Goethe and the Autobiographical Subject
Chapter 3: The End of Language: Goethe, Lavater and the Eye/I of Physiognomy
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Chapter 3 The End of Language: Goethe, Lavater and the Eye/I of Physiognomy
Founding speech, which envelops the subject, is all that has constituted him, his parents, his neighbors, the whole structure of the community, and not only constituted him as symbol, but constituted him as being.
(Lacan Seminar 2: 20)
Shortly before going to Italy, Goethe wrote to Charlotte von Stein about his last meeting with his old friend Johann Caspar Friedrich Lavater (June 6, 1786). “The Gods”, he writes, “know better what is good for us than we do and that is why they have forced me to see him. […] We exchanged no trusting friendly word and I am free of love and hate forever” July 21 1786).57 Lavater’s visit to Weimar initiated a final break between the two friends and collaborators.
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