Lavater Essays On Physiognomy

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Lavater, Johann Caspar, 1741-1801., Holcroft, Thomas, 1745-1809, tr., Hill, Samuel, 1766?

illustrated by more than eight hundred engravings, accurately copied; and some duplicates added from originals; executed by, or under the inspection of, Thomas Holloway (London: Printed for John Murray … Blake is believed to be responsible for three of the engraved vignettes signed “Blake S” and “Blake Sc” in volume one, as well as a full page plate engraved by Blake after Rubens. 225 The full plate portrait of Democritus comes in Lavater’s chapter, “Harmony of Moral with Physical Beauty,” addition Eighth.

But he was also an enthusiastic and idiosyncratic Christian evangelist.

He took literally the passage in St Mark’s Gospel (-18) where Jesus tells his disciples that in his name they will be able to speak in tongues, cast out devils, and heal the sick. ’ He wouldn’t keep uttering words and doctrine so vehemently If there weren’t something fishy about the matter.

According to Lavater, such powers were latent in all Christians, who by developing them could acquire a Christ-like nature. Goethe could not share Lavater’s fascination with the numerous faith-healers who appeared in the 1780s: the popular exorcist Gassner, the hypnotist Mesmer, and the notorious impostor Cagliostro.

Lavater was on the look-out for gifted people in whom such powers were near the surface, and thought he had found one in Goethe. Lavater met all three, and found them disappointing.

Lavater, Essays on physiognomy; designed to promote the knowledge and the love of mankind / ...

The wildness of the warrior—and the feeling of supreme sublimity! His spirits are storm wind, his ministers flames of fire!

Fuseli's drawings are rendered with distinction in the engravings of Thomas Holloway, and in one instance, Gillray (see Ray, The illustrator and the book in England, 20).

Lavater (1741-1801) was a German poet, mystical writer and physiognomist.


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