Images of Identity: Goethe and the Problem of Self-conception in the Nineteenth Century

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P. Lang, 1987 - History - 265 pages
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The word -Bildung- - variously defined as -education- or -self-formation- - came into popular usage in western Europe through the terminological revolution of the late eighteenth century. No single individual was more influential in giving his own definition to this key word than was Goethe. Through an analysis of Goethe's use of the term in the Bildungsroman "Wilhelm Meisters" "Lehrjahre, " Goethe's autobiography, "Dichtung und Wahrheit, " and the much neglected text "Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre, " Sax shows how -Bildung- was more than a process of self-formation, for it included an understanding of the relation of the individual to society, to history, and through the interpretation of symbols, to a transcendent level of meaning as well. It is Sax's purpose to place Goethe's notion of -Bildung- within the context of the history of Western self-conceptions since the Renaissance."

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