There is an element of overrefinement
In spite of the popularity of secular and religious perfectionist historiography in the period Baudach examines, the state of nature is presented in this genre as an attractive escape from the degenerate overrefinement
Grumbach finds a precedent for The Professor's House in an even earlier story, the 1902 "The Professor's Commencement," in which a delicately feminine bachelor professor who lives with his masculine sister humiliates himself at his farewell party as he had when he had graduated; in this professor's bleak life of retreat and overrefinement
, the one moment of life had been a stunning student, dead in his early twenties.
Its very setting - an exotic, tropical garden within a Victorian Gothic mansion (9), looking like a "well-groomed jungle" (11) - establishes the familiar Gothic dialectics of overrefinement
and wildness, fastidious artifice and dangerous nature that are common to the genre.
In fact, on the evidence of such works as the biomorphic carvings from thin stone sheets of the '40s, a sense of the arbitrariness of the individual, freestanding object often led to a degree of overrefinement
and finicky composition.
Mansfield suggests that Lavater's conclusions owed less to the "science" of physionomy than to a long standing hostile Protestant view that Erasmus's failure to follow Luther stemmed from weakness of character - timidity, overrefinement
, softness" (p.