Goethe: Poetry of Desire, 1749-90 v.1

Goethe: Poetry of Desire, 1749-90 v.1 : The Poet and the Age

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The author of Faust, the best-selling sentimental novel The Sorrows of Young Werther, of exquisite lyric poetry (set to music by Schubert and Mozart), and of a bewildering variety of other plays, novels, poems, and treatises, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe also excelled as an administrator in the cabinet of Carl August, Duke of Saxe-Weimar. Considered by Nietzsche to have been 'not just a good and great man, but an entire culture', Goethe was as vital a part of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century German social and political life, as he was its cultural nucleus. However, as this perceptive biography shows, the originality of his art lay in his complex distance from his times.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 828 pages
  • 157.5 x 236.2 x 40.1mm | 1,189.37g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford Paperbacks
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0192829815
  • 9780192829818

Review quote

the best biography of Goethe in English George Steiner, New Yorkershow more

About Nicholas Boyle

Nicholas Boyle is University Lecturer in German and Fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge. A Goethe specialist, Boyle has written extensively on German and French literature and philosophy.show more

Table of contents

Part 1 Germany in the 18th century: the age of Goethe?; princes, pietists and professors; the literary context to 1770. Part 2 Origins of a poet: Frankfurt and the Goethes; "more chatterbox than substance" - 1749-1765; a burnt-out case? - 1765-1770; first writings. Part 3 Prometheus unbound (1770-1775): the awakening - 1770-1771; life and literature - works, 1770-1771; between Sentimentalism and Storm and Stress - 1772-1774; detonating the bomb - works, 1772-1774; the Messiah and his nation - 1774-1775; "innocent guilt" - works, 1774-1775. Part 4 Displacement: Weimar in 1775; why Goethe stayed; the minister; Frau von Stein; literary difficulties of a statesman. Part 5 Court favourite (1775-1780): confidence and indeterminacy - 1775-1777; works, 1775-1777; tragedy and symbolism - 1777-1780; works, 1777-1780. Part 6 The Baron (1780-1786): between society and nature - 1780-1784; works, 1780-1784; "I thought I was dead" - 1785-1786; works, 1785-1786. Part 7 To Italy at last (1786-1788): the road to Rome; "quite as much toil as enjoyment" - October 1786-February 1787; a glimpse of fulfilment - "Iphigenia" and "Forest Cavern"; uneasy paradise; the gardens of Alcinous; in the high school of art - 1787-1788; the great soul - works, 1787-1788. Part 8 The watershed: Old and new faces - June-December 1788; Rome in Weimar - December 1788-May 1789; "I am a different man" - June-December 1789; "Summa Summarum" - the edition completed; farewell to Italy - January-June 1790.show more

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