Nicholas Boyle

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Nicholas Boyle



Nicholas Boyle is Schröder Professor of German Emeritus at the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow and former President of Magdalene College.

Average rating: 3.74 · 214 ratings · 28 reviews · 17 distinct worksSimilar authors
German Literature: A Very S...

3.44 avg rating — 98 ratings — published 2008 — 8 editions
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Goethe: The Poet and the Ag...

4.44 avg rating — 39 ratings — published 1991 — 4 editions
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Goethe: Faust Part One

3.68 avg rating — 37 ratings — published 1986 — 2 editions
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Goethe: The Poet and the Ag...

4.42 avg rating — 19 ratings — published 2000 — 3 editions
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Who Are We Now: Christian H...

3.14 avg rating — 7 ratings — published 2000 — 4 editions
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2014: How to Survive the Ne...

3.60 avg rating — 5 ratings — published 2010 — 5 editions
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Sacred and Secular Scriptur...

3.40 avg rating — 5 ratings — published 2004 — 3 editions
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Goethe and the English Spea...

liked it 3.00 avg rating — 2 ratings — published 2002
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Realism in European Literat...

really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 1 rating — published 1986 — 2 editions
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Religion (The Impact of Ide...

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liked it 3.00 avg rating — 1 rating — published 2013 — 4 editions
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More books by Nicholas Boyle…
Goethe: The Poet and the Ag... Goethe: The Poet and the Ag...
(2 books)
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4.43 avg rating — 58 ratings

Philosophy and Natural Scie... Historical, Social and Poli... Aesthetics and Literature Religion
(4 books)
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liked it 3.00 avg rating — 1 rating

“Renunciation, The Natural Daughter demonstrates, is the act of those who believe that their happiness is dependent on a power beyond their control which happens at a particular time, and for reasons which they cannot penetrate, not to permit them fulfilment, and this is the fundamental reason for Goethe's imperviousness to philosophies of history which do not acknowledge either the inscrutability of fate or the contingency of circumstance.

The image of perfect beauty for Goethe is permanently recoverable, provided only that fate and circumstances are favourable, for they are the powers that direct the real world, in which alone fulfilment is worth having.

Renunciation is the silence that acknowledges the absence from reality of the Ideal, and it may be interrupted only by the poem that celebrates the epiphany for which even the hope may not be uttered.

Conversely, poems, being all of them occasional poems, and expressing delight in a glimpse of beauty recovered, thanks to favourable circumstances, are an emblem, or 'talisman', of a 'counter÷magic which works against the hostility of fate.

Bitter though the disappointments of life may be for a noble nature, a poem expresses the miracle of a moment in which the Ideal enters reality once more and the powers that rule the world take on, however fleetingly, the constellation they had in paradise. In the poems he has still to write, Goethe can hope to glimpse again what he has renounced and take once more the road to Italy.”
Nicholas Boyle

“A young man who insists that his mother should lay out three separate sets of clothes every morning for him to take his choice at his leisure is unlikely to be popular in any century.”
Nicholas Boyle, Goethe: The Poet and the Age, Volume 1: The Poetry of Desire, 1749-1790

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