Tuesday, April 02, 2002

There is one rather major facet in my conception of Goethe that I need to find textual support for in Goethe's works. I have an impression of Goethe, especially in his later works, as believing in something similar to Emerson's conception of the Oversoul. But I can't think of a poem in which he confesses this.

This is a major facet because it distinguishes between the Schopenhaurian and Nietzschean strands of Goethe's legacy. Nietzsche had a more nominalistic, quasi-Aristotelian monism, while Schopenhaur had a full-blown quasi-Platonic monism. To use a term that is overly and poorly used today, Schopenhaur was more essentialist in his approach to spirit, as was Emerson, and as I tend to be. In the future, I may refer to these schools of thought as right and left Goetheanism, just as Gadamer is often called a right Heideggerian and Derrida a left Heideggerian.

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