Renunciants


Book Description

Goethe was a master of the short prose form. His two narrative cycles, Conversations of German Refugees and Wilhelm Meister's Journeyman Years, both written during a high point of his career, address various social issues and reveal his experimentation with narrative and perspective. A traditional cycle of novellas, Conversations of German Refugees deals with the impact and significance of the French Revolution and suggests Goethe's ideas on the social function of his art. Goethe's last novel, Wilhelm Meister's Journeyman Years, is a sequel to Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship and to Conversations of German Refugees and is considered to be his most remarkable novel in form.




Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship


Book Description

An authoritative English translation of one of the most important works in the history of the novel Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship (1795–1796), Goethe’s second novel, is a foundational work in the history of the genre—perhaps the first Bildungsroman, a coming-of-age story focusing on the growth and self-realization of the main character. The story centers on Wilhelm, a young man living in the mid-1700s who strives to break free from the restrictive bourgeois world of his upbringing and seek fulfillment as an actor and playwright. Goethe’s novel had a huge impact on the Romantics. Hegel, Schelling, Novalis, and Schopenhauer considered it one of the most important novels yet written. Schlegel famously called it one of the “three tendencies of the age,” along with the French Revolution and the philosophy of Fichte. And Beethoven, Schubert, and Schumann set poems from the novel to music. It also had a major influence on nineteenth-century British writers, including Thomas Carlyle, who was its first English translator, and George Eliot. Drawn from Princeton’s authoritative collected works of Goethe, and featuring a new introduction by David Wellbery, this is the definitive English version of a landmark of world literature.




Goethe and the Myth of the Bildungsroman


Book Description

A fresh reading of the Willhelm Meister novels that dismisses the notion of the Bildungsroman to reveal unities between the texts.




The German Refugees


Book Description

"A new translation by an award winning translator rescues Goethe's collection of stories, modelled on the Decameron, from being out of print in English." "A family of German nobles have been forced from their home on the left bank of the Rhine by the French Revolution. Their peace is further disrupted by the arguments between the young Karl, a supporter of the ideals of the revolution, and the other men. The Baroness saves the family situation by suggesting they amuse each other by telling stories." "There are seven in all: two short ghost stories, two amorous anecdotes and two more substantial moral tales, the whole being concluded with Goethe's richly worked, fantastic, symbolic, allegorical 'Fairy Tale'." "The German Refugees was first published in 1795."--BOOK JACKET.




Wilhelm Meister's travels


Book Description




Goethe: Life as a Work of Art


Book Description

This “splendid biography” (Wall Street Journal) of Goethe presents his life and work as an essential touchstone for the modern age. A masterful intellectual portrait, Goethe: Life as a Work of Art is celebrated as the seminal twenty-first-century biography of the writer considered to be the Shakespeare of German literature. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832), a remarkably prolific poet, playwright, novelist, and—as Rüdiger Safranksi emphasizes—a statesman and naturalist, first awakened not only a burgeoning German nation but the European continent with his electrifying novel The Sorrows of Young Werther. Safranski has scoured Goethe’s entire oeuvre, relying exclusively on primary sources, including his correspondence with contemporaries, to produce a “fresh and authentic” (Economist) portrait of the avatar of the Romantic era. Skillfully blending “artistic analysis with swift, sharp renderings” of the great political and intellectual figures Goethe encountered, “[Safranski’s] portrait of the prolific genius leaves the reader with lasting awe, even envy” of a monumental legacy (The New Yorker). As Safranski ultimately shows, Goethe’s greatest creation, even in comparison to his masterpiece Faust, was his own life.




The Apprenticeship Novel


Book Description

The idea that a young person can become adept in the art of life by passing through definite stages, until at last he becomes a master, lives at the core of the apprenticeship novel. Recognized among German critics as the «Bildungsroman», this type of novel has yet to be adequately defined on a grand scale for the English reader despite nearly two centuries of its development. In an attempt to describe the apprenticeship novel as a modifiable type in Western literature, Mr. Shaffner combines a theoretical stance with analyses of three concrete examples drawn from over a hundred potential candidates.




Thinking on Thresholds


Book Description

Through a combination of case studies and theoretical investigations, the essays in this book address the imaginative power of the threshold as a productive space in literature and art.