Full text: Zeitungsausschnitte über Werke von Herman Grimm: Goethe

E5F American 1 eaders and students of Goethe's works 
v> ill esteem it a boon to have presented to them Her 
man Giirums lectures on 77e Life and Times of 
Goethe in so admirable a translation us that which 
Hiss Sarah Holland Adams has made, and which 
Messrs. Little, Brown & Co. publish in a substantial 
volume. 1 hese twenty-five lectures present the most 
thoughtful, symmetrical and well-considered account 
of the great pout which has yet been given us. They 
are psychological and philosophic as well as literary 
mid historic in tiieir scope and temper, and they treat 
Hie subject not merely as a commanding and creative 
Intellect, but as an important phenomenon in the his 
tory of human development. The author acknowl 
edges his indebtedness to Mr. Emerson for the 
suggestion of the historic view of Goethe, 
and the translator dedicates her own share of the 
work to Mr. Emerson, In acknowledgment of his rela 
tions with the author, his friendship for translators 
and translations, and his intellectual influence. The 
nuther considers Goethe’s life as divided into two pe 
riods—the Frankfort period, from mil to 17T(i, and 
the Weimar period, from 177Ö to 1832. The second 
period lie again divides into two epochs, separated by 
the journey to Italy, and lie proceeds to connect the 
incidents of Goethe’s life with his principal works as 
they appeared in the course of the three epochs, thus 
following the natural divisions of his life and the prog 
ress of Ills works. The material for the study of 
Goethe’s life lie dh Lies into two parts—his own ao- 
count and the testimony of others; and in both de 
partments he finds an abundance of it. The volume 
5s profoundly interesting, and although the translator 
speaks depyccatingly of her work and asks especial 
charity for its defects, we are of the opinion that most 
readers will agree that her rendering" is a very faith 
ful one. 
Mrs. Sarah Holland Adams has translated with 
great fluency and apparently with close conscien 
tiousness this remarkable work of Herman Grimm on 
the great German master; and the result lies before 
us in a richly printed and fascinating volume. A let 
ter from Grimm Is prefixed to the book, expressing 
entire approval of the translator’s labors, and mak 
ing cordial acknowledgement of the author’s indebt 
edness to Emerson. “Although 1 grew up lu the 
study of Goethe,” says Herr Grimm, “and had had 
much Intercourse with those who have known him 
personally, I am indebted to Emerson for the histori 
cal view of Goethe which taught me to regard him as 
the great phenomenon in the universal development 
of mankind.” Some may gainsay the extreme enthu 
siasm of this profound Goethe student; but we rather 
rejoice that Goethe is one of the few themes on which 
the denying spirit of the present permits enthusiasm, 
and that the author of this volume has availed him 
self of that privilege to the full. The book is com 
posed of lectures, and eminently adapted for popular 
reading. The events of the life are taken up in their 
order, and the discussion of the works introduced 
naturally In the periods of their production. Then at 
the end follow’s a very interesting estimate of Goethe 
as a student of natural science and as a politician, 
with a study of Faust. What Grimm says of the 
great German as a scientific investigator is especially 
fresh and well worth perusal. Ho claims for him an 
anticipation of Darwin, and, on Agassiz’s authority, 
the first intimation of the glacial epoch. We also 
commend the portion preceding this, in regard to the 
Elective Affinities, which the critic explains on the 
largest principles of sympathetic insight, in a manner 
to surprise the most orthodox with the soundness of 
the conclusion arrived at in Goethe’s own mind. All 
the lectures are written In the most charming manner, 
with the inspiration of deep study and quick appre 
ciation, and wdtli the ready illustrative power sup 
plied by wide knowledge and a keen practical intelli 
gence. So important a work, however, needs little 
introduction and less praise. [Little, Brown & Com 
pany, publishers; Boston.]

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