Rabea Kleymann

Formlose Form
Epistemik und Poetik des Aggregats beim späten Goethe
[Formless Form. Epistemics and Poetics of the Aggregate in Goethe's Late Works]

Wilhelm Fink, Leiden 2021, 279 pages
ISBN 978-3-7705-6643-3 (Print); 978-3-8467-6643-9 (PDF)

As a figure of reflection, the aggregate opens up new interpretive perspectives on the discourse of form in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s late work. With the aggregate, the book introduces a non-organicist principle of form which not only challenges established interpretive approaches in Goethe studies. These readings of the late works on the natural sciences, especially on morphology, as well as of the West-Eastern Divan, Wilhelm Meister’s Journeyman Years, and Faust: The Second Part of the Tragedy rather allow for new reflections on Goethe’s theory of forms. Taking the crisis of systems thinking around 1800 as a starting point, representations of diversity, heterogeneity, and incommensurability are discussed through the lens of the aggregate. This uncovers a common morphological deep structure that connects nature studies and poetics and ultimately offers a different view on aesthetic forms.


“The pleasure of a dissertation like the Formlose Form is that it brings the vastness of interests and the brilliance of scholarship before us and adds its own sparkle to mix.”
Helmut Müller-Sievers, Germanic Review 97.3 (2022)

Bücher im Gespräch

Episode 9: Formfragen

For our podcast, Rabea Kleymann and Eva Geulen talked about their books Formlose Form [Formless Form] (Wilhelm Fink 2021), Aus dem Leben der Form [On the Life of Form] (Wallstein 2021), and Formen des Ganzen [Forms of the Whole] (Wallstein 2022). [in German]

Media Response

28 Jun 2023
Formlose Form. Epistemik und Poetik des Aggregats beim späten Goethe

Review by Sebastian Meixner, in: Zeitschrift für Deutsche Philologie (ZfDPh) 2 (2023), 300–304

01 Oct 2022
Formlose Form. Epistemik und Poetik des Aggregats beim späten Goethe

Review by Helmut Müller-Sievers, in: Germanic Review: Literature, Culture, Theory 97.3 (2022), 292–293