The Life of Goethe: A Critical Biography

Overview

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is Germany's most celebrated, prolific, and versatile writer. He established a major European reputation and profoundly influenced his contemporaries and literary successors, not least among them the British Romantic writers Coleridge, Scott, and Byron. Goethe's life spanned a long period of profound change in German and European history. This book, by the author of a critically acclaimed study of Goethe's Faust, sets Goethe's creative work in the context of his biography and of the ...
See more details below
Hardcover
$89.28
BN.com price
(Save 20%)$111.95 List Price
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (6) from $33.15   
  • New (4) from $87.01   
  • Used (2) from $33.15   
Sending request ...

Overview

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is Germany's most celebrated, prolific, and versatile writer. He established a major European reputation and profoundly influenced his contemporaries and literary successors, not least among them the British Romantic writers Coleridge, Scott, and Byron. Goethe's life spanned a long period of profound change in German and European history. This book, by the author of a critically acclaimed study of Goethe's Faust, sets Goethe's creative work in the context of his biography and of the literary and political movements of his time. It contains chapters on his life, his poetry, drama, prose and verse narratives, and on his scientific work. It is a study not only of his major works, but also of his less well known literary output: epigrams, aphorisms, satires, libretti, masquerades, dramatic and narrative fragments.

John R. Williams gives an account of Goethe's wide range of public activities as a minister of the Duchy of Sachsen-Weimar, his relations with the leading figures of the day, his influence on contemporary culture, and his personal and literary reactions to historical events of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, from the ancien regime to the French Revolution, from the Napoleonic invasion of Germany to the defeat of Napoleon, from the Congress of Vienna to the July Revolution of 1830, from the declining years of the Holy Roman Empire to the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution in Germany. Goethe's life and work are introduced and explained to the student of literature and to the interested general reader. Williams reveals his subject in all the great variety of his character, his occasionally scurrilous humour and exuberance, his characteristic ironic ambivalence, and his sometimes flawed wisdom and humanity.

Catering for the specialist in German literature and for the non-German reader, The Life of Goethe offers English translations of all quotations given in the text. An extensive bibliography details a wide selection of Goethe's works in English translation.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The Life of Goethe admirably fills a gap in Goethe studies. John Williams provides a patient and thorough life-story." Alain de Botton

"Williams's study of Goethe's life and letters is a welcome contribution to Goethe scholarship. By translating all German citations, quotations, and references into English, Williams makes Goethe accessible to the English-speaking audience. "The German Quarterly

"Details importantly formative or influential are mentioned. All examples of significant experience conveyed in his poetry are given in both German as originally written and in English translation. "Psychological Reports

"To attempt a critical biography of a writer of Goethe's stature is no mean task and John Williams has shown that he is more than equal to it. He has provided what must be one of the most scholarly and readable accounts in English of Goethe's life and massive achievement. The style is lively and energetic and the English translations of the Goethe quotations are always apt and remarkably close to the original. This is an excellent book, lucid and penetrating. Dr Williams is to be congratulated on this major contribution to Goethe scholarship and for the infectious way in which he communicates his knowledge of, and love for, his subject." Forum for Modern Language Studies

"Intended for Germanists and non-Germanists alike, John Williams's The Life of Goethe: A Critical Biography deserves to go straight to the top of undergraduate reading lists. As a critical survey, it is hard to see this being surpassed." Modern Language Review

Read More Show Less

Product Details

Meet the Author

John R. Williams is honorary Senior Lecturer in the Department of German at the University of St Andrews. He has published numerous scholarly articles on German literature and is the author of Goethe's 'Faust' (1987). In 1982 he was awarded a prize by the Theodor-Storm-Gesellschaft in an international competition for verse translation.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

List of Plates xi
Preface xiii
1 The Life 1
2 The Lyric Poet 53
3 The Dramatist 132
4 The Novelist: The Prose and Verse Narratives 212
5 The Scientist 258
Conclusion 277
Notes 291
Bibliography 300
General Index 310
Index to Goethe's Works 317
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)