The Metamorphosis of Plants - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Gordon L. Miller
Believe it or not, German literary great Johann von Goethe was also a pioneering student of the natural world, discovering homology in the plant kingdom, and coining the term “morphology.” It was neither Faust nor Young Werther, but his science that Goethe considered his greatest legacy. The Metamorphosis Of Plants (MIT Press, $21.95) is the slim scientific treatise in which this legacy is contained. When it was published in 1790, Goethe lamented the publishing technologies of the time, which prevented him from providing evidence of his observations. More than two centuries later, Seattle University historian Gordon Miller has carried out Goethe’s legwork, tracking down the particular plants of which Goethe wrote, laboriously photographing them, and presenting them with an enthusiastic introduction that presents Goethe’s ecology as important for today.