Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe poetry, Secular or Eclectic, Secular or Eclectic poetry,  poetry,  poetry,  poetry Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Germany (1749 - 1832) Timeline
Secular or Eclectic

Poems by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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The cultural significance of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is immense, comparable to Shakespeare, Cervantes, or Dante. He was a poet, playwright, novelist, scientist, statesman, and artist.

Goethe was born to an upper middle class family in Frankfurt. Of the seven children born to his parents, only he and his sister survived into adulthood. He was educated at home until the age of 16, when he attended Leipzig University to study law, and continued his studies at Strasbourg.

At university, Goethe experienced a life-threatening illness, possibly tuberculosis. Shaken by this brush with death, he rejected his early freethinking world-view for one that uniquely combined evangelical Christianity and alchemy. As his interests continued to expand, so too did his philosophy, as he eventually abandoned his rigid ideas of Christianity.

His poetry and plays took on a maturity at this time. He began to connect with the German literary scene, particularly the Sturm und Drang movement, an esthetic reaction to the constraining rationalism of the Enlightenment, laying foundations for the subsequent Romantic movement in European art and literature.

While still in his 20s, Goethe attained literary fame for his short novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther.

He eventually settled in Weimar at the invitation of the Duke Karl August, where Goethe became the Duke's friend and advisor. In addition to his literary and political activity, Goethe engaged in scientific research, studying botany, geology, anatomy, and optics.

During the late 1780s, Goethe traveled through Italy, becoming deeply enamored with classical art, architecture, and ideas, forming the basis for his Italian Journey

His early romantic life was troubled, with recurring patterns of heartbreak, fear of commitment, and abandonment. These were also regular themes in his writing, including Faust, in which a woman is abandoned by her lover and suffers for it. Goethe did not marry until his 50s, when he wed his longtime mistress, with whom he had already had several children.

Goethe lived long enough to witness and participate in the major political and social changes taking place in Europe, having a profound impact on subsequent generations of writers, artists, philosophers, and seekers.

Poems by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Recommended Books: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

This Dance of Bliss: Ecstatic Poetry from Around the World Faust News of the Universe: Poems of Twofold Consciousness

Related Links

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Online biography of Goethe.

Johann Wolfgang von Goether - Biography, Works, and Message Board

Brief biography, with several portraits and some links.

Project Guttenberg: Books On-Line: Authors Starting with G

Several of Goethe's works online, including Faust and other poetry.

Britannica - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

A good biography, including his spiritual and philosophical development.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe