Johann Wolfgang von Goethe



Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is buried in the Ducal Crypt, Weimar, Germany, Europe next to his friend and fellow poet Johann Friedrich von Schiller.

Tombs of Goethe and Schiller
Photograph by Androom

Somewhat against his inclination Goethe studied law at Leipzig University. While a student he immersed himself in literature and also suffered a haemorrhage.

In 1775 he was invited by the Duke of Sax Weimar to visit his court - a place where Goethe was to remain for most of his life. He served as Director of the Weimar Court Theatre from 1791 to 1817 and was also Chief Minister for State for 10 years

Goethe's most famous work was undoubtedly - Faust - a poetic drama which he started at the age of 23 and finished shortly before his death. In it he invented a new persona for the devil, endowing him with courtly manners. ( Louis MacNeice completed a translation of it in 1951.)

Goethe was a remarkably versatile man. In addition to writing poems, plays and novels he was also a scientist (discovering the human intermaxillary bone) an accomplished amateur musician, a linguist and also a painter.

In his early years Goethe was a particularly volatile person and his work is closely linked to the Sturm and Drang movement (Storm and Stress). His early novel Die Leiden Des Jungen Werthers  (The Sorrows of Young Werther) was inspired by his unrequited love for Charlotte Buff, the fiancé of a friend. Even at the age of 74 Goethe fell in love with the 19 year old Ulrike von Levertzow.

Goethe died on March 2nd 1832. He is arguably Germany's most important poet.

What you don't feel, you will not grasp by art,
Unless it wells out of your soul
And with sheer pleasure takes control,
Compelling every listener's heart.

Faust 1






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