Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


January 19, 2022

Johann Wolfgang Goethe, from 1782 von Goethe (born August 28, 1749 in Frankfurt am Main, † March 22, 1832 in Weimar, Grand Duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach), was a German poet and naturalist. He is considered one of the most important creators of German-language poetry. Goethe came from a respected middle-class family; his maternal grandfather was the highest judicial officer in the city of Frankfurt as a mayor, his father a doctor of law and an imperial councillor. He and his sister Cornelia received extensive training from tutors. Following his father's wishes, Goethe studied law in Leipzig and Strasbourg and then worked as a lawyer in Wetzlar and Frankfurt. At the same time he followed his passion for poetry. He achieved his first recognition in the world of literature in 1773 with the drama Götz von Berlichingen, which earned him national success, and in 1774 with the epistolary novel Die Leiden des Junge Werthers, to which he even owed European success. Both works can be assigned to the literary movement of Sturm und Drang (1765 to 1785). At the age of 26 he was invited to the court of Weimar, where he eventually settled for the rest of his life. As a friend and minister of Duke Carl August, he held political and administrative offices there and headed the court theater for a quarter of a century. The official activity with the neglect of his creative abilities triggered a personal crisis after the first Weimar decade, which Goethe escaped by fleeing to Italy. He experienced the trip to Italy from September 1786 to May 1788 as a "rebirth". He owed her the completion of important works such as Iphigenia in Tauris (1787), Egmont (1788) and Torquato Tasso (1790). After his return, his official duties were largely limited to representative duties. The wealth of cultural heritage experienced in Italy stimulated his poetic production, and the erotic experiences with a young Roman woman prompted him to start a lasting, "unsuitable" love affair with Christiane Vulpius immediately after his return, which he only officially legalized with a marriage eighteen years later . Goethe's literary work includes poetry, drama, epic, autobiographical, art and literary theory as well as scientific writings. In addition, his extensive correspondence is of literary importance. Goethe was the precursor and most important representative of the Sturm und Drang. His novel The Sorrows of Young Werther made him famous in Europe. Even Napoleon asked him for an audience on the occasion of the Erfurt Congress of Princes. In league with Schiller and together with Herder and Wieland, he embodied the Weimar Classic. The Wilhelm Meister novels became exemplary forerunners of German-language artist and Bildungsroman. His drama Faust (1808) gained a reputation as the most important creation of German-language literature. In old age he was also regarded abroad as a representative of intellectual Germany. In the German Empire he was glorified as the German national poet and proclaimer of the "German essence" and as such was appropriated for German nationalism. A reverence not only began for the work, but also for the personality of the poet, whose lifestyle was seen as exemplary. To this day, Goethe's poems, dramas and novels are among the masterpieces of world literature.


Origin and Youth

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born on August 28, 1749 in the Goethe family home (today's Goethe House) on Frankfurt's Großer Hirschgraben and was baptized as a Protestant the following day. His nickname was Wolfgang. His grandfather Friedrich Georg Göthe (1657-1730), who came from Thuringia, had settled in Frankfurt as a master tailor in 1687 and the clerk

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