Goethe's Concept of the Daemonic

Goethe's Concept of the Daemonic

After the Ancients

Angus Nicholls

Hardback
$90.00

Camden House

Overview

Overview

The first book to examine Goethe's writings on the daemonic in relation to both Classical philosophy and German Idealism.
For Plato, the daemonic is a sensibility that brings individuals into contact with divine knowledge; Socrates was also inspired by a "divine voice" known as his "daimonion." Goethe was introduced to this ancient concept by Hamann and Herder, who associated it with the aesthetic category of genius. This book shows how the young Goethe depicted the idea of daemonic genius in works of the Storm and Stress period, before exploring the daemonic in a series of later poetic and autobiographical works. Reading Goethe's works on the daemonic through theorists such as Lukács, Benjamin, Gadamer, Adorno, and Blumenberg, Nicholls contends that they contain arguments concerning reason, nature, and subjectivity that are central to both European Romanticism and the Enlightenment.

Angus Nicholls is Claussen-Simon Foundation Research Lecturer in German and Comparative Literature at the Centre for Anglo-German Cultural Relations in the Department of German, Queen Mary, University of London.

Details

May 2006
325 pages
9x6 in
Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture
ISBN: 9781571133076
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Camden House
BIC DSRC, 1DFG, 2AB, 3JF
BISAC LIT004170, PHI001000
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Table of Contents

Introduction
The Ancients and Their Daemons
The Daemonic in the Philosophy of the Sturm und Drang: Hamann and Herder
Romanticism and Unlimited Subjectivity: "Mahomets Gesang"
Werther: The Pathology of an Aesthetic Idea
Kantian Science and the Limits of Subjectivity
Schelling, Naturphilosophie, and "Mächtiges Überraschen"
After the Ancients: Dichtung und Wahrheit and "Urworte. Orphisch"
Eckermann, or the Daemonic and the Political
Epilogue: Socrates and the Cicadas

Reviews

Nicholls's excellent monograph must surely be the most comprehensive and the most analytic discussion of the daemonic to date....Nicholls has provided a study that is...truly inspiring. JOURNAL OF EUROPEAN STUDIES

Nicholls outlines with unusual erudition and broad knowledge of the subject matter the tension between the subjective and objective in Goethe's concept of the demonic. GERMAN STUDIES REVIEW

(A) well-thought out and well-written book. Nicholls is able to summarize the vast corpus of Goethe scholarship, while at the same time offering new interpretations of several well-known works. NEW PERSPECTIVES ON THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY

Nicholls argues that the daemonic is not simply of bibliographical significance but was a philosophical concern for Goethe which he brought to bear on a range of contemporary debates.... (T)he concept of the daemonic deserves attention in our time when rationality is in crisis. FORUM FOR MODERN LANGUAGE STUDIES

In this solidly researched book, which represents a significant contribution to our understanding of `Goethe's concept of the daemonic,' Nicholls offers the reader many stimulating insights and viewpoints. GOETHE JAHRBUCH

The story of Goethe's turn from the Geniezeit to classicism has been told many times before, but seldom in such philosophical detail or with such a range of references to European intellectual history. MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW

...Nicholls's intelligent and deeply researched book opens new windows onto Goethe's philosophical return to the daemonic throughout his works. It is a major contribution to scholarship, and will doubtless inspire new readings of individual works as well as of the dynamic links in Goethe between philosophy, science, literature, and aesthetics. GERMAN QUARTERLY

Nicholls's intelligent and deeply researched book opens new windows onto Goethe's philosophical return to the daemonic throughout his works. It is a major contribution to scholarship, and will doubtless inspire new readings of individual works.. GERMAN QUARTERLY

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