Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

1749 - 1832

German poet, playwright, novelist, scientist and philosopher

Johann Wolfgang Goethe was a brilliant, multifaceted Germany poet, playwright, novelist, naturalist and philosopher. His literary career began when the age of "Storm and Stress" superceded that of the Enlightenment and Neoclassicism. The major influence on Goethe as a young and upcoming writer was Ephraim Herder, who initiated him into the domains of folklore, Shakespearean drama and Gothic architecture. He matured as a poet and artist during his long periods of residence in Weimar, where he served as a minister in the government of Duke Karl August. Here, until his Italian journeys 1786-89) he was subject to the calming and amorous influence of Frau von Stein, who inspired some of Goethe's most exquisite short lyrics ("Wandrers Nachtlied"). Sadly his friendship with Frau von Stein became increasingly icy. She receives no mention in Goethe's autobiographical work Dichtung und Wahrheit. After his return from Italy he came the close friend and associate of Friedrich Schiller, the other great German dramatist of the age. He inspired the Romantic movement (chiefly through his novel Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre)without being a Romantic proper and lived to become perhaps the most venerated sage of his time. On his own admission he was an eternal "wanderer" a passionate traveler, a seeker and a keen observer. His interests lay in science (a mineral 'Goethite' is named after him), music and theatre and the arts in general. He also formulated important theories of evolution and light.


Goethe's Development of the Wanderer Theme from 1771 to 1789 -- A discussion of "Der Wandrer", "Wandrers Sturmlied" and the "Römische Elegien"

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Goethe and His Influence -- A very brief introduction to Goethe, along with selected quotes from Faust.

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