Tracing Subversive Currents in Goethe's Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship

Tracing Subversive Currents in Goethe's Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship

John Blair

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Fresh critical reading of Goethe's important novel, challenging orthodox scholarship.
In this new reading of Goethe's most influential novel Blair's close attention to the text brings startling insights to light, often taking issue with received critical opinions. He shows, for example, that Goethe slyly introduced material full of low-cultural, subversive vitality that mocks conservative, authoritarian power interested in conformity or propriety. The novel does not just find fault with developments of the late Enlightenment but rather seductively describes loci of resistance to them: the marketplace, the travelling theatre, the Hanswurst. Equally, the author argues that although 'high' aesthetics, morals, institutions and rationality are impugned, they are not completely discredited: the problem with such high principles is demonstrated as being their tendency to present themselves as the only valid voice.


"Clear and persuasive." JOURNAL OF EUROPEAN STUDIES
"A very useful study... Sheds light on aspects of textual configurations that are often overlooked." SOUTH ATLANTIC REVIEW
"Carefully researched and solidly executed." SEMINAR
"By placing frequently neglected aspects of the Lehrjahre at the main focus of the book, Blair makes a worthwhile contribution to Goethe research." GERMAN QUARTERLY 'In Blair's study we have a work that in many respects opens new prospects on Goethe's novel and which has the intellectual potential to stimulate an animated discussion.' CANADIAN REVIEW OF COMPARATIVE LITERATURE

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