German Romanticism and Science : The Procreative Poetics of Goethe, Novalis, and Ritter book cover
1st Edition

German Romanticism and Science
The Procreative Poetics of Goethe, Novalis, and Ritter

ISBN 9780415654968
Published July 27, 2012 by Routledge
232 Pages

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Book Description

Situated at the intersection of literature and science, Holland's study draws upon a diverse corpus of literary and scientific texts which testify to a cultural fascination with procreation around 1800. Through readings which range from Goethe’s writing on metamorphosis to Novalis’s aphorisms and novels and Ritter’s Fragments from the Estate of a Young Physicist, Holland proposes that each author contributes to a scientifically-informed poetics of procreation. Rather than subscribing to a single biological theory (such as epigenesis or preformation), these authors take their inspiration from a wide inventory of procreative motifs and imagery.

Table of Contents


Chapter One: Introduction

Chapter Two: Poetic Procreation and Goethe’s Theory of Metamorphosis

Chapter Three: Friedrich von Hardenberg and the Discourse of Procreation

Chapter Four: The Poet as Artisan and the Instruments of Procreation

Chapter Five: Johann Wilhelm Ritter and the Writing of Life

Chapter Six: Procreative Thinking - Scientific Projects





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Jocelyn Holland is Assistant Professor, Department of German and the Program for Comparative Literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara.


"Holland’s insightful and compelling account brings alive some important debates in Romantic science, illuminating a fascinating chapter in the history of vitalism and materialism alike." Paul Bishop, University of Glasgow, UK, Modern Language Review