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.
* 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.