First edition. vi,  - 86. With the bookplate of Elizabeth [von Arnim] the author of "Enchanted April" and with the ownership stamp of "August P[rin]z v[on] Pr[eussen]" (Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich August) stamped on the title page.
Gotha: Carl Wilhelm Ettinger, 1790.
Octavo, rebacked to period, over yellow boards, gilt. Light dust soiling of boards, else fine.
Johan Wolfgang von Goethe, 1749 - 1832 was a German writer, pictorial artist, biologist, theoretical physicist, and polymath. He is considered the supreme genius of modern German literature. His works span the fields of poetry, drama, prose, philosophy, and science. His Faust has been called the greatest long poem of modern European literature. His other well-known literary works include his numerous poems, the Bildungsroman Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship, and the epistolary novel The Sorrows of Young Werther.
"The Metamorphoses of Plants" is Goethe's first published scientific treatise in which he approached the processes of life and the origin of life, a forerunner to Darwin in some respects. Goethe sought a theory that would explain all living forms in botany and zoology, and this is a pioneering work on plant metamorphoses.
Goethe himself attributes the journey to Italy in 1786 - 1788 as being the most influential factor in his botanical and zoological interests and the idea of "an original plant". During his Italian journey, he formulated a theory of plant metamorphosis in which the archetypal form of the plant is to be found in the leaf – he writes, ""from top to bottom a plant is all leaf, united so inseparably with the future bud that one cannot be imagined without the other"". [Milestones of Science 86].