In 2004 Ettore Ghibellino published his provocative thesis that Goethe's beloved was not Charlotte von Stein but the Dowager Duchess, Anna Amalia. Ghibellino claimed that Charlotte, the former lady-in-waiting of Anna Amalia, acted as a 'straw woman' and that the many letters, and the love they expressed, were really meant for Anna Amalia herself. Dan Farrelly, who translated Ghibellino's book, has been preoccupied with this thesis since 2005. Here he has undertaken a meticulous re-reading of Goethe's letters to Charlotte von Stein from 1776 to 1786. He analyses the whereabouts of Charlotte and Anna Amalia at any given time, including their journeys, and concludes that Charlotte was the real addressee of the letters. This amounts to a refutation of one of Ghibellino's central arguments. This book is to be recommended as a further contribution to discussion of Goethe's early Weimar period. -Ilse Nagelschmidt, Leipzig Although the image of Goethe in the popular imagination is quite different from the scholarly reception of Goethe's life and work, the two worlds do cross over, and misconceptions about the poet are difficult to dispel once they become established in contemporary Goethean culture. In tackling Ghibellino's recent misreading of Goethe's relationship with Anna Amalia-which has recently merited attention in Die Zeit-Farrelly is able to give the high cultural and the colloquial equal credence. His combination of scholarship and a fundamental awareness of the plain sense of things has an intellectual hardness at its core. There is an unapologetic quality about Farrelly's writing and a deep sense of intellectual responsibility and integrity. -Lorraine Byrne Bodley, Dublin
About the Author: Dan Farrelly was Lecturer in German at University College Dublin from 1968 to 1995, and Director of the UCD Drama Studies Centre from 1995 to 1999. He has lectured on Goethe in South Africa, Canada, the US, Germany and England. His publications include Goethe and Inner Harmony (1973); Schone Seele Studies: Essays on Goethe (1978); Goethe in East Germany, 1949-1989: Towards A History of Goethe Reception in the GDR (1998); and Goethe and Anna Amalia: A Forbidden Love? (trans.) (2007). Translations include Goethe's Urfaust (1999); Iphigenie auf Tauris (Under the Curse) (2000); Buchner's Woyzeck (2004); Josef Pieper's Goethes Schweigen (2010); The Platonic Myths (2011); and two more translations of Pieper's work (forthcoming, St Augustine's Press, Indiana).