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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born in Frankfurt am Main on August 28, 1749 into prosperous circumstances. He fell in love with the daughter of an innkeeper, Käthchen Schönkopf, but she preferred someone more solid, a lawyer who eventually became deputy burgomaster of Leipzig. He is regarded as the supreme genius of modern German literature. The epic poem-as-play has been adapted into an opera and is still performed throughout the world. Another bout of illness then brought him apparently near death, and in the aftermath he underwent a brief conversion from freethinking to evangelical Christianity. Auch die Mutter kam aus wohlhabenden Verhältnissen. Another emotional factor in the poet’s childhood that may have affected his later development was a love-hate relationship with a younger brother, who died in 1759 at age six: Goethe’s later relationships with literary contemporaries were ambiguous, though he nonetheless described them as “brothers,” and he was repelled by literary and artistic representations of death. In September 1786, after ten years in the Weimar civil service, when his fortieth … Among the best introductions to G… Real Name: Johann Wolfgang Goethe. Johann Wolfgang Goethe was born on 28 August 1749 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany as son of a lawyer. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. In the words of Georg Simmel, “…Goethe’s individual works gradually appear to take on less significanc… Napolean Bonaparte called it one of the greatest works of European Literature. 223-24). Corrections? Johann Wolfgang Goethe wurde am 28. He continued his studies in Strasbourg from 1770 to 1771. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a key personality in the list of German writers and polymaths. New York: M. Walter Dunne, 1901. After growing up in a privileged upper middle class family, he studied law in Leipzig from 1765 to 1768, although he was more interested in literature. Goethe had in almost-finished form a biblical play and a moralistic novel when he entered the university, but, after reading them to his friends, he ostentatiously burned them as unworthy of his now advanced taste and started to write erotic verse and a pastoral drama, Die Laune des Verliebten (1806; “The Lover’s Spleen”; Eng. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is perhaps best known for The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774), the first novel of the Sturm und Drang movement, and for Faust (Part I, 1808; Part II, 1832), a play about a man who sells his soul to the Devil that is sometimes considered Germany’s greatest contribution to world literature. The truth has been kept … Know his incantation, Spell and gestures too; By my mind's creation Wonders shall I do. His contributions to science include his work in botany and his Theory of Colours. © Academy of American Poets, 75 Maiden Lane, Suite 901, New York, NY 10038. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe On this date in 1749, Germany's most famous poet, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, was born in Frankfurt am Main, to a comfortable bourgeois family. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. His emotional state became hectic, and his health gave way—he may have suffered an attack of tuberculosis—and in September 1768 he returned home to Frankfurt without a degree. He also contributed to botany and anatomy. His works include epic and lyric poetry; prose and verse dramas; memoirs; an autobiography; literary and aesthetic criticism; treatises on botany, anatomy, and colour; and four novels. Please select which sections you would like to print: While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies. Reluctantly and with some delay, Goethe followed his father’s prescription, although he did not complete the final stages until some years after his father’s death. The child of an imperial councilor, Goethe had a thoroughly classical education before entering Leipzig University in 1765. Goethe's works span the fields of poetry, drama, literature, theology, humanism, and science. But if you treat him as if he were what he … Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (August 28, 1749 – March 22, 1832) was a German poet, playwright, novelist and scientist. August 1749 in Frankfurt am Main geboren. Born in Frankfurt, Germany, on August 28, 1749, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was tutored extensively in languages as a child. Goethe's father, a lawyer, prioritized his son's education, enabling him to engage in many literary and cultural pursuits. Omissions? Der Vater war ein promovierter Jurist, lebte aber dank eines ererbten Vermögens als Privatier. He joined other young men who wanted to chan… His Faust, though eminently stageworthy when suitably edited, is also Europe’s greatest long poem since John Milton’s Paradise Lost, if not since Dante’s The Divine Comedy. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Gone's for once the old magician With his countenance forbidding; I 'm now master, I 'm tactician, All his ghosts must do my bidding. Search more than 3,000 biographies of contemporary and classic poets. The two transformed the Weimar Theatre into a national treasure and their cumulative writings form the heart of German literature, having also been adapted by many composers such as Mozart and Beethoven. His literary works include epic as well as lyric poetry which he wrote in different styles, dramas of diverse kinds as well as his autobiography. He influenced many 19th century writers and thinkers. Goethe reveals himself in Goethe's Autobiography: Poetry and Truth from My Life (trans. None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. However, his writings—emotive, far-reaching, prophetic, and formal—stimulated generations of Western literature and thought. Goethe was one of the very few figures of Germany’s 18th-century literary renaissance who were, in the full sense of the term, bourgeois. Unlike most of his contemporaries, he had no need, at least in the first half of his life, to seek princely patronage of his writing or employment as an official or an academic. His best known writings include "The Sorrows of Young Werther" (his first novel) and "Faust" (a drama in two parts). It sparked the phenomenon "Werther-Fieber" ("Werther Fever"), in which young men throughout Europe began dressing like the tragic protagonist, and brought Goethe to the court of Carl August, Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, where he would become an important advisor. Criticisms on Many Subjects by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Goethe was fascinated by writers such as Homer and Ovid, and committed whole passages of these texts to heart. Having achieved both literary and commercial success in his lifetime, Goethe remains one of the most influential figures in modern era literature. The person born with a talent they are meant to use will find their greatest happiness in using it. In the literary culture of the German-speaking countries, he has had so dominant a position that, since the end of the 18th century, his writings have been described as “classical.” In a European perspective he appears as the central and unsurpassed representative of the Romantic movement, broadly understood. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). The German poet, novelist, playwright, courtier, scientist, and philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) ranks among the greatest authors of Western literature. When Goethe was a young boy, he began to write stories and plays for his friends. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. In later years, Goethe expressed his disgust with the novel and the romantic genre out of which it emerged; however, its effect on Goethe's career and public image were undeniable. Goethe took revenge by starting his first mature play, Die Mitschuldigen (1787; “Partners in Guilt”), a verse comedy showing a woman’s regrets after a year of marriage to the wrong man. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet, playwright, novelist, and natural philosopher is best known for his two-part poetic drama Faust, (1808-1832) which he started around the age of twenty three and didn't finish till shortly before his death sixty years later. Flood impassive With persistence Johann’s mother, Catharina Elisabeth Textor (1731–1808), was a daughter of Frankfurt’s most senior official. Goethe's father, a lawyer, prioritized his son's education, enabling him to engage in many literary and cultural pursuits. By the time he completed his studies, he had composed a satirical crime comedy, fallen in love with folk poetry, and developed a deep affinity for Shakespeare, the figure responsible for what he termed his "personal awakening.". His works span the fields of poetry, drama, literature, theology, philosophy, humanism and science. He studied law in Leipzig from 1765 to 1768. Gemeinsam mit seiner jüngeren Schwester Cornelia wuchs er in einem repräsentativen Haus in der Frankfurter Innenstadt auf. At the same time, though, he seriously studied alchemy and may already have formed the idea of writing a play about Faust, a half-legendary figure who sells his soul to the Devil for knowledge and power and who became the subject of Goethe’s greatest work. With a Preface by Eckermann. The university there had been the centre of Germany’s literary revival over the previous 40 years. In his youth, he learned Greek, Latin and French. He began studying law at Leipzig University at the age of 16 and practiced law briefly before devoting most of his life to writing poetry, plays and novels. His mother was only eighteen when he was born. Goethe is the only German literary figure whose range and international standing equal those of Germany’s supreme philosophers (who have often drawn on his works and ideas) and composers (who have often set his works to music). Goethe's love for poetry persisted through his legal training, and he anonymously released Annette, his first collection of poems, in 1770. The Lover’s Caprice), begun in 1767. Updates? The Frankfurt in which he was born and in which his social attitudes were formed was, as it is now, a wealthy commercial and financial centre, but it was also virtually a self-governing republic, a city-state within the Holy Roman Empire. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer and statesman. “If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, (born August 28, 1749, Frankfurt am Main [Germany]—died March 22, 1832, Weimar, Saxe-Weimar), German poet, playwright, novelist, scientist, statesman, theatre director, critic, and amateur artist, considered the greatest German literary figure of the modern era. Throughout the 1770s, Goethe practiced a unique, progressive version of law across Germany, while maintaining a side career as an editor, playwright, and poet. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s father, Johann Caspar Goethe (1710–82), was a man of leisure who lived on an inherited fortune. 1965). Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Goethe was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. He could be said to stand in the same relation to the culture of the era that began with the Enlightenment and continues to the present day as William Shakespeare does to the culture of the Renaissance and Dante to the culture of the High Middle Ages. Goethe composed literary works and established artistic principles that had a profound influence on his contemporaries throughout Europe, and which are still looked to as models. The book was an instant international success. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (August 28, 1749 – March 22, 1832) was a German writer, poet, novelist, and playwright. Quotations by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German Writer, Born August 28, 1749. The nobility and the grand and petty sovereigns who figured so much in Goethe’s later life had no part in his early experiences: he was a town child from a rich family in an essentially middle-class world. Author of. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - Legacy: Goethe was a contemporary of thinkers—Kant, Herder, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, Wilhelm and Alexander von Humboldt—who carried out an intellectual revolution that is at the basis of most modern thinking about religion, art, society, and thought itself. Goethe wrote extensively during this period, including his Roman Elegies, a seductive 24-poem cycle about his trip to Italy, but it was not until after Schiller's death in 1805 that he produced his most famous work, Faust, about a duel with the devil in the search for transcendent knowledge. Goethe’s mother, Catharina Elisabeth Textor (1731–1808), was one of the daughters of Frankfurt’s most senior official and was a lively woman closer in age to her son than to her husband. Goethe was the eldest of seven children, though only one other survived into adulthood, his sister Cornelia (1750–77). He was opposed to the church ceremony that was, at the time, the only way of being legally married, so, although she bore Goethe a son, August, in 1789, he didn’t marry her until the Napoleonic army sacked the city in which they lived. With Goethe, however, his poetry, scientific investigations, and philosophical worldview are manifestly informed by his life, and are indeed intimately connected with his lived experiences. His father, Johann Caspar Goethe (1710–82), the son of a wealthy tailor-turned-innkeeper, was a man of leisure who lived on his inherited fortune and devoted himself, after studying law in Leipzig and Strasbourg and touring Italy, France, and the Low Countries, to collecting books and paintings and to the education of his children. Als Naturforscher kam er zu bedeutenden Erkenntnissen. He wrote his first widely-read novel, the loosely-autobiographical, joyfully-romantic tragedy, The Sorrows of Young Werther, in 1774, at the age of 24. He is buried in the Ducal Vault at Weimar's Historical Cemetery. Born in Frankfurt, Germany, on August 28, 1749, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was tutored extensively in languages as a child. … info)); Frankfurt am Main, 28 de agosto de 1749 — Weimar, 22 de março de 1832) foi um polímata, autor e estadista alemão do Sacro Império Romano-Germânico que também fez incursões pelo campo da ciência natural. Goethe was the eldest of seven children, though only one other survived into adulthood, his sister Cornelia (1750–77), for whom he felt an intense affection of whose potentially incestuous nature he seems to have been aware. He is considered one of the greatest literary figures of his age, and not only. trans. Randall Jarrell, who translated Faust from his Poet Laureate's office at the Library of Congress, called him his "own favorite daemon, dear good great Goethe." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) was a German poet, playwright, novelist, scientist, statesman, theatre director, critic, and amateur artist. In the literary culture of the German-speaking countries, he has had so dominant a position that, since the end of the 18th century, his writings have been described as “classical.”. Berühmt ist auch Goethes Farbenlehre. Poems by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Enjoy the best Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Quotes at BrainyQuote. Emeritus Schröder Professor of German, Magdalene College, Cambridge. Profile: German writer, artist and politician, born 28 August 1749 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, died 22 March 1832, in Weimar, Germany. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) adopted the story of the wandering conjuror who accepts Mephistopheles's offer of a pact, selling his soul for the devil's greater knowledge; over a period of 60 years he produced one of the greatest dramatic and poetic masterpieces of European literature. One of the preeminent figures in German literature, poet, playwright, and novelist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1749. Wallace Wood. Share with your friends. George Eliot called him "Germany's greatest man of letters... and the last true polymath to walk the earth." He also worked as an actor, administrator, scientist, geologist, botanist, and philosopher. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was one of the rare giants of world literature. Throughout a long and full life he demonstrated his prolific genius in many different areas. Der »Dichterfürst« war zudem Staatsmann und beeinflusste die Kunst seiner Zeit. Historical studies should generally avoid the error of thinking that the circumstances of a philosopher’s life necessitate their theoretical conclusions. Intro.

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