When one considers that Goethe's diaries extend to 11 volumes, his letters to 49, his literary work to 53, and his scientific to 13, Goethe's life is one of the most promising for the study of genius. It does seem inappropriate with this mass of data that Goethe's life had not earlier been an object of psychoanalytic inquiry. Dr. Eissler weaves a beautiful psychological fabric in which the significant persons, vicissitudes, and creative products of Goethe are unified into a dazzling picture.
The study is based on four parts. In Part I Goethe attempts to be of assistance to Plessing, who is in need of help. However, his conflicts, centering around his sister, Cornelia, and his friend, Lenz, result in his acting out his problems and rejecting this young man. This material is the backdrop for Part II, which deals with his relationship with Charlotte von Stein. This relationship was