'Wilhelm Layer: Confessions Of A Beautiful Soul'

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TUBERCULOSIS After three years of university training, Goethe experienced a massive bleeding episode during the night. His recovery period lasted one and a half years. Encoded in memory, this experience is recalled in “Wilhelm Meister” (1795-6) in Book Six of Volume Two. “Confessions of a Beautiful Soul” A woman speaks. ”I had a hemorrhage at the start of my eighth year.” And “During the nine months that I was confines to bed…” (Page 135) Look for these remembered elements in the Goethe quote below. Art was here shaped by memory. Though “The song is ended, the memory lingers on”. (Goethe kindle loc 4914) “One night, I awoke with a violent hemorrhage, and had just strength and presence of mind enough to awaken my next-room neighbor [a doctor…show more content…
A loud sound was disagreeable to me, diseased objects awakened in me loathing and horror. But I was especially troubled with a giddiness which came over me every time I looked down from a height. All these infirmities I tried to remedy, and, indeed, as I wished to lose no time, in a somewhat violent way. In the evening, when they beat the tattoo, I went near the multitude of drums, the powerful rolling and beating of which might have made one's heart burst in one's bosom. All alone I ascended the highest pinnacle of the minster spire, and sat in what is called the neck, under the nob or crown, for a quarter of an hour, before I would venture to step out again into the open air, where, standing upon a platform scarce an ell square, without any particular holding, one sees the boundless prospect before; while the nearest objects and ornaments conceal the church, and every thing upon and above which one stands. It is exactly as if one saw one's self carried up into the air in a balloon. Such troublesome and painful sensations I repeated until the impression became quite indifferent to me; and I have since then derived great…show more content…
His father had used a similar suppressive approach in dealing with his children’s night fears. After one and a half years Goethe took and failed his final exams. Instead of a doctorate in law, he was given a license to practice law. He went then observe the working of law courts there. Befriended by the young Duke of Weimar, he became a diplomat, a “von” and began to devote himself to poetry and literature. He wrote “Werther” and “Gotz”. Fame followed. By this time, Goethe was in his mid-twenties. Thenceforth there are no available reports relating to long periods of inanition or neurotic fears or serious emotional episodes. Latent fantasies found form in his literary

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