GU4345: Goethe and the Sciences | O. Simons

Comparative Literature
Undergraduate and Graduate Seminar
W 2:10-4PM

Goethe’s writings in the natural sciences are amazingly extensive. This course will discuss his most important scientific writings within their epistemological context. Each Goethe text will be analyzed in relation to scientific discourses of his time.

This course is also conceived as a more general introduction to theoretical perspectives on the intersections of literature and science. In our close readings we will examine how scientific concepts and ideals such as exactitude, objectivity, or the experiment play comparable roles in Goethe’s literary poetics. Instead of seeing literature and the sciences as delimited disciplines, we will instead scrutinize their a priori assumptions: the poeticization of knowledge, and literature as a form of knowing. In addition, we will study several theoretical texts and discourses as a potential toolbox for interdisciplinary inquiries in the humanities. This course thus also serves as a general introduction to some of the most influential theoretical reflections on literature and science.

Link to Vergil
Note: only courses offered during the two previous semesters have active Vergil links.