Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, a dominant figure in European literature and intellectual life, was the creator of a new and influential visual culture. This volume investigates a new science of perception through an exploration of his autobiographical works, novels and writings on optics. The psychoanalytic approach taken in this study focuses on central acts of perception and the role of vision in Goethe as key to the formation of identity. By addressing the impact of visuality on the act of writing, new interpretations of his most important works emerge through analysis of subject formation in the autobiographies,
The Italian Journey and
Poetry and Truth. Further, the relationship between the self and the gaze plays a central role in the semi-autobiographical works,
The Elective Affinities,
Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship, as well as
Color Theory. In exploring the question of identity and identification within a Lacanian framework,
The Eye and the Gaze offers an innovative approach to biography, autobiography, and narrative.