Carl Krockel

photo neededIn human chemistry, Carl Krockel (c.1980-) is an English German-cultures scholar noted for []

In 2007, Krockel published his D.H. Lawrence and Germany: the Politics of Influence, the final version of his PhD disseration, wherein he gives a fairly decent synopsis of the interrelationship and influence of German polymath Johann Goethe’s 1809 Elective Affinities (Die Wahlverwandtschaften) on George Elliot, George Lewes, and Georg Lukacs, the key discussion of which is as follows: [1]

“German culture played a dominate role in George Eliot’s life, beginning with her shift from Evangelicism to free-thought when she studied German historical criticism of the Bible in the 1840s. Her lover George Lewes acknowledge her contribution to his analysis of Die Wahlverwandtschaften in his pioneering biography of Goethe and The Mill on the Floss shares similar scenes to those in Goethe’s novel. George Eliot may be thinking about Die Wahlverwandtschaften in parts of her 1855 article ‘The Morality of Wilhelm Meister’, where she describes how Goethe ‘quietly follows the steam of fact and of life; and waits patiently for the moral processes of nature as we all do for her maternal process.’ George Eliot’s appraisal of Goethe as ‘the man who helps us to raise to a lofty point of observation, so that we may see things in their relative proportions’ [see: advanced perspective] is comparable to Georg Lukacs’s characterization of Goethe’s ‘consistently thought-out systemization of these relationships, contrasts and nuances, and his ability to transform all these features into a vivid plot with can characterize them’. For Lukacs, in the plot of Die Wahlverwandtschaften Goethe comes closest to the designs of the nineteenth-century realist novel, of which Middlemarch is the supreme example.

The chemical theory [see: human chemical theory] is the structural backbone of Goethe and George Eliot’s realism. Chemicals are only electively affined when their attraction excludes other chemicals. In his narrative Goethe uses the framework of two pairs of lovers, whose attraction to different aspects of each other reveals their psychological ‘properties’. Eduard and Charlotte are married, having known each other since childhood; the Hauptmann arrives, and links up with Eduard in their horticultural plans while excluding Charlotte for being too fanciful. Charlotte is satisfied by the arrival of the childlike Ottilie, and is also finding her own measured nature in affinity with the Hauptmann’s. Meanwhile, Ottilie appeals to Eduard’s childlike side, but the Hauptmann finds her ideas disturbing. And so the narrative continues.

In Middlemarch George Eliot systematically elaborates on what Goethe only suggests in Die Wahlverwandtschaften, since each of her four characters is also bound to wider social relationships through affinity.”

Interestingly, Krockel also notes that English novelist and literary critic D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930) was “certainly aware of Goethe’s theory of affinities, if only through reading of Ernst Haeckel’s account of it in The Riddle of the Universe” and argues that Haeckel’s pantheism helped Lawrence break from his Christian upbringing, for a monism based on the material universe. The Lukacs work mentioned above, to note, seems to be his 1968 Goethe and His Age.

Krockel completed his PhD, with a dissertation on “D.H. Lawrence and Germany: the Politics of Influence”, at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom; which was published by Rodopi in book format in 2007. Krockel taught at the University of East Anglia, and was a visiting professor at Seoul National University, South Korea. He is currently working on a book on contemporary poetry and global politics.

1. Krockel, Carl. (2007). D.H. Lawrence and Germany: the Politics of Influence (pgs. 21-22). Rodopi.

External links
Krockel, Carl – WorldCat Identities.
Carl Krockel – Facebook.

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