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Binding: Paperback, 636 pages
Publisher: Freeman Press
Weight: 1.75 pound
Dimension: H: 0.75 x L: 8.5 x W: 0.48 inches
ISBN 10: 140863063X
ISBN 13: 9781408630631
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Book Description:
THE LIFE AND WORKS OF GOETHE INTRODUCTION BY HAVELOCK ELLIS 1908 INTRODUCTION LEWESS Lzye of GoeUe was almost the first to be written, and in essentials it is still perhaps the best. For a long time it was the popular biography even in Germany, where now, however, it has been superseded by Bielschowskys Goetke, a valuable work undoubtedly, though written by a less skilful hand. Many years ago, when I wished to become acquainted with the facts of Goethes life, I rejected Lewess biography, with that exaggerated fear we always feel in youth of following an old fashioned authority, and selected Diintzers. I was wrong. Ddntzer possessed indeed all the merits of scholarship his detail, his impartiality, his severe devotion to facts, are admirable and have not been surpassed, but his work is not, and never professed to be, a broad summing up of a great and many sided personality. To day I would recommend those who desire to have, within the covers of one volume, the main facts of Goethes life, the statement of his achievements, and the means of estimating his place in the world, to select Lewes. Certainly there are some irrelevant and digressive passages in this book, but in the abridged edition which Lewes himself made in 1873, under the title of The Story of Goefhes Lz fe, far too much was cut out. It is better to study the con plete work, as finally revised by the author, and here, by the sound judgment of the editor and publishers of Everymans Library, presented to the reader in a single compact and beautiful volume. Lewes compIeted his Lz fe at Weimar in 1855, but he had planned it some years earlier, when such a work still had the freshness of a new task and an original exploration. He was singularly well equipped for the work. Born in London in 1817, of remote Welsh descent, and grandson of a notable actor, he had received a many sided education, largely in France and Germany. At one time he studied medicine, but his inability to endure the spectacle of suffering caused him to abandon all idea of becoming a doctor at a much later period in life, however, he reverted to the study of physiology, became a pioneer in modern vli S . . Vlll Introduction biological speculation, and made various valuable physiological suggestions. He had an inherited passion for the drama, wrote plays, as well as dramatic criticism, and sometimes himself acted. The bent of his literary tastes led him to sympathise with the qualities of French rather than of German literature, but from an early period he admired Goethe as well as Lessing. He became also a novelist, and attained in this field a certain measure of success. In philosophy he was always interested, having indeed planned a philosophical treatise before he was twenty. His chief achievement here was his well known Biographical History of PhiZoso hy, published in 1845, not indeed a profound work, but brilliant and stimulating. A few years later he planned the Ltye of Goetke. It was an important epoch in his own life. He had married some time earlier, but the marriage was unfortunate. There were wrongs on both sides, and in 1854 he left his family, though still working hard to support wife and children, and joined George Eliot. On taking this memorable step the pair went to live in Germany, studying Goethe in the places he had made famous, and here, in George Eliots company, Lewes completed the Llfe, certainly one of the most admirable biographies in the English language. He died in 1878. A part of the charm and the value of Lewess biography lies in his nearness to its object...

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