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‘Vorgänger Darwins’ or ‘Nachfolger Goethes’? Wilhelm Bölsche on evolutionism in Goethe and Novalis or, literature and the two cultures then and now.

Saul, Nicholas (2015) '‘Vorgänger Darwins’ or ‘Nachfolger Goethes’? Wilhelm Bölsche on evolutionism in Goethe and Novalis or, literature and the two cultures then and now.', Publications of the English Goethe Society., 84 (1). pp. 76-91.

Abstract

This essay is the first to consider Wilhelm Bölsche’s activity as editor of, and commentator on, Novalis’s work. It does so on the one hand by contrasting Bölsche’s image of Novalis with his image of Goethe, and on the other by setting that in the context of Bölsche’s evolutionist theory of culture. Both are said to represent evolutionism in an early and vigorous form, and so to ‘precede’ Darwin. Finally, Bölsche’s evolutionist characterization of Novalis as a sympathetically Faustian conqueror of other cultures is critically evaluated against his own, later essay on Columbus and the Conquistadors. Bölsche’s attempt to propagate an evolutionary critique of culture is in conclusion argued to prefigure key tendencies of today’s cognitive humanities and evolutionary poetics.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1179/0959368314z.00000000049
Publisher statement:This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Publications of the English Goethe Society on 04/04/2015, available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1179/0959368314z.00000000049.
Date accepted:01 October 2014
Date deposited:13 October 2016
Date of first online publication:04 April 2015
Date first made open access:No date available

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