Goethe’s Faust and the Ecolinguistics of <Here>

  • Simon Richter
Part of the Literatures, Cultures, and the Environment book series (LCE)


Scholarship now understands that Goethe’s Faust is not a celebration of modernity, but rather its critique. Faust’s striving comes at a cost measured in human lives, shattered economies, failing empires, territorial wars, and environmental degradation. What was understood as the vision of a free republic of the Faustian spirit is now seen as Goethe’s critique of capitalism, colonialism, and technology. If Goethe does not champion Faust as the modern individual, does he offer an alternative? This chapter argues that we can discern in Faust an ecolinguistic conception of an ego that diminishes in response to an awareness of nature, history, and geological time. Karl Bühler’s model of the “here-now-I system of subjective orientation” provides a new way of thinking about place that is already instantiated in Goethe’s Faust.


Anthropogenic Climate Change German Tradition Land Reclamation Project Deep History Colonial Empire 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon Richter
    • 1
  1. 1.University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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