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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832)

Author of The Sorrows of Young Werther

2,708+ Works 46,122 Members 483 Reviews 123 Favorited

About the Author

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1749-1832 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born in Frankfurt am Main. He was greatly influenced by his mother, who encouraged his literary aspirations. After troubles at school, he was taught at home and gained an exceptionally wide education. At the age of 16, Goethe show more began to study law at Leipzig University from 1765 to 1768, and he also studied drawing with Adam Oeser. After a period of illness, he resumed his studies in Strasbourg from 1770 to 1771. Goethe practiced law in Frankfurt for two years and in Wetzlar for a year. He contributed to the Frankfurter Gelehrte Anzeigen from 1772 to 1773, and in 1774 he published his first novel, self-revelatory Die Leiden des Jungen Werthers. In 1775 he was welcomed by Duke Karl August into the small court of Weimar, where he worked in several governmental offices. He was a council member and member of the war commission, director of roads and services, and managed the financial affairs of the court. Goethe was released from day-to-day governmental duties to concentrate on writing, although he was still general supervisor for arts and sciences, and director of the court theatres. In the 1790s Goethe contributed to Friedrich von Schiller´s journal Die Horen, published Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship, and continued his writings on the ideals of arts and literature in his own journal, Propyläen. The first part of his masterwork, Faust, appeared in 1808, and the second part in 1832. Goethe had worked for most of his life on this drama, and was based on Christopher Marlowe's Faust. From 1791 to 1817, Goethe was the director of the court theatres. He advised Duke Carl August on mining and Jena University, which for a short time attracted the most prominent figures in German philosophy. He edited Kunst and Altertum and Zur Naturwissenschaft. Goethe died in Weimar on March 22, 1832. He and Duke Schiller are buried together, in a mausoleum in the ducal cemetery. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Disambiguation Notice:

Please be careful when combining Goethe's autobiographical works - the various editions of "From My Life: Poetry and Truth" (Aus Meinem Leben: Dichtung und Wahrheit) contain differing portions of the complete work. Vol. 5 in the Princeton Edition containing Part 4 is a DIFFERENT work from vol. 4 containing Parts 1-3, the latter being similar to most other editions which are allegedly complete but contain only those first three Parts.

Series

Works by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774) 8,169 copies, 125 reviews
Faust I & II (1808) 5,469 copies, 39 reviews
Hamburger Lesehefte : Johann Wolfgang von Goethe : Faust Erster Teil (1808) — Author; Text, some editions — 5,271 copies, 40 reviews
Elective Affinities (1809) 2,048 copies, 25 reviews
Faust, Part Two (1832) 1,672 copies, 10 reviews
Faust (1790) 1,538 copies, 27 reviews
Italian Journey: 1786-1788 (1816) 1,132 copies, 13 reviews
Faust: A Tragedy (Norton Critical Edition) (1976) 1,037 copies, 6 reviews
Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship (1795) 952 copies, 15 reviews
Iphigenia in Tauris (1963) — Author — 648 copies, 5 reviews
Faust - A Tragedy in Two Parts / Urfaust (1790) — Author — 515 copies, 4 reviews
Theory of Colours (1810) 467 copies, 6 reviews
Nature (1836) — Author — 449 copies, 9 reviews
Goetz of Berlichingen of the Iron Hand (1773) — Author — 374 copies, 3 reviews
The Autobiography: Truth and Fiction Relating to My Life (1979) — Author — 355 copies, 4 reviews
Maxims and Reflections (1833) 317 copies, 2 reviews
Hermann and Dorothea (1798) — Author — 243 copies, 3 reviews
The Story of Reynard the Fox (1900) — Author — 242 copies, 3 reviews
Urfaust (1775) 235 copies, 2 reviews
Egmont (1789) — Author — 233 copies, 3 reviews
The Sorrows of Young Werther / Novella (1971) — Author — 226 copies, 4 reviews
West-East Divan (1819) 213 copies, 3 reviews
Complete works (1987) 208 copies, 1 review
The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily (1795) — Author — 196 copies, 4 reviews
The Metamorphosis of Plants (1977) 194 copies, 2 reviews
Sketchy, doubtful, incomplete jottings (2015) 172 copies, 5 reviews
Torquato Tasso (1969) — Author — 168 copies, 3 reviews
Wilhelm Meister's Travels (1821) — Author — 133 copies, 1 review
The Sorrows of Young Werther / Elective Affinities / Novella (1994) — Author — 124 copies, 3 reviews
Roman Elegies [poem] (1914) 122 copies, 2 reviews
Romantic Fairy Tales (2000) — Contributor — 114 copies
The Essential Goethe (2016) — Author — 113 copies
Letters from Italy (1996) 111 copies, 2 reviews
Great Writings of Goethe (1958) 88 copies, 1 review
Novella + Fairy Tale (1980) — Author — 88 copies
Faust / The Sorrows of Young Werther (1978) 78 copies, 1 review
Gedichte (1988) 72 copies
Wilhelm Meister's Theatrical Calling (1977) — Author — 67 copies
The Man of Fifty (1821) 64 copies, 1 review
100 Eternal Masterpieces of Literature - volume 1 (2017) — Contributor — 61 copies
Gedichte (1998) 57 copies, 1 review
The Poems of Goethe (1974) 56 copies
Tales for Transformation (1987) — Author — 54 copies
The German Refugees (1991) — Author — 53 copies, 1 review
Werke in 6 Bänden (1986) 46 copies, 1 review
Novella (1828) — Author — 46 copies
Gedichte (1974) 44 copies
Clavigo (1774) — Author — 41 copies, 1 review
Faust, Part One / Urfaust (2005) 40 copies
Romanzi (1980) 39 copies
Selected Poems (1998) — Author — 35 copies
Stella (1816) — Author — 32 copies, 1 review
Dichtung und Wahrheit. 1. und 2. Teil (1991) — Author — 27 copies
The New Melusina (1997) — Author — 26 copies
Goethe (2000) 26 copies
Goethe's Poems (1971) 26 copies
Faust: Texte und Kommentare: 2 Bde. (1999) 25 copies, 1 review
Goethe on Art (1980) 25 copies
De mooiste van Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1997) 23 copies, 2 reviews
Dichtung und Wahrheit. Eine Auswahl (1993) 22 copies, 1 review
Sämtliche Gedichte (2007) 22 copies
Goethe (1987) 22 copies
Das Tagebuch (1976) 21 copies
Goethe : Romans (1954) 21 copies, 1 review
Die natürliche Tochter (1990) — Author — 20 copies, 2 reviews
The Permanent Goethe (1948) 20 copies
Dichtung und Wahrheit. 3. und 4. Teil (1991) — Author — 19 copies
Goethe : sein Leben in Bildern und Texten (1982) — Author — 18 copies
Fünfzig Gedichte (1998) 18 copies
Erlkönig [poem] (1999) 18 copies
Classics Illustrated: Faust (1808) 17 copies
Goethe ist gut (1983) 16 copies
Suhrkamp BasisBibliothek : Goethe : Faust I (2009) — Text — 16 copies
Novellen (1979) 16 copies
Fausto ; Werther ; Herman y Dorotea (1970) — Author — 16 copies, 1 review
Goethes Liebesgedichte (1977) 16 copies
Die Leiden des jungen Werthers (1774) — Author — 15 copies
Ballate (1999) 15 copies
Gedichte : eine Auswahl (1988) 15 copies, 1 review
Wisdom and Experience (2000) 15 copies
Xenien (1985) 15 copies
Novels and tales (2008) 14 copies
Goethes Leben und Welt in Briefen (1978) 14 copies, 1 review
Das Hexeneinmaleins (1998) 14 copies
Dramen (1980) 14 copies
Aforisme (1984) 13 copies
Écrits sur l'art (1997) 13 copies
Campagne in Frankrijk 1792 (2008) 13 copies, 1 review
Goethe : Théâtre complet (1988) 13 copies, 1 review
Die Geschwister (2009) 13 copies, 1 review
Inni (1967) — Author — 13 copies
Runoja (1980) 13 copies
Gedichte (2001) 12 copies
Der junge Goethe (1973) 12 copies
Trost bei Goethe (1994) 12 copies, 1 review
Sämtliche Gedichte (1988) 12 copies
Annals (1994) — Author — 12 copies
Die Geschwister. Die Laune des Verliebten. (1986) — Author — 11 copies
Poems (2014) 11 copies
Mietelmiä (1999) 11 copies
Die schönsten Gedichte (1988) 11 copies
Die Mitschuldigen (1769) — Author — 11 copies
Dramen, Novellen — Author — 11 copies
Versek (1982) 11 copies
Obras completas. Tomo III (1991) 11 copies
Werther. Suivi de Hermann et Dorothée. (1901) — Author — 10 copies
Das römische Carneval (1789) — Author — 10 copies
Juego de las nubes, El (2003) — Author — 10 copies
Escritos sobre arte (1999) 10 copies
Goethes schönste Gedichte (1982) 10 copies
Elégie de Marienbad et autres poèmes (1993) 10 copies, 1 review
Gedichte (Works Volume 10) (1999) 10 copies
Der Groß-Cophta (1989) 9 copies
Lektüre für Augenblicke (1982) 9 copies
Opere (1988) — Author — 9 copies
Obras completas 9 copies
Sagan (1795) 9 copies
Mit Goethe durch das Jahr (1981) 8 copies
Parable [poem] (2004) 8 copies
Roman Elegies / The Diary (1988) 8 copies, 1 review
Hundert Gedichte (1983) 8 copies
Letters from Goethe (2010) 8 copies
Poesie 8 copies
Poesie d'amore (2005) 7 copies
Vier Jahreszeiten. Gedichte. (1996) 7 copies, 1 review
Valitut teokset. 2 (1774) 7 copies
Fausto - Vol.1 (2013) 7 copies, 1 review
Goethe : Conversations and Encounters (1966) 7 copies, 1 review
Goethes Werke in zwei Bänden - Zweiter Band (1957) — Author — 7 copies
Trilogia da Paixão (1999) 7 copies
Obras completas (2004) 6 copies
Wilhelm Meister Vol.II (1944) 6 copies
Faust. Eine Tragödie (1991) 6 copies
Selected Poems 6 copies
Jugenddramen (1957) 6 copies
Selected Poetry (1999) 6 copies
Handzeichnungen von Goethe 6 copies, 1 review
Die Leiden des jungen Werther (2006) — Author — 6 copies
Pandora (1997) — Author — 6 copies
Frühe Dramen (1988) 6 copies
Belagerung von Mainz (2009) — Author — 5 copies
Mein Goethe (1998) 5 copies, 1 review
Goethes Werke (5.Band) (1914) 5 copies
Luuletusi 5 copies
Briefe aus der Schweiz (1989) 5 copies
Venezianische Epigramme (1989) 5 copies
Faust. Zweiter Teil. Iphigenie auf Tauris (1984) — Author — 5 copies
Goethe- Gedichte. (1998) 5 copies
Gedichte (Bd. 1). (1994) 5 copies
Goethe im Gespräch (1997) 5 copies
Goethe's Plays (1980) 5 copies
Fiaba. Conversazioni di profughi tedeschi (2006) — Author — 5 copies
Escritos politicos (1982) 4 copies
Wilhelm Meister: v. 1 (1977) 4 copies
Drámák (1982) 4 copies
Pensaments de Goethe (2008) 4 copies
Dramen (1999) 4 copies
Theaterstücke (1969) 4 copies
Walpurgisnacht (1982) 4 copies
Goethes Ehe in Briefen. (1994) 4 copies
Fausto : el manga (2016) 4 copies
Dramen (1995) 4 copies
Goethes Werke: Band 1 (2002) 4 copies
Gedichte (1994) 4 copies
Racconti (1995) 4 copies
Théâtre (1942) 4 copies
POEMAS (1998) 4 copies
Goethes Feste (1993) 4 copies
Ieri i Beteli 4 copies, 1 review
Goethe - Lesebuch. (1986) 4 copies
Escritos sobre literatura (2000) 4 copies
1.1 (1989) 4 copies
Il flauto magico (1989) 4 copies
@ (1993) 4 copies
Goethe erzählt (1982) 3 copies
Alemania (1984) — Contributor — 3 copies
Werke (1998) 3 copies
Klassisches Theater (1982) 3 copies
Dramatic works of Goethe (1896) 3 copies
Gefunden. (2003) 3 copies
Who Is Goethe? (1983) 3 copies
Briefwechsel (1980) 3 copies
Achilleide (1998) — Author — 3 copies
Die Reisen (1978) 3 copies
Tasso : Clavigo (2003) 3 copies
Les Nouvelles (1998) 3 copies
Epen (1962) 3 copies
Gedichte. 1 3 copies
Roma ağıtları (2002) 3 copies
Obras completas (2003) — Author — 3 copies
Opere (1993) 3 copies
Viaggio a Napoli (2014) 3 copies, 1 review
Wilhelm Meister: v. 3 (1982) 3 copies
Cien poemas (1999) 3 copies
Ecrits sur l'art (1991) 3 copies
Poesies (1901) 3 copies
Dzieła wybrane (1983) 3 copies
Tutte le poesie vol. 3 (1997) 3 copies
Poemas 3 copies, 1 review
Liebesgeschichten. (2003) 3 copies
Poems of Goethe (2016) 3 copies
1.2 (1989) 3 copies
Obras completas 3 copies
The Wayward Lover (2015) 3 copies, 1 review
Gedichte (1994) 3 copies
Poésie et vérité (1992) 3 copies
Gedichte (1997) 3 copies
Tutte le poesie (1997) 2 copies
Clavigo [1999 TV movie] — Play — 2 copies
Goethes poetische Werke. Dritter Band. Dramen (1992) — Author — 2 copies
Digte — Author — 2 copies
Romane II 2 copies
Algunas poesías (2009) 2 copies
Goethe, Hderlin, Heine versei (2005) 2 copies, 1 review
Ich bin Goethe (1998) 2 copies
Werke. Bd. 1. Gedichte (1968) 2 copies
Nausikaa 2 copies
Goethes Werke. Erster Band : Gedichte — Author — 2 copies
Gedichte II 2 copies
Pesmi 2 copies
Il cenacolo di Leonardo (2004) 2 copies
Faust (1972) 2 copies
Gedichte. 2 (1964) 2 copies
Schriften zur Morphologie (1987) 2 copies
Frühes Theater (1982) 2 copies
Lettere da Napoli (1983) 2 copies
Goethe lieder 2 copies
Le ballate 2 copies
Die Aufgeregten (2008) 2 copies
Goethe : Gedichte (1964) 2 copies
Pesme 2 copies
Sehnsucht nach Indien (2006) 2 copies
Osterspaziergang (2012) 2 copies
The Fellow Culprits (2015) 2 copies, 1 review
Goethes Briefe (4 vols.) (1976) 2 copies
Goethes erotica (2017) 2 copies
Tutte le poesie vol. 2 (1994) 2 copies
Goethe's Autobiography (2017) 2 copies
Faust [1988 film] (2005) 2 copies
Pasakos 2 copies
Carteggio 2 copies
Das Schönste aus seinem Werk — Author — 2 copies
Heath's Modern Language Series : Goethe's Egmont (1904) — Writer — 2 copies
Teatro 2 copies
Goethe, warum? (1989) 2 copies
Tutte le poesie (1994) 2 copies
Schriften zur Biologie (1984) 2 copies
Besuche in Heidelberg (1966) 2 copies
Valskyldskapane (2019) 2 copies
In allen Wipfeln ... (1984) 2 copies
Goethe für jeden Tag (1992) 2 copies
Memoirs Of Goethe (2005) 2 copies
Lust auf Goethe (1999) 2 copies, 1 review
Poemas 2 copies
Tutte le poesie (1994) 2 copies
Der Turm (1956) 2 copies
Briefe (2017) 2 copies
IL FAUST 3 1 copy
IL FAUST 2 1 copy
Found [poem] 1 copy
Elegías y epigramas (1978) 1 copy
IL FAUST 1 1 copy
Ferdinand [Erzählung] (1795) 1 copy
Színtan 1 copy
Correspondance de Bettina et de Goethe (1835) — Author — 1 copy
Sprüche in Prosa. (1999) 1 copy
Wilhelm Meister Volume I — Author — 1 copy
Gli Amori 1 copy
Goethe-Brevier (1999) 1 copy
Zeit Leben Werk (1999) 1 copy
Märchen, 1 Audio-CD (2004) 1 copy
Pensées 1 copy
Nouvelles completes (1999) 1 copy
Proza 1 copy
Poeme epice 1 copy
Lila (2013) 1 copy
Goethenin Mektuplari 1 copy, 1 review
Faust Gounod 1 copy
Prometeu 1 copy
Werke II 1 copy
Complete Poetry 1 copy, 1 review
Goethe voor kinderen (1999) 1 copy
Polarity 1 copy
Erzählungen. (1989) 1 copy
Problems 1 copy
Bajka 1 copy
Faust - Band 1: Texte (2003) 1 copy
Gedichte III 1 copy
Gedichte I 1 copy
Novellen (1968) 1 copy
Joyas vampíricas 1 copy, 1 review
Hamburger Lesehefte : Goethe : Reineke Fuchs (1998) — Writer — 1 copy
פרוזה 1 copy
Твори 1 copy
Gedichte 1 copy
Verse Plays 1 copy
Sämtliche Märchen (1988) 1 copy
Ur-Goethe 1 copy
Reden 1 copy
En antologi 1 copy
Három mese (1976) 1 copy
Über die Frauen. (1959) 1 copy
Worte der Liebe (2010) 1 copy
Poesia 1 copy
Goethes Gedichte. (1937) 1 copy
The Tales of Dr. Faustus, Sorcerer (2010) — Author — 1 copy
Gedichte und Balladen (1995) — Author — 1 copy
Gedichte ; 3 1 copy
Ganymed — Author — 1 copy
Gedichte : Auswahl (1923) 1 copy
Buch 13 - 16 1 copy
Buch 25 - 28 1 copy
Buch 29 - 32 1 copy
Buch 37 - 38 1 copy
Buch 39 - 40 1 copy
Buch 5 - 8 1 copy
Goethe's Works: Vol. 4 — Author — 1 copy
Opere scelte 1 copy
Szépprózai művek (1983) 1 copy
Goethe: Faust - Die Theater Edition [4 DVDs] (2007) — Author — 1 copy
Benvenuto Cellini. Zweiter Teil (1963) — Author — 1 copy
Epigramas Venecianos (2014) 1 copy
Worte zur Erfüllung (1990) 1 copy
Rozprávka (2020) 1 copy
Frühling (2018) 1 copy
Goethe [Gedichte] — Author — 1 copy
Le conte (2008) 1 copy
Goethe für Anfänger (1998) 1 copy
April 1 copy
Obras completas TOMO III-IV 1 copy, 1 review
Der Ginkgo 1 copy
Poésies 1 copy
Mitt hjarta slo (1999) 1 copy
Lieder (2000) 1 copy
Märchen 1 copy
Words of Goethe (1933) 1 copy
Novellen und Märchen — Author — 1 copy
About Art (1994) 1 copy
Goethe. Novellen. (1973) 1 copy
Morfologia. Vol. I (2013) 1 copy
Morfologia. Vol. II (2013) 1 copy
Gedichte II, Die (1999) 1 copy
Der Triumph der Empfindsamkeit (2011) — Author — 1 copy
Mignon 1 copy
All`alta memoria di howard — Author — 1 copy
Erlinde 1 copy
Egmont — Author — 1 copy
Dikt (1997) 1 copy
Goethe Part One (1963) 1 copy
La nobiltà del teatro — Author — 1 copy
Goethe, Three Tales (1964) 1 copy
La infancia de GOETHE contada por él mismo — Author — 1 copy, 1 review
An den Mond. Faksimile (1991) 1 copy
Goethe's Gedichte — Author — 1 copy
Poesías 1 copy

Associated Works

The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini (1728) — Translator, some editions — 2,566 copies, 22 reviews
Conversations with Goethe (1964) 576 copies, 5 reviews
Spells of Enchantment: The Wondrous Fairy Tales of Western Culture (1991) — Contributor — 573 copies, 4 reviews
The Assassin's Cloak: An Anthology of the World's Greatest Diarists (2000) — Contributor, some editions — 561 copies, 8 reviews
Prefaces and Prologues to Famous Books (1938) — Contributor — 524 copies, 1 review
World Poetry: An Anthology of Verse from Antiquity to Our Time (1998) — Contributor — 452 copies, 1 review
Fantasia [1940 film] (1940) — Original story — 425 copies, 5 reviews
Critical Theory Since Plato (1971) — Contributor, some editions — 403 copies, 1 review
The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart: A Poetry Anthology (1992) — Contributor — 396 copies, 3 reviews
Fantasia 2000 [1999 film] (1999) — Original story — 284 copies, 2 reviews
The Sorcerer's Apprentice [2010 film] (2010) — Original story — 254 copies, 1 review
Art History and Its Methods: A Critical Anthology (1995) — Contributor — 242 copies, 2 reviews
The Penguin Book of Homosexual Verse (1983) — Contributor — 241 copies, 2 reviews
Vampires, Wine and Roses: Chilling Tales of Immortal Pleasure (1997) — Contributor — 157 copies, 2 reviews
A Documentary History of Art, Volume 2 (1982) — Contributor — 147 copies, 3 reviews
Deutsche Gedichte (1966) — Contributor, some editions — 132 copies
Great German Short Novels and Stories (1933) — Contributor — 107 copies
German stories. Deutsche Novellen (1964) — Contributor — 97 copies
Byron's Poetry and Prose [Norton Critical Edition] (2009) — Contributor — 95 copies, 1 review
The Classic Theatre Volume II Five German Plays (1959) — Contributor — 81 copies
Wolf's Complete Book of Terror (1979) — Contributor — 76 copies, 2 reviews
The Smiles of Rome: A Literary Companion for Readers and Travelers (2005) — Contributor — 59 copies, 2 reviews
Treasury of the Theatre: From Aeschylus to Ostrovsky (1967) — Contributor — 49 copies
German Fiction (2010) — Contributor — 39 copies, 1 review
The Romantics on Shakespeare (1992) — Contributor — 37 copies
Les cent ans de dracula - 8 histoires de vampires de goethe a (1999) — Contributor — 37 copies, 2 reviews
Five German Tragedies (1969) — Author — 31 copies
The Triumph of Art for the Public: 1785-1848 (1979) — Contributor — 30 copies
Dark of the Moon: Poems of Fantasy and the Macabre (1947) — Contributor — 27 copies, 1 review
The Romantic Influence (1963) 27 copies
Von deutscher Art und Kunst: einige fliegende Blätter (1773) — Contributor — 24 copies
World's Great Plays (1944) — Contributor — 22 copies, 1 review
"Das Tagebuch" Goethes und Rilkes "Sieben Gedichte" (1978) — Contributor — 18 copies
Fairy Poems (2023) — Contributor — 18 copies
MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History — Autumn 1992 (1992) — Author "Cannon Fever" — 16 copies
Faust [2011 film] (2014) — Bibliographic Antecedent — 14 copies, 2 reviews
Fragmentos para una teoría romántica del arte (1987) — Contributor — 13 copies, 2 reviews
Trees: A Celebration (1989) — Contributor — 13 copies
Tyskland forteller : tyske noveller (1972) — Contributor — 12 copies
Faust [1994 film] (2002) — Original book — 12 copies
Der Orchideengarten (1919) — Contributor — 6 copies
Great Love Scenes from Famous Novels (1943) — Contributor — 5 copies
Tyve mesterfortællinger — Contributor, some editions — 4 copies, 1 review
Hyacinth und Rosenblut: Marchen der deutschen Romantik (1990) — Contributor — 3 copies
Am Borne deutscher Dichtung (1927) — Contributor — 1 copy
Classic Tales [2008 TV series] (2008) — Contributor — 1 copy
Le Naiadi — Contributor — 1 copy
Songs of Debussy & Mozart (2003) — Contributor — 1 copy
Deutsche Erzählungen (1957) — Contributor — 1 copy

Tagged

18th century (637) 19th century (621) anthology (493) art (287) art history (159) autobiography (436) biography (413) classic (731) classics (913) diary (155) drama (1,431) Faust (197) fiction (2,465) German (1,874) German literature (2,292) Germany (588) Goethe (865) Harvard Classics (164) history (220) horror (218) Italy (293) literature (1,702) memoir (161) non-fiction (372) novel (431) philosophy (320) play (288) plays (374) poetry (1,708) read (255) Renaissance (166) Roman (205) Romanticism (308) short stories (238) theatre (517) to-read (1,548) tragedy (157) translation (234) travel (164) unread (178)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von
Legal name
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von
Birthdate
1749-08-28
Date of death
1832-03-22
Burial location
Fürstengruft, Weimar, Germany
Gender
male
Nationality
Germany
Birthplace
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Place of death
Weimar, Germany
Cause of death
apparent heart failure
Places of residence
Frankfurt am Main, Germany (birth)
Leipzig, Germany
Strasbourg, France
Wetzlar, Germany
Weimar, Germany (death)
Education
University of Leipzig (Law)
University of Strasbourg (LL.Lic|1771)
Occupations
writer
author
playwright
privy councillor (to the Duke of Weimar)
botanist
anatomist (show all 9)
novelist
poet
actor (1776 ∙ von Kotzebue, August ∙ Goethe's "Geschister")
Relationships
Schiller, Friedrich (friend)
von Kotzebue, August (1776)
Goethe, Johann Caspar (father)
Disambiguation notice
Please be careful when combining Goethe's autobiographical works - the various editions of "From My Life: Poetry and Truth" (Aus Meinem Leben: Dichtung und Wahrheit) contain differing portions of the complete work. Vol. 5 in the Princeton Edition containing Part 4 is a DIFFERENT work from vol. 4 containing Parts 1-3, the latter being similar to most other editions which are allegedly complete but contain only those first three Parts.

Members

Discussions

Faust in Fine Press Forum (March 2023)
January-March Group Read - Faust by Goethe in Geeks who love the Classics (March 2023)

Reviews

A few years I was reading on my lunch hour The Sorrows of Young Werther when a co-worker noticed what I was doing. He was a young German graduate student here in Michigan working on a an advanced degree. That's when I learned that every German reads Werther in high school. It functions like To Kill a Mockingbird does in the U.S., a chance to discuss big existential questions in small bites, a chapter at a time. I could see how Werther would serve that role. I was hooked on Goethe. I had never heard of Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship when my Classics book club made it our monthly selection. It felt like the club was achieving the goal I have for it which is to push me out of my comfort zone. Faustus would have been a natural choice but Apprenticeship was pushing me where I wanted to go. Unfortunately I could not be more disappointed.

I struggled to get through this book. Once I start a book I rarely abandon it, in for a dime, in for a dollar. I always think this has to get better. Unfortunately this book never did. Perhaps my expectations were too high. I expected more lyricism. Yes there was some poetry and song. Weak at best. I expected big issues. This never got past the personal. I also expected a big shift in the narrative. Never came. I focused on the word in the title – apprenticeship. Most apprenticeships involve the learning of a trade, plumber, electrician, painter, accountant, lawyer. Since Wilhelm came from a merchant family I kept on thinking he'll give up acting and go into some business. Never happened. I began to wonder if Germans mean something different by apprenticeship. Here it looked like Wilhelm was searching for what he wanted to do in life. While Wilhelm does learn that acting is probably not a good choice it never became clear where his true talents lay.

The most interesting feature of this book was the replaying over and over of scenes from Shakespeare's Hamlet. Goethe clearly saw Shakespeare's genius and gave us several variations of the underlying themes. That was worthwhile reading. It was fascinating how the same scene could be given alternate presentations. Eventually we see that Wilhelm was not really acting, just being himself. That was popular but not a basis for a career.

The most perturbing aspect I cannot blame on Goethe. There was a publisher's note at the very beginning which was ominous -

"The book descriptions we ask booksellers to display prominently warn that the book may have numerous typos, missing text, images and indexes. We scanned this book using character recognition software that includes an automated spell check. Our software is 99 percent accurate if the book is in good condition."

If the online seller I purchased this book from displayed the warning I never saw it. There were thousands, yes thousands, of typos. Even simple words like 'he' was printed as 'ho'. Fortunately context was enough to figure out what was meant. Adding to this they printed the book in a three column per page format and a small type font. While this did get the book down to 200 pages it was a constant slog. I can't recommend this book and especially cannot recommend this edition – ISBN 9781230304984. Caveat Emptor.
… (more)
 
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Ed_Schneider | 14 other reviews | Jul 4, 2024 |
 
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filbo_2024 | Apr 25, 2024 |
Coming from one whom this difficult subject matter is all too real, I found this interpretation unconvincing and hollow. It’s a product of its time, I suppose, but it hasn’t aged well. A little bit too formal for the topic, and a little bit too much romanticism. Despite Goethe’s own experience, I don’t feel this novel does his views much justice. Werther is too thin a character and too weak a lover to really be a distinguished representative of the perceived courage it takes to handle such a burden (quite unlike Dante’s heroic anguish over Beatrice). But not only this, but what a nasty person Werther becomes. For one who claims to love unconditionally, he is awfully spiteful and egotistical. Does he really think he is justifying himself? If he truly loved her, he would have done everything to restrain himself from hurting her, but because of his ego, he just has to pull everyone else down with him, doesn't he? Is it harsh to say I think he deserves what he gets?… (more)
 
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TheBooksofWrath | 6 other reviews | Apr 18, 2024 |
Nowadays people have huge glass walls between history and them. One such glass wall was erected as the postmodern condition set in, back in the late '70s / early to mid '80s. Since 1990 another round of secession took place. But where we are now, post-2020, is even more cut off of the so called historical age (or the age of history, or the modern age).

Reading Goethe? Reading his "masterpiece"? Is it even possible?
My guess is that it isn't. I read him, and I love it -- love reading him. But this is personal.
It's like being sort of a "mutant".... My cultural code-combination, DNA differs from most people's. That happens. Goethe is not mainstream anymore. He's cherished by small minorities.

If someone wants to read Goethe's Faust in the same manner as wanting to watch Munch's Scream, my advice is don't.
It'd be like drinking warm beer. Then complaining that it tastes like shoot.
Comparing Goethe, especially in competition, to Shakespeare is twofold wrong, at least. Once again, don't drink warm beer, please.

Goethe is a "system". Like Marx. An organic system of thoughts, IMAGES, experiences, approaches and more.
Just picking his masterpiece (which is a wrong expression anyway, I'd call it his most cherished or chief or most complex work) and reading it is wrong. Warm beer. It takes much more. But I don't mean pre-studies. It takes much more in terms of interest and understanding complexity, including understanding history, and cool and great artists along history's timeline.

Either you have that or you just don't. In the latter case, reading Goethe is wrong. Waste of time. It's like you've never read it.
Nowadays we consume art and culture. Take in doses and enjoy what they do to us. A 3D movie does a lot of things while requires very-very little effort on our part. Reading Goethe is the absolute opposite.

Most people only do it because the don't want to miss out something that others might be talking about.
I suggest, you forget it. Do something else.

But if you can write an email to one of your friends about why you're looking forward to read the Faust, you're
on a good track, in terms of understanding art and history, and Goethe. Why is it good for you? It's not :)

But it adds a new level of freedom to your viewing the world and reality. It's not useful or anything. It's just an experience...

-- Peter Josvai

__________________________________
PS:
If you're mutant enough, I'd suggest reading part I. It's totally different from part II. It's based off on his first version, well, excluding the proto-Faust / arch-FAust / UrFaust / age 20 Faust, that came out as "details from Faust", and was brewed in the midst of the Sturm und Drung movement, and Schiller loved it, too.
Part I. reads incredibly well. It's like a Godard movie. It has social empathy -- empathy with a fallen young woman who killed her newborn child and was executed. That story needs no "vocabulary" of history. It could be staged as a very modern play, too, except that it has middle age conditions for young women.
Anyway, I'll always remember one of the last sentences -- it grows prose at the end -- when his (then) friend, M, is waiting with the horses, waiting for Faust and the girl to finally come to terms and leave the damn jail (prison). And he, M, says "my horses are shivering".. and that's absolutely incredibly. Like Out of Breath by Godard, ca. 2 hundred years ago...
(that trial of that young woman happened back in the 1770's, when Goethe was 20/21) (the numbers I gave are not exact).
… (more)
 
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pee-j | 3 other reviews | Apr 3, 2024 |

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