Elective Affinities German : Die Wahlverwandtschaften , also translated under the title Kindred by Choice , is the third novel by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe , published in The title is taken from a scientific term once used to describe the tendency of chemical species to combine with certain substances or species in preference to others. The novel is based on the metaphor of human passions being governed or regulated by the laws of chemical affinity , and examines whether or not the science and laws of chemistry undermine or uphold the institution of marriage , as well as other human social relations. The book is situated around the city of Weimar. Goethe's main characters are Eduard and Charlotte, an aristocratic couple both in their second marriage, enjoying an idyllic but semi-dull life on the grounds of their rural estate. They invite the Captain, Eduard's childhood friend, and Ottilie, the beautiful, orphaned, coming-of-age niece of Charlotte, to live with them.
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Elective Affinities German : Die Wahlverwandtschaften , also translated under the title Kindred by Choice , is the third novel by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe , published in The title is taken from a scientific term once used to describe the tendency of chemical species to combine with certain substances or species in preference to others.
The novel is based on the metaphor of human passions being governed or regulated by the laws of chemical affinity , and examines whether or not the science and laws of chemistry undermine or uphold the institution of marriage , as well as other human social relations.
The book is situated around the city of Weimar. Goethe's main characters are Eduard and Charlotte, an aristocratic couple both in their second marriage, enjoying an idyllic but semi-dull life on the grounds of their rural estate. They invite the Captain, Eduard's childhood friend, and Ottilie, the beautiful, orphaned, coming-of-age niece of Charlotte, to live with them.
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. Elective Affinities is supposed to be the first work to model human relationships as chemical reactions or chemical processes since the aphorism of the classical Greek philosopher Empedocles : "people who love each other mix like water and wine; people who hate each other segregate like water and oil.
The term "elective affinities" is based on the older notion of chemical affinities. In the late 19th century, German sociologist Max Weber , who had read the works of Goethe at the age of 14, used Goethe's conception of human "elective affinities" to formulate a large part of sociology.
Goethe used this as an organizing metaphor for marriage , and 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.
In the novella, the central chemical reaction that takes place is a double displacement reaction double elective affinity , between a married couple Eduard and Charlotte BA , at the end of their first year of marriage for each their second marriage , and their two good friends the Captain and Ottilie CD , respectively. 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.
In the fourth chapter, the characters detail the world's first ever verbally-depicted human double displacement chemical reaction. The chapter begins with description of the affinity map reaction map or 'topographical chart' as Goethe calls it.
On this reaction map, we are told that on it 'the features of the estate and its surroundings were clearly depicted, on quite a large scale, in pen and in different colors, to which the Captain had give a firm basis by taking trigonometrical measurements'. From the time of its publication to today, Goethe's novel, Die Wahlverwandtschaften Elective Affinities , , has aroused a storm of interpretive confusion.
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.
This essay by Walter Benjamin , written around , was described by Austrian critic Hugo von Hoffmannsthal , as "absolutely incomparable". It is renowned as an exemplary instance of Benjamin subjecting his literary subject matter to a process of intensive dialectical mediation. In the essay, which attacks Goethe's prose style and intentions, Benjamin argues for the possibility of the transcendence of mythic thinking which he locates in the medium of Goethe's prose in favour of the possibility of an as yet unencountered and, in principle, unimaginable "freedom".
Typically, Benjamin locates this experience in art, which is, according to him, alone able, through mediation, to transcend the powers of myth. Francis Ford Coppola , in the grip of clinical manic depression and anxiety over his incomplete opus Apocalypse Now , and while purportedly under the influence of his girlfriend, screenwriter Melissa Mathison , proposed making a "ten-hour film version of Goethe's Elective Affinities , in 3D ". A description by Gordon Burgess can be found in German life and letters , April The play Arcadia , by British playwright Tom Stoppard , is a modern-day remake of Elective Affinities , albeit with a twist.
The play takes place in modern times and , Goethe's time; characters are replaced subtly, e. Robin Gordon's short story "Leaves in the Wind" adapts the story to modern England, with Edward and Charlotte as an academic couple. The film Sometime in August directed by Sebastian Schipper is loosely based on Goethe's novel and transposes the story to modern-day Germany.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the novel. For other uses, see Elective Affinities disambiguation. Elective Affinities Archived at the Wayback Machine. Abstract from the article that appears in Prometheus Oxford University Press. Bantam Books. Dobbs, The Foundation of Newton's Alchemy , also examined the role of the "mediator" by which two substances are made "sociable"; we may recall here the importance of the mediator in Goethe's Elective Affinities Engl.
Greenwood, For what concerns chemistry, Goethe was not far from Newton. Clark Jr, Nisbet, L Stahl, Stopp, — Zur Mythologie von Goethe's Wahlverwandtschaften ", Deutsche Viedrteljahrsschrift fur Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte , 56, 1— Goethe's Elective Affinities and the Critics. Camden House. Deutsches Filminstitut. Retrieved Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Dichtung und Wahrheit Italian Journey. Metamorphosis of Plants Theory of Colours colour wheel. Elective Affinities by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
Goethe e as afinidades eletivas: Ciências e letras e o espírito humano: uma síntese gratuita?
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As Afinidades Eletivas