Georg Forster

Georg Forster

Between Freedom and the Force of Nature

301 pages

Hardcover

Genre: Nonfiction, Nature, Politics, Biography
The vivid and captivating portrait of an exceptional life

Georg Forster (1754–1794) was one of the most fascinating figure of his century: a brilliant writer, natural scientist, explorer, painter, translator and a revolutionary. He touched icebergs with his own hands during his circumnavigation around the globe with James Cook, strolled around Tahiti‘s beach, visited indigenous people, lived among “cannibals” and crossed oceans and the equator. Even more: he was a central part of the political events of his time when, inspired by the French Revolution, he proclaimed the “Republic of Mainz” in 1793, the first republic on German ground.

No one before (and after) him has dedicated himself to such an experiment, to hot-wire nature and politics in such a matter. The sparks that were created by his general principles illuminated the world for an instant and raised hope for the possibility of something like “natural revolutions”.

Awards

Leipzig Book Fair Prize 2016 / Gleim Literature Prize 2015

German title: Georg Forster - Zwischen Freiheit und Naturgewalt
ISBN: 978-3-95757-090-1
Publisher: Matthes & Seitz Berlin
Publication date: 2015
Sold to:

United Kingdom, United States

Jürgen Goldstein, born 1962, is a full professor for Philosophy at the University Koblenz-Landau. Inspired by Hans Blumenberg his studies explore the genesis and the profil of the modern age. His books deal with the emergence of modern subjectivity and rationality, the political philosophy of 20th century and the history of nature perception.

By the same author(s)

»A rich and captivating book, which lets it's main figure do the talking in many wisely chosen quotes. Goldstein's most important merit is to present Forster as a thinker, so the two main parts of his biography - circumnavigation of the globe and revolution - become reasonable for the first time.«
Gustav Seibt, Süddeutsche Zeitung

»How Forster's way of thinking hot-wired the two key concepts of his epoch - nature and revolution - is impressively traced back by Goldstein: in a grippingly lucid style and, whereever possible, preserving the ›treasure of the exact wording‹ by quotations from Forster's diaries, letters and works.«
Oliver Pfohlmann, Neue Zürcher Zeitung 

»Die Revolution ist für Forster keine Kopfgeburt, sondern ein Naturereignis, eine ›Selbstentzündung der Vernunft‹. Sie waltet als Schicksal noch über der Freiheit und macht uns ›genau so unabhängig wie den Schachkönig‹. Diesen Zusammenhang einer ›natürlichen Revolution‹ aus Forsters Natur- und Menschenkunde entwickelt zu haben ist Goldsteins nicht geringes Verdienst.«
Alexander Kosenina, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

»Goldstein geht es um die Erfahrungslebenslehre, um die ambivalente Natur- und Geschichtsphilosophie Forsters vor dem Hintergrund der anthropologischen Debatten seiner Zeit. Es gelingen Goldstein immer wieder verblüffende Seitenblicke. Er zeigt uns keinen heroisch Gescheiterten, sondern einen Erfahrungsdenker, der ›das Eismeer der Geschichte‹, wie Theodor Lessing es nannte, eben so kühn wie stoisch durchfahren hat.«
Benedikt Erenz, Die Zeit

»Spannend und mit ausführlichen Zitaten schildert Goldstein Forsters grosse Reise, deren Eindrücke und Strapazen ihn ein Leben lang begleiten sollten.«
Janika Gelinek, Neue Zürcher Zeitung