Goethe and the English-Speaking World

Goethe and the English-Speaking World

A Cambridge Symposium for His 250th Anniversary

Edited by Nicholas Boyle, John Guthrie

New studies of both Goethe's relationship to the English-speaking world and its perception of Goethe and his works.
Goethe's relations with the English-speaking world have been the subject of scholarly investigation ever since his lifetime. This volume brings together eighteen articles that provide new points of view, a broad range of approaches, and new and original findings on this relationship. These range from the discussion of applications of recent critical approaches such as chaos theory and Edward Said's Orientalism to Goethean texts, through other more empirical contributions that bring to light new material, some of it deriving from archives in Weimar relating to Goethe's contact with English culture. Other essays involve the reassessment of questions of influence, from both sides: in the case of Cooper and Goethe some standard assumptions are revised, while in the case of Goethe and Edith Wharton and Goethe and George Eliot, new comparative ground is broken. Close readings of portions of well-known texts such as Faust and Wilhelm Meister challenge standard assumptions. The analysis of selected recent translations of Goethe's poetry raises perennial questions of cultural transfer, while the survey of the role played by some of Goethe's texts in one corner of the English-speaking world, Dublin, is long overdue.

Nicholas Boyle is Reader in German Literary and Intellectual History, Head of the Department of German in the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Magdalene College. John Guthrie is College Lecturer in German and Director of Studies in Modern Languages at New Hall, Cambridge.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Goethe and England; England and Goethe - Nicholas Boyle
Wilhelm Meister Reads Shakespeare - Peter Michelsen
Goethe and Newton - H. B. Nisbet
"Ossian hat in meinem Herzen en Humor verdrängt": Goethe and Ossian Reconsidered - Howard Gaskill
Weimar Classicism's Debt to the Scottish Enlightenment -
Faust's Pendular Atheism and the British Tradition of Religious Melancholy - Matthew Bell
Goethe and Colonisation: the Wanderjahre and Cooper - Nicholas Saul
Johann Cristian Hüttner (1766-1847): a Link Between Weimar and London - Catherine Proescholdt
Destination Goethe: Travelling Englishmen in Weimar - Karl S. Guthke
The "Confessions" of Goethe and Coleridge: Goethe's "Bekenntnisse einer Schönen Seele" and Coleridge's Confessions of an Inquiring SpiritConfessions of an Inquiring Spirit - Elinor Shaffer
The Winkworth Sisters as Readers of Goethe in Mrs. Gaskell's Manchester - Peter Skrine
Goethe and American Literature: The Case of Edith Wharton - Jane K. Brown
The Authority of Culture: Some Reflections on the Reception of a Classic - James Simpson
Goethe's Orientalism - David Bell
What Gets Lost? A Look at Some Recent English Translations of Goethe - John R. Williams
Goethe and Irish German Studies 1871-1971 - Eda Sagarra


An unusually substantial set of essays... Several present important research in compressed form, and will be valuable reference points. Beyond that, the volume presents a picture of Goethe's response to the English-speaking world ... with many new and intriguing emphases. BRITISH JOURNAL OF 18TH-c. STUDIES The ... collection of papers is consistently learned, informative, insightful, enlightening.... GERMAN QUARTERLY

The essays ... succeed in demonstrating the value of an intercultural approach to Goethe, in recognition both of his global significance and of his conception of "world literature." JOURNAL OF EUROPEAN STUDIES

The collection, free of jargon, carefully documented and generally on the cutting edge of research, could also be recommended to non-specialists looking for an accessible overview of how Goethe has been and is being seen in the Anglo-American world. SEMINAR

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