Chapter

Nature

Ritchie Robertson

in Goethe

Published in print January 2016 | ISBN: 9780199689255
Published online January 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780191785764 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/actrade/9780199689255.003.0002

Series: Very Short Introductions

Nature

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For Goethe, humanity formed part of a greater unity, that of Nature. Nature was also something to be experienced in the most direct, immediate way. ‘Nature’ looks closely at the poem Auf dem See, to appreciate how Goethe’s language expresses his sensuous apprehension of Nature. Goethe saw Nature as a sensuous maternal presence, but above all, dynamic—constantly in motion, both creative and destructive. Goethe was fascinated by anatomy, botany, mineralogy, and geology and devoted as much or more time to studying the natural world as he did to literature. Despite his problematic scientific method, Goethe’s empirical studies of botany, colour perception, and other subjects provided much valuable material for later generations.

Keywords: Francis Bacon; Robert Burns; colour; Charles Darwin; Erasmus Darwin; geology; Isaac Newton

Chapter.  6403 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biographical Studies

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