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Goethe's Conception of the World

Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib Document

Sketch of Rudolf Steiner lecturing at the East-West Conference in Vienna.

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Goethe's Conception of the World

Goethe's Conception: Foreword I



The outline of Goethe's world-conception attempted in this book, was a task which I undertook in the year 1897, with the object of giving a comprehensive presentation of what a prolonged study of Goethe's mental life had given me. The Foreword to the First Edition describes what I then conceived to be my aim. If I were to re-write this Foreword to-day I should in no way change its content, but only its style. As, however, I see no reason to make any essential alterations in the book, it would not seem right to speak in a different way about the feelings with which I published it twenty years ago. Neither my further studies of Goethean Literature since the publication, nor the results of recent scientific research have modified the thoughts expressed in the book. I do not think that I lack understanding of the great progress made by scientific research in the last twenty years; neither do I think that this progress affords any ground for speaking of Goethe's world-conception at the present time in a sense other than I did in 1897. What I said at that time about the relation of Goethe's world-conception to the then current ideas of Nature, appears to me also to hold good in reference to the Natural Science of our day. The form of my book would in no way differ if I had written it now. The only thing which distinguishes the new edition from the old is the fact that I have elaborated several passages and made certain additions which seemed to me important.

In the Afterword to this new edition I have referred to the fact that what I have for sixteen years been publishing about Spiritual Science has not in any way induced me to make any essential alterations in the contents of this book.


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