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History, Metaphors, FablesA Hans Blumenberg Reader$
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Hans Blumenberg

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501732829

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501732829.001.0001

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Moments of Goethe

Moments of Goethe


(p.531) 22 Moments of Goethe
History, Metaphors, Fables

Hans Blumenberg

Cornell University Press

This chapter studies Hans Blumenberg's “Moments of Goethe” (1982). It focuses on Goethe, a writer Blumenberg especially cherished. In the genius period of Weimar, between Goethe's arrival and his clandestine departure for Italy, many things were possible, and “infinite” was a “universally recurring keyword.” Such insights into the jargon, into the contagiousness of the language of the avant-garde at the time, are granted to us only through rare and incidental sources. What came after infinity? It was recorded that Goethe's new favorite word is “clarity.” It is odd how little Goethe noticed in his old age that the activities of the Romantics around him, which he observed with contempt, were so similar to what he himself had practiced and spread during the genius period. He did not understand that “clarity” could not become the word of the youth because the surprising experience that “clarity” is necessary and exists presupposes an emergence from confusion and perplexity, and not the other way around.

Keywords:   Hans Blumenberg, Goethe, genius period, Weimar, jargon, language, Romantics

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