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Love and Social Contracts

Goethe's «Unterhaltungen deutscher Ausgewanderten»


Robin A. Clouser

A key work in understanding the mature Goethe, Conversations among German Refugees is here explicated as an organic whole rather than fragmentarily. This study gives an orientation to the many changes in Goethe's life in the decade prior to its writing, offers thorough textual comparisons with the French sources, and comprehensively treats previous scholarship. More than just the beginning of a new German genre, the Conversations represents Goethe's social commentary on his times, including the French Revolution and the problematic relationships between men and women. Individual tales, the «Fairy Tale», and the frame are newly interpreted.
Contents: Discussion of Goethe's life and loves from 1786 to 1795 - His interest in social reform at all levels - The mythological background of the «Fairy Tale» - Appendix - Bibliography.