Goethe (1784)
Metamorphosis of Plants 300px
Metamorphosis of Animals (German)Elective Affinities (1996) (s)
German polymath Johann Goethe's three part metamorphology treatise: discovery of the human intermaxillary bone (1784), "The Metamorphosis of Plants" (1790), "Metamorphosis of Animals" (1806), and Elective Affinities (1809), outlines his grand theory of the similarities of form, a unifying theory of chemical, plant, animal, and human existence and form change.
In science, metamorphosis, similar to transmutation, is the process of change or transformation to morphology.

Ovid | Goethe
In 8AD, Roman poet Ovid published his fifteen-part treatise Metamorphoses, describing the history of the world from its creation to modern times. [1]

American comparative literature scholar Stefani Engelstein argues that German polymath Johann Goethe's self-defined "best book", namely his 1809 Elective Affinities, is the icing on the cake of a three part grand treatise on metamorphosis in nature, being a modern extension of Ovid's treatise on the same.

Specifically, according to Engelstein, in the late 18th century, building on the Ovid’s ideas, term “metamorphosis” came to be anchored in the works of German polymath Johann Goethe—specifically his three part metamorphology treatise set: "The Metamorphosis of Plants" (1790), "Metamorphosis of Animals" (1806), and Elective Affinities (1809), or studies on the similarities of form. In a handwritten note to his Morphology, Goethe defines the subject as follows: [3]

“Form is a thing in motion, in the process of becoming, of passing away. The study of form is the study of transformation. The study of metamorphosis is the key to all the signs of nature.”

In 1883, Austrian philosopher, and the years thereabouts, Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner gave lectures on the origins of Goethe's metamorphology theory. [5]

In 2011, the American Goethe Society hosted a four-day conference on “Metamorphosis: Goethe and Change”, which involved a number of relevant presentations in regards to metamorphosis and Goethe’s Elective Affinities. [3]

The term “évolution” (French) was coined in by Swiss naturalist Charles Bonnet in circa 1760 used at the same time with his synonyms of “révolution and “métamorphose”, in the context of understanding development, nascent ideas on extinctions, and construction of a classification scheme in the great unbroken chain of being, as he saw things. [1] In this original linguistic sense, evolution has the following underlying etymological meaning:

évolution = révolution + métamorphose

Bonnet’s usage, over the next century, supposedly, was passed along through the works of French naturalist Jean Lamarck, whose work influenced English natural philosopher Herbert Spencer, whose terminology usage later was adopted by Charles Darwin for his theory of natural selection in 1872. [1]

The following are related quotes:

“Evolutionary theory was Goethean morphology running on geological time.”
— Robert J. Richards (2002) [4]

1. Metamorphoses – Wikipedia.
2. Engelstein, Stefani. (2008). Anxious Anatomy: the Conception of the Human Form in Literary and Naturalist Discourse (§Goethe’s Monstrous Otto, pgs. 26-30; Metamorphology, pgs. 28, 48-54; Elective Affinities or Chosen Correspondences, pgs. 55-60). SUNY Press.
3. Program – Conference: “Metamorphosis: Goethe and Change”, American Goethe Society.
4. (a) Richards, Robert J. (2002). The Romantic Conception of Life (pg. 407). University of Chicago Press.
(b) Miller, Gordon L. (2009). “Introduction”, in: The Metamorphosis of Plants (Johann Goethe) (pg. xxiv). MIT Press. \
5. (a) Steiner, Rudolf. (1883). “The Origin of Goethe’s Concept of Metamorphosis”, 30-page Lecture, part of “Nature’s Open Secret Collection, in: The Origin of Goethe’s Concept of Metamorphosis: Works 1 of 16 (§: The Origin of Goethe’s Concept of Metamorphosis, pg. #). Anthroposophic Press, 2000.
(b) Steiner, Rudolf. (1988). Goethean Science (§2: How Goethe’s Theory of Metamorphosis Arose). Spring Valley.

External links
‚óŹ Metamorphosis – Wikipedia.

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