Karl Knebel

Karl KnebeIn hmolscience, Karl Knebel (1744-1834) was a German poet noted for []

Knebel’s translations of LucretiusOn the Nature of Things (De Rerum Natura) (2 vols, 1821) have been praised.

Knebel and Goethe were intimate friends, since their first acquaintance. Knebel, as a former tutor of Grand Duke Karl August—who appointed Goethe a member of the privy council in 1776 and later Minister of State—was the person who had brought Goethe to Weimar.

Little girls | Comment
On 7 Feb 1810, a famously cryptic dialogue interaction took place between Knebel and Goethe, about what he thought of Elective Affinities, the dialogue of which, as reported by as reported by Karl Ense (1843) is as follows, as summarized by Astrida Tantillo (2001): [1]

Goethe: “What did you think of Elective Affinities?”

Knebel: “I couldn’t stomach it.”

Goethe: “I did not write the book for you, but for young girls.”

Alternatively, as reported by Reginald Hollingdale (1971), after Knebel started making moral objections to the novel, Goethe exploded: [2]

Goethe: “But I didn’t write it for you, I wrote it for little girls!”

The original German version, from Heinze Hartl (1983) is as follows: [4]

Ant wortete Knebel: “Nimm es nicht ubel, lieber Freund, ich kann sie nicht verdauen.”

Goethe antwortete: “Ich habe sie auch nicht fur Dich, sondern fur die Madchen geschrieben, und verdenke es Dir nicht.”
Replied Knebel: “Do not take it amiss, dear friend, I can not digest it.”

Goethe said, “I have written it not for you, but for the girls, and blame is not you.”

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Little girl reading (Goethe comment)
Sketch (Ѻ) of a little girl, reading about frogs, retouched with the famous 1810 Goethe-Knebel dialogue on who Goethe claimed to have written Elective Affinities for, namely: for “die Madchen”, i.e. little girls (Hollingdale, 1971) or young women (Tantillo, 2001), translation depending.

English-born translator and Nietzschean scholar Reginald Hollingdale reasoned that Goethe made this statement ‘to assert that the book is altogether wholesome and romantic and that only a moralizing old man could find anything in it to object to’. [2]

In 1887, Friedrich Nietzsche noted Goethe’s admiration for Spinoza, by citing Goethe’s 11 Nov 1784 letter to Knebel. (Ѻ)

The following are related quotes:

Goethe’s statement that he wrote Elective Affinities for ‘young girls’ (as reported by Varnhagen von Ense, pg. 321), is one of the many cryptic comments made by Goethe. It is highly likely, according to Thims’ point of view, that Goethe wrote Elective Affinities, for young girls, as he says, for the same reason that Human Chemistry (a modern day Elective Affinities) was written, i.e. ‘for a young person 7-15 years of age’; namely that in Goethe’s time, as is the case presently, no one teaches a young person how the world really is. Moreover, past a certain age, people, on average, will no longer be malleable to correct teachings. As such, Goethe invariably wrote Elective Affinities so that young, un-biased, girls (persons) might know how the world really is, namely a [physico]-chemical one.”
— Libb Thims (2007), Human Chemistry (Volume Two) [3]

1. (a) Ense, Karl. (1843). "Diary Entry", Jun 28; in: Karl August Varnhagen von Ense Werke. 5 vols. Frankfurt: Keutscher Kalssiker verlag, 1994. 5:320-21; quote, pg. 321; in: Goethes Werke. Ed. erich Trunz. 14 vols. Hamburg: Christian Wenger Verlag, 1949-71. Reissued 13th Ed., Munich: Verlag C. H. Beck., 6:641.
(b) Tantillo, Astrida O. (2001). Goethe's Elective Affinities and the Critics (§Unpublished Comments, pgs. 7-12; §Negative Reviews and Responses, pgs. 12-26; Knebel, 8+ pgs). Camden House.
(c) Thims, Libb. (2007). Human Chemistry (Volume Two) (N8, pg. 704). Morrisville, NC: LuLu.
2. (a) Hollingdale, Reginald. (1971). “Introduction” (pg. 14), in: Elective Affinities (by Johann Goethe) (chronology and further reading by David Deissner). Penguin, 2005.
(b) Thims, Libb. (2007). Human Chemistry (Volume Two) (N8, pg. 704). Morrisville, NC: LuLu.
3. Thims, Libb. (2007). Human Chemistry (Volume Two) (N8, pg. 704). Morrisville, NC: LuLu.
4. Hartl, Heinz. (1983). Elective Affinities: a Documentation of the Effect of Goethe’s Novel 1808-1832 (Die Wahlverwandtschaften: Eine Dokumentation der Wirkung von Goethes Roman 1808-1832) (verdauen, pg. 56; 171, 394). Weinheim: Acta Humaniora.

External links
Karl Ludwig von Knebel – Wikipedia.

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