Heidegger Studies

Volume 39, 2023

In memoriam Friedrich-Wilhelm von Hermann (1934-2022)

Alberto Merzari
Pages 11-38

Sulle soglie dell’apparente: l’ultimo Heidegger (1950–1976) lettore di Goethe

The relevance of J.W. Goethe to Heidegger’s thinking still needs to be fully assessed: this is particularly true for the phase of Heidegger’s Denkweg following 1950, when by his own admission he started to re-valuate Goethe. The aim of this paper is to reconsider the late Heidegger’s (1950–1976) reading of Goethe in light of two recently published witnesses: 1) a brief comment on a few lines of Goethe’s Pandora in Notturno I (1954–1957) and 2) the selection of the manuscript Vermächtnis der Seinsfrage, issued as the 2011/12 Jahresgabe of the Martin-Heidegger-Gesellschaft under the title Auszüge zur Phänomenologie (1973–1975). After briefly recalling the events connected to the revaluation of Goethe in the 1950s (§1) as well as the altogether minimizing interpretations which have been given to it so far (§2), an attempt is made to demonstrate that the late Heidegger indeed experienced a growing connection to Goethe, notably as far as his way of seeing the phenomena is concerned. The paper first deals with Notturno I (§2a), where Goethe is judged to be to some extent sensible to the a-lethic movement of the Event, and then moves to the Auszüge (§2b), where Heidegger’s reformulation of phenomenology in terms of Phänomenophasis coincides with a new confrontation with Goethe’s Farbenlehre and in particular with Goethe’s notion of Urphänomen.