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Plot[ edit ] The book is situated around the city of Weimar. The decision to invite Ottilie and the Captain is described as an "experiment" and this is exactly what it is. The house and its surrounding gardens are described as "a chemical retort in which the human elements are brought together for the reader to observe the resulting reaction.
Goethe used this as an organizing metaphor for marriageand for the conflict between responsibility and passion. In the book, people are described as chemical species whose amorous affairs and relationships were pre-determined via chemical affinities]] similar to the pairings of alchemical species.
Goethe outlined the view that passion, marriage, conflict, and free will are all subject to the laws of chemistry and in which the lives of human species are regulated no differently from the lives of chemical species. The first marriages, for both Eduard and Charlotte, are described as having been marriages of financial convenience, essentially arranged marriages.
Specifically, when they were younger, Eduard was married off to a rich older woman through the workings and insatiable greed of his father; Charlotte, likewise, when her prospects were none the best, was compelled or obliged to marry a wealthy man, whom she did not love.
Next, to explain the reaction, we are told: Imagine an A intimately united with a B, so that no force is able to sunder them; imagine a C likewise related to a D; now bring the two couples into contact: You, Charlotte, represent the A, and I represent your B; for in fact I do depend altogether on you and follow you as A is followed by B.
The C is quite obviously the Captain, who for the moment is to some extent drawing me away from you. Now it is only fair that, if you are not to vanish into the limitless air, you must be provided with a D, and this D is unquestionably the charming little lady Ottilie, whose approaching presence you may no longer resist.
Readers fiercely debate the role of the chemical theory of elective affinities presented in the novel. Some argue that it suggests a philosophy of nature that is rooted in fate. Others maintain that it is about free choice.
Others believe that the chemical theory is merely a structural device that allows the author to foreshadow events in the novel and bears no relevance to the greater issues of the novel. It is renowned as an exemplary instance of Benjamin subjecting his literary subject matter to a process of intensive dialectical mediation.
Typically, Benjamin locates this experience in art, which is, according to him, alone able, through mediation, to transcend the powers of myth. A description by Gordon Burgess can be found in German life and letters, April The play Arcadiaby British playwright Tom Stoppardis a modern-day remake of Elective Affinities, albeit with a twist.
It is one of his important early essays on German Romanticism. Abstract from the article that appears in Prometheus Did you know that you can help us produce ebooks by proof-reading just one page a day?
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Eine Analyse der Wahlverwandtschaften, die diesem Werk Dauer zuspricht, ist verpﬂichtet, die Wahrheit des Romans wenn nicht aus, so zumindest an seinen Realien, also philo 1 W. Benjamin, Goethes Wahlverwandtschaften. Walter Benjamin Wahlverwandtschaften Essay Help. Project MUSE – Character, Silence, and the Novel: Walter Character, Silence, and the Novel: Walter Benjamin Eduard hopes to help his capable friend the In the Wahlverwandtschaften essay, Benjamin explains and Elective Affinities – WikipediaFrom the time of its publication to today.
Goethes Wahlverwandtschaften (Goethe's Elective Affinities, ) Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels (The Origin of German Tragic Drama, ) Einbahnstraße (One Way Street, ) For Walter Benjamin – Documentation, Essays and a Sketch including: New Documents on Walter Benjamin's Death.
Walter Benjamin, (born July 15, , Berlin, Ger.—died Sept. 27?, , near Port-Bou, Spain), man of letters and aesthetician, now considered to have been the most important German literary critic in the first half of the 20th century.