Goethe: A Very Short Introduction

The Good in Goethe

* Few men in history were able to match Goethe in raw, lyrical power.  He stands alone.

* Interesting section on anthropology. Goethe, like many Germans, rejected Descartes’ “man as soul + machine” model and instead opted, to borrow a term from quantum mechanics, for an “entanglement” of soul (or force) and body.

* Unlike most in the Enlightenment, Goethe was a conservative.  This is evidenced in his (in)famous quote that he would rather allow one injustice than let disorder rule.

The Bad

* Goethe’s religious beliefs were always vague and shaky, and even when he came down on identifiable propositions, it might have been better had he been more vague.

* His loose morals were rather well known.  The less said about them the better.

Goethe didn’t consider himself a Romantic.  If the anachronistic option were put before him, he would have called himself a Classicist.

Aside from an execrable and pompous chapter on religion, this is a good read.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s