In 1880 Nietzsche observed that Goethe had been "not just a good and great man, but an entire culture." The author of Faust, of exquisite lyric poetry, and of a bewildering variety of other plays, novels, and poetry as well as treatises on botany and color theory, Goethe also excelled as an administrator in the cabinet of Carl August, Duke of Saxe-Weimar. Now, Nicholas Boyle has written the definitive biography of this extraordinary figure--indeed, The Poet and the Age is the first full-length, original English-language biography of Goethe in sixty years.
In this elegant and enjoyable first volume--the first of two projected books--Boyle captures the passions and poetry of the young Goethe, leading us up to the moment when the French Revolution shook the foundations of all of Europe. Boyle contends that, although Goethe was certainly as much a part of German social and political life as he was its cultural nucleus, there was no single "Age of Goethe." Instead, Goethe's life spanned a great divide in European history: half was spent under a monarchy, and half under a middle-class bureaucracy. The first forty years of Goethe's creative life, rendered by Boyle in captivating detail, saw the early conception of Faust, and Goethe's rise to literary fame on the heels of his bestselling sentimental novel The Sorrows of Young Werther, a book which captured the European imagination like no other before it. Werther became a fashion in a strikingly contemporary sense: impassioned readers imitated the clothing, the sentiments, and even the tragic suicide of the novel's young hero. Napoleon claimed to have read Goethe's book seven times, and years later Mary Shelley cited it as the first book read by the monster she created in Frankenstein. Boyle provides not only close and provocative readings of Goethe's literary works, but also a vivid portrayal of a convulsive age of revolution, including insights into Weimar court life, and accounts of other master thinkers like Lessing and Schiller.
Part social history, part literary criticism, this is biography on a grand scale--as sweeping and magnificent as the life it portrays. Boyle's work is accessible to anyone, and does not assume a prior knowledge of German history or literature, but it is also rigorous and original--a major work of scholarship.
Volume II, The Age of Renunciation, is in preparation.
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Nicholas Boyle is University Lecturer in German and Fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge. A Goethe specialist, Boyle has written extensively on German and French literature and philosophy.
`THE first volume of Nicholas Boyle's Goethe: The Poet and the Age promises well for the second and the complete work will doubtless rank among the few important English books on Goethe to appear since 1949,...This is an enjoyable , erudite book for which the scholars and students whom he addresses will be grateful. It contains a full index and notes and thirty-seven well-chosen illustrations. Translations are given of all German passages cited. We look forward to volume II.' K.G. Knight, Notes and Queries
`Vivid, lucid and pleasurable...reads like a fine novel, yet is also quietly encyclopedic.' Times Higher Educational Supplement
`biography at its best' Doris Lessing, Independent
`The enthralling and meticulous first volume of Nicholas Boyle's Goethe: The Poet and the Age (Oxford #25) makes up for decades of British indifference.' Michael Ratcliffe, Observer
`a biography of profound scholarship and classically elegant prose, measured yet never booming or boring' Rupert Christansen, Observer
`Index and notes are of an impeccable care and learning.' Hardy Amies, Daily Telegraph
'This landmark work takes us exactly half way through Goethe's life. The completion of Boyle's mighty synthesis is eagerly awaited.' Taxon 41 (May 1991)
'magisterial life of Goethe' John Batchelor, British Book News, September 1993
'The first question that can reasonably be put about a work of these dimensions ... is whether its length is justified by the scope of its subject and its usefulness to students and scholars. That this is undoubtedly so is ... a tribute to the meticulous and scholarly way in which Boyle has gathered and arranged his material ... in this volume Boyle has not only laid a sound foundation for the understanding of Goethe's prodigious output in the second half of his life; he has provided an immensely informative overview of the intellectual and cultural context of Goethe's early career and a readable and authoritative account of his personal and literary development up to and including the Italian Journey.' Forum for Modern Language Studies, Volume XXIX No. 3, July 1993
'This is the first volume of what will surely be the most comprehensive and authorititative biography of Goethe in English. Boyle's record of the first forty years of Goethe's life is minutely detailed, but also establishes a firmly structured profile of his work and his creative personality in a dense but lucid account of the poet's personal and public relations. Boyle's sober account of the life and works is not without moments of humour, even hilarity. Boyle also provides an exhaustive account in breadth and depth of the Age in which and, more often than not, against which Goethe's genius asserted itself.' John R. Williams, University of St. Andrews, New German Studies, Volume 17, Number 2, 1992/93
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Descrizione libro Oxford University Press, 1992. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Never used!. Codice libro della libreria P110192829815