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. 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. Another bout of illness then brought him apparently near death, and in the aftermath he underwent a brief conversion from freethinking to evangelical Christianity. trans. 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. He is regarded as the supreme genius of modern German literature. Goethe's father, a lawyer, prioritized his son's education, enabling him to engage in many literary and cultural pursuits. Johann Wolfgang Goethe, ab 1782 von Goethe (* 28.August 1749 in Frankfurt am Main; † 22. Real Name: Johann Wolfgang Goethe. 1962). 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. 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. His best known writings include "The Sorrows of Young Werther" (his first novel) and "Faust" (a drama in two parts). His father had very definite ideas about his education and intended that Goethe should follow the pattern he himself had pursued as a young man: studying law, gaining experience at the Reichskammergericht (the supreme court of the Holy Roman Empire) in Wetzlar, and eventually rounding off his worldly culture with a grand tour to Italy, after which he could marry and settle down, perhaps rising, as his father had not been able to do, to a position of responsibility in the city administration. With a Preface by Eckermann. He also contributed to botany and anatomy. The German poet, novelist, playwright, courtier, scientist, and philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) ranks among the greatest authors of Western literature. Intro. Throughout the 1770s, Goethe practiced a unique, progressive version of law across Germany, while maintaining a side career as an editor, playwright, and poet. Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. Quotations by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German Writer, Born August 28, 1749. … 1965). 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. He is buried in the Ducal Vault at Weimar's Historical Cemetery. Napolean Bonaparte called it one of the greatest works of European Literature. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a key personality in the list of German writers and polymaths. 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). George Eliot called him "Germany's greatest man of letters... and the last true polymath to walk the earth." 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. His mother was only eighteen when he was born. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. His lawyer father, Johann Caspar Goethe (1710-1782), and mother, Catharina Elisabeth Textor (1731-1808), were able to provide their first son a comfortable childhood and a good education. 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. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). 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. 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. Ralph Waldo Emerson, deeply influenced by Goethe's merging of science and art, called Goethe the "surpassing intellect of modern times," and said of his life: Goethe died in Weimar on March 22, 1832. 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. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was one of the rare giants of world literature. 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. Goethe's magnum opus, lauded as one of the peaks of world literature, is the two-part drama Faust. Learn how Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's failed love affairs inspired his works. 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. 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.". 223-24). Goethe was fascinated by writers such as Homer and Ovid, and committed whole passages of these texts to heart. Goethe's father, a lawyer, prioritized his son's education, enabling him to engage in many literary and cultural pursuits. Born in Frankfurt, Germany, on August 28, 1749, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was tutored extensively in languages as a child. He also wrote some letters that are seen as beautiful, and that showed his promise as a writer. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe formally married Christiane Vulpius in October 1806. In his youth, he learned Greek, Latin and French. © Academy of American Poets, 75 Maiden Lane, Suite 901, New York, NY 10038. Der »Dichterfürst« war zudem Staatsmann und beeinflusste die Kunst seiner Zeit. But if you treat him as if he were what he … He continued his studies in Strasbourg from 1770 to 1771. Goethe was educated with his sister at home by tutors until he was 16. Berühmt ist auch Goethes Farbenlehre. 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. Return to Weimar and the French Revolution (1788–94), https://www.britannica.com/biography/Johann-Wolfgang-von-Goethe, Poetry Foundation - Biography of Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy - Biography of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The University of Adelaide - Biography of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, AllMusic - Biography of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Academy of American Poets - Biography of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Theatre Database - Biography of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up), Discover how Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's failed relationships inspired him to produce some of the greatest literary works. Criticisms on Many Subjects by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. He joined other young men who wanted to chan… Goethe was the eldest of seven children, though only one other survived into adulthood, his sister Cornelia (1750–77). In the drawing academy run by Adam Friedrich Oeser—friend and teacher of the art historian Johann Winckelmann, then living in Rome—Goethe indirectly became one of Winckelmann’s disciples. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (August 28, 1749 – March 22, 1832) was a German poet, playwright, novelist and scientist. Enjoy the best Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Quotes at BrainyQuote. Goethe's love for poetry persisted through his legal training, and he anonymously released Annette, his first collection of poems, in 1770. The truth has been kept … Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (August 28, 1749 – March 22, 1832) was a German novelist, playwright, poet, and statesman who has been described as Germany’s William Shakespeare. 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. 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. 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. Goethe reveals himself in Goethe's Autobiography: Poetry and Truth from My Life (trans. Als Naturforscher kam er zu bedeutenden Erkenntnissen. In September 1786, after ten years in the Weimar civil service, when his fortieth … One of the preeminent figures in German literature, poet, playwright, and novelist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1749. The epic poem-as-play has been adapted into an opera and is still performed throughout the world. Having achieved both literary and commercial success in his lifetime, Goethe remains one of the most influential figures in modern era literature. 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. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) was a German poet, playwright, novelist, scientist, statesman, theatre director, critic, and amateur artist. Author of. Corrections? Flood impassive With persistence The child of an imperial councilor, Goethe had a thoroughly classical education before entering Leipzig University in 1765. 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. In the words of Georg Simmel, “…Goethe’s individual works gradually appear to take on less significanc… Biographies of Goethe include John G. Robertson, The Life and Work of Goethe, 1749-1832 (1932), and Richard Friedenthal, Goethe: His Life and Times (1963; trans. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Share with your friends. 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. Wallace Wood. Throughout a long and full life he demonstrated his prolific genius in many different areas. Omissions? Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Johann Wolfgang Goethe wurde am 28. Historical studies should generally avoid the error of thinking that the circumstances of a philosopher’s life necessitate their theoretical conclusions. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Johann’s mother, Catharina Elisabeth Textor (1731–1808), was a daughter of Frankfurt’s most senior official. Gemeinsam mit seiner jüngeren Schwester Cornelia wuchs er in einem repräsentativen Haus in der Frankfurter Innenstadt auf. 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. Ihr Vater, ebenfalls Jurist, hielt als Schultheiß das höchste Amt im Frankf… He came, on his father’s side, of Thuringian stock, his great-grandfather, Hans Christian Goethe, havi Know his incantation, Spell and gestures too; By my mind's creation Wonders shall I do. 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. Search more than 3,000 biographies of contemporary and classic poets. 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. His works span the fields of poetry, drama, literature, theology, philosophy, humanism and science. 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. Profile: German writer, artist and politician, born 28 August 1749 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, died 22 March 1832, in Weimar, Germany. Goethe's works span the fields of poetry, drama, literature, theology, humanism, and science. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (August 28, 1749 – March 22, 1832) was a German writer, poet, novelist, and playwright. When Goethe was a young boy, he began to write stories and plays for his friends. Among the best introductions to G… He studied law in Leipzig from 1765 to 1768. “If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. He also worked as an actor, administrator, scientist, geologist, botanist, and philosopher. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer. 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. None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. 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. Born in Frankfurt, Germany, on August 28, 1749, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was tutored extensively in languages as a child. The Lover’s Caprice), begun in 1767. Johann Wolfgang Goethe was born on 28 August 1749 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany as son of a lawyer. The book was an instant international success. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832), der größte deutsche Dichter und Denker, war ein Universalgenie. 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. 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.”. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s father, Johann Caspar Goethe (1710–82), was a man of leisure who lived on an inherited fortune. August 1749 in Frankfurt am Main geboren. In 1765, Goethe left home to study law, as his father wished, but due to his illness (probably tuberculosis), he returned home without a degree. He is considered one of the greatest literary figures of his age, and not only. The university there had been the centre of Germany’s literary revival over the previous 40 years. In 1765, therefore, Goethe left home to study law in Leipzig. An excellent introduction to Goethe the man is David Luke and Robert Pick, eds., Goethe: Conversations and Encounters (1966), a collection of writings by his contemporaries. 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." 1932) and Italian Journey, 1786-1788 (trans. Goethe met the poet and playwright Friedrich Schiller in 1794, beginning a collaborative relationship that would result in a creative success for both artists. Updates? 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. His father was well-educated and very strict.