The German Romantic Novalis called Baruch Spinoza a "God-intoxicated man." Next to Rousseau, there is hardly a more influential thinker for late 18th-century German intellectual life.
Spinoza's belief in the unity of nature and spirit, along with the unity of all that exists, was attractive to Lessing, Goethe, Hölderlin, Novalis, and Schelling, among others. After Gilles Deleuze's re-popularization of Spinoza, the 17th-century philosopher's influence cannot be underestimated for a range of theoretical approaches today, from affect theory to neo-vitalism.
This seminar will provide a deeper understanding of Spinoza: we will read Goethe through Spinoza, and simultaneously Spinoza through Deleuze.