The Will To Create

Goethe’s Philosophy of Nature

Finally, we have a readable work in English comparable to Margrit Wyder's Goethes Naturmodell, Dorothea-Michaela Noe-Rumberg's Naturgesetze als Dichtungsprinzipien, and Gunther Schnitzler and Gottfried Schramm's Ein Unteilbares Ganzes that encompasses all aspects of Goethe's philosophy of nature. Tantillo takes the reader on a fascinating and illuminating journey of discovery through Goethe's life as a scientist and poet. I highly recommend this exciting and incisive study.
John A. McCarthy, Vanderbilt University

Better known as a poet and dramatist, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) was also a learned philosopher and natural scientist. Astrida Orle Tantillo offers the first comprehensive analysis of his natural philosophy, which she contends is rooted in creativity.Tantillo analyzes GoetheÆs main scientific texts, including his work on physics, botany, comparative anatomy, and metereology. She critically examines his attempts to challenge the basic tenets of Newtonian and Cartesian science and to found a new natural philosophy. In individual chapters devoted to different key principles, she reveals how this natural philosophy—which questions rationalism, the quantitative approach to scientific inquiry, strict gender categories, and the possibility of scientific objectivity—illuminates GoetheÆs standing as both a precursor and critic of modernity.Tantillo does not presuppose prior knowledge of Goethe or science, and carefully avoids an overreliance on specialized jargon. This makes The Will to Create accessible to a wide audience, including philosophers, historians of science, and literary theorists, as well as general readers.

272 Pages, 6 x 9 in.

November, 2011

isbn : 9780822961451

about the author

Astrida Orle Tantillo

Astrida Orle Tantillo, associate professor of Germanic Studies at the University of IllinoisÐChicago, is the author of Goethe’s Elective Affinities and the Critics.

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Astrida Orle Tantillo