Images of Identity: Goethe and the Problem of Self-conception in the Nineteenth Century
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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able acceptance achieved action active Anschauung appearances attempts beautiful become begins Bildung brings called comes complete comprehend condition continues creation creative criticism cultural definition desire Dichtung direct divine drama dream earlier enjoyment entire eternal existence experience expression eyes fate Faust feelings final forces fully gives Goethe Goethe's harmony Helena higher historical human idea ideal identity impressions individual infinite inner interpretation Italy knowledge language leads learned Lehrjahre limitations living longing meaning Meister move movement nature never novel object once organ original particular past perceive perception personality possess present problems provides pure question reality realize recognizes reflection relation remains revealed scene seems sense social society specific spirit striving structure symbolic temporal things thought tradition true truth turn ultimate understanding unity universal various viewing vision Wanderjahre Werther whole young