The Erotic Authority of Nature

in The Romantic Conception of Life

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2002 | ISBN: 9780226712109
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226712185 | DOI:
The Erotic Authority of Nature

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  • History of Science and Technology


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The tendency to use various artistic and scientific works as media for self-reflection had begun for Goethe quite early. The descriptions that sound the most lyrical moments of memory, that achieve the most delicate emotional pitch, playing softly the chords of desire, regret, and longing for youth, are those dealing with his various love affairs. Goethe took a very pragmatic view of his legal education, studying just enough to keep up. Goethe reflected back on how his geologizing activity grew out of “subjective” concerns, as did all of science. Goethe himself admitted that the process of granite's deposition remained shrouded in mystery and that one could not with confidence say whether this backbone of the earth was formed by water or fire.

Keywords: nature; Goethe; scientific works; science; self-reflection

Chapter.  37044 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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