ISBN-10:
0262013096
ISBN-13:
9780262013093
Pub. Date:
09/11/2009
Publisher:
MIT Press
The Metamorphosis of Plants

The Metamorphosis of Plants

by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Gordon L. Miller

Hardcover

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Overview

Goethe's influential text, newly illustrated with stunning color photographs.

The Metamorphosis of Plants , published in 1790, was Goethe's first major attempt to describe what he called in a letter to a friend “the truth about the how of the organism. ” Inspired by the diversity of flora he found on a journey to Italy, Goethe sought a unity of form in diverse structures. He came to see in the leaf the germ of a plant's metamorphosis—“the true Proteus who can hide or reveal himself in all vegetal forms”—from the root and stem leaves to the calyx and corolla, to pistil and stamens. With this short book—123 numbered paragraphs, in the manner of the great botanist Linnaeus—Goethe aimed to tell the story of botanical forms in process, to present, in effect, a motion picture of the metamorphosis of plants. This MIT Press edition of The Metamorphosis of Plants illustrates Goethe's text (in an English translation by Douglas Miller) with a series of stunning and starkly beautiful color photographs as well as numerous line drawings. It is the most completely and colorfully illustrated edition of Goethe's book ever published. It demonstrates vividly Goethe's ideas of transformation and interdependence, as well as the systematic use of imagination in scientific research—which influenced thinkers ranging from Darwin to Thoreau and has much to teach us today about our relationship with nature.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262013093
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 09/11/2009
Series: The MIT Press
Pages: 156
Sales rank: 492,290
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), a towering figure in German literature, was the author of The Sorrows of Young Werther, Faust, Italian Journey, The Theory of Colours (MIT Press edition, 1970), and many other works.

Gordon L. Miller teaches in the History Department and is Director of the interdisciplinary Environmental Studies Program at Seattle University.

What People are Saying About This

Henri Bortoft

Goethe would be delighted with this edition of The Metamorphosis of Plants. It does what he hoped would eventually become possible and provides pictures situated in the text of all the plants to which he refers, so that we can see for ourselves the specific points to which he is drawing our attention. Reading it, I felt that here at last is the complete book, compared to which all previous publications of it seem like only a skeleton. Thanks to Gordon Miller's wonderful photography and careful selection of images, as well as his perceptive introduction, we can now all appreciate the extraordinary nature of Goethe's achievement. We can only be astonished at the detailed and painstaking observational work, together with the overall vision of the idea of metamorphosis, which biology today recognizes as the truth of the plant. This welcome edition makes Goethe's work more widely available than ever before, both for those who have not yet had the opportunity to read it, and for those who have read it, to read it again as if for the first time.

Endorsement

Goethe would be delighted with this edition of The Metamorphosis of Plants. It does what he hoped would eventually become possible and provides pictures situated in the text of all the plants to which he refers, so that we can see for ourselves the specific points to which he is drawing our attention. Reading it, I felt that here at last is the complete book, compared to which all previous publications of it seem like only a skeleton. Thanks to Gordon Miller's wonderful photography and careful selection of images, as well as his perceptive introduction, we can now all appreciate the extraordinary nature of Goethe's achievement. We can only be astonished at the detailed and painstaking observational work, together with the overall vision of the idea of metamorphosis, which biology today recognizes as the truth of the plant. This welcome edition makes Goethe's work more widely available than ever before, both for those who have not yet had the opportunity to read it, and for those who have read it, to read it again as if for the first time.

Henri Bortoft, author of The Wholeness of Nature and Goethe's Scientific Consciousness

From the Publisher

Goethe would be delighted with this edition of The Metamorphosis of Plants . It does what he hoped would eventually become possible and provides pictures situated in the text of all the plants to which he refers, so that we can see for ourselves the specific points to which he is drawing our attention. Reading it, I felt that here at last is the complete book, compared to which all previous publications of it seem like only a skeleton. Thanks to Gordon Miller's wonderful photography and careful selection of images, as well as his perceptive introduction, we can now all appreciate the extraordinary nature of Goethe's achievement. We can only be astonished at the detailed and painstaking observational work, together with the overall vision of the idea of metamorphosis, which biology today recognizes as the truth of the plant. This welcome edition makes Goethe's work more widely available than ever before, both for those who have not yet had the opportunity to read it, and for those who have read it, to read it again as if for the first time.

Henri Bortoft , author of The Wholeness of Nature and Goethe's Scientific Consciousness

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The Metamorphosis of Plants 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Ant-G 3 months ago
First and foremost, an excellent rating is really being applied to this book because of its overall edition and its special additions that were made possible by Gordon L. Miller. He provided a unique introduction that brought about a great overall comprehension as to what Goethe was trying to accomplish in writing "The Metamorphosis of Plants." In addition, Gordon shows many beautiful photographs of flowers and plants with astounding colors that make the reading come alive. This edition is fantastic for providing the level of hardcover quality especially considering it is printed and bound in Italy, and the text itself by Goethe is extremely mind opening philosophically and scientifically. What also makes this book enjoyable and interesting is that Goethe is explaining how nature specifically in plants that there seems to be an overall metamorphosis which in return generates this idea that life seems to already have a blueprint instilled within itself, and from this idea comes about the connection to understanding nature in its philosophical existence; and also how science is incorporated in it as well. The parts becoming the whole, but understanding the whole from the parts. I highly recommend this book to be read especially for those who wish to understand the Earth even more, and to become closer to nature realizing how we ourselves are a part of it as well; even though many individuals in my opinion do not realize it entirely.