“ On the 28th of August, 1749, at mid-day, as the clock struck twelve,
I came into the world, at Frankfurt on the Main. My horoscope was
propitious: The sun stood in the sign of the Virgin, and had culminated
for the day; Jupiter and Venus looked on him with a friendly eye,
and Mercury not adversely; while Saturn and Mars kept themselves
indifferent; the Moon alone, just full, exerted the power of her
reflection all the more, as she had then reached her planetary hour.
She opposed herself, therefore, to my birth, which could not be
accomplished until this hour was passed.”
These lines were written by the German Shakespeare: Johann Wolfgang Goethe, born in Frankfurt, Hesse, Germany. He was only 22 years old, when he had already become famous all over Europe for his first novel The Sorrows of Young Werther.
In his later life Goethe became so known and famous all over Europe, that the small town of Weimar not far from Berlin became the secret capital of European Arts and Cultural discourse. Today The Goethe Haus and Schiller’s residence attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, and a week in Weimar can become one of your highlights when visiting Germany and Europe. I prefer to visit in May or June, to enjoy the warm spring days and long nights with the brilliant sunlight, the sun still shining until 9 pm and even longer. What a difference compared with the southern hemisphere …
My life became connected to this genius of German literature and culture automatically, because I was born exactly 200 years later: Even as a boy my parents loved to tell their story of coincidence to their friends, and they had even thought of naming me Johann Wolfgang, as my father’s name was Johann and the first born son in Northern Germany was to carry the father’s or grandfather’s first name, so was the tradition of the family living in the country. Luckily a befriended couple had a son some weeks before I was born, and as he was named Wolfgang, they decided on a different name for me, which was Peter and then followed my grandfather’s name Hanns as this was the rule of those days, where I was born: In the Land of the Horizons between the Baltic and the North Sea and Denmark and Hamburg. Truly Northern …
Throughout my life I followed Goethe’s phases and stations of his life and read what he had published 200 years before: When he became 30 years old and then 40 years old: What had he experienced and what had he thought and what had he written? What was life and society like those days?
How did he change when he reached the age of 50 years? What was traveling like those days and why did he travel to Italy leaving Weimar for two years? And why did he come back to this rather narrow life in this small town, not even a city like Frankfurt or Berlin or Munich?
Interesting that Goethe begins his autobiography with his horoscope and the constellation of the stars! When I worked in The Departement of Education in Brisbane (EQ) in the function of the German Language Adviser, I was necessarily cooperating with the Goethe-Institut based in Sydney, the German Cultural and Language Institut which may be seen as a branch of the German Foreign Office: After three years of service in Queensland, I was offered a follow up contract with the Goethe-Institut Munich, which lasted another four years. So finally — I felt — the Goethe stars constellation in the night sky had worked out very well for me …
When visiting the Goethe and the Schiller Homes in Weimar with my sister, I was fascinated how well organized and how informative these two museums have been prepared for the public. Do not miss going there and buy a few books in your language on Goethe and Schiller and their productive friendship.
More on Friedrich Schiller here …on britannica.com
Education and Passion …via Youtube Ken Robinson — listen to this story!
I know that I don’t know, because I have not thought about it …
To be born is a miracle … and you won’t be here for long …
Life is about making decisions and choose what you become (Carl Jung)
Goethe was an All Round Genius and a very active person: His house in Weimar attracted many visitors, and sometimes he just walked away when bored and continued his work … while his visitors drank his red wine!
About one third of his income went into wine … those days!
Read about his Theory Of Colours here … Die Farbenlehre nach Goethe (in German).
Theory of Colours / Wikipedia
More via Goodreads here …
Read more about Goethe here on britannica.com
Written by Nicholas Boyle, University of Cambridge
And the Wikipedia Article is very informative as well!
Ruediger Safranski has studied the lives of Goethe and Schiller and their time for years and published the best biography I know about this genius and his time: His book is available in many languages, and on Youtube there are a few interviews with the philosopher and author Safranski, in German, highly recommended. In 2014 he was awarded the Thomas Mann Prize.
More about the Goethe-Institut: What will the future hold?
How is Germany viewed by the world? Aussenblick.
The latest at the Goethe-Institut Munich
MY POST on Sun 05 June 2022
Mir immer auf den Tag genau 200 Jahre voraus, es macht mir eine besondere Freude, diesem deutschen Shakespeare zu folgen: Was hat ihn wann und warum beschaeftigt? Seine Lesegewohnheiten in der Herzogin Amalia Bibliothek, wo er wohl alle Bücher teilweise mehrfach gelesen hat, sie war fuer ihn wie eine Uni – Bibliothek. Und wie hat er es so lange ausgehalten in der Provinz in Weimar? Bis er dann nach Italien und Rom ging, wo er sich im hohen Alter natürlich verliebte …. Ein sehr spannender Mann mit einer unglaublichen Lebensgeschichte, der Weimar damals zum kulturellen Zentrum Europas machte …
Und die Freundschaft mit dem jüngeren Friedrich SCHILLER, einzigartig nachzulesen.
Wenn wieder in Deutschland, sind hoffentlich 2 oder 3 Tage Besuch in Weimar möglich – we shall see.
Die Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek in Weimar ist eine öffentliche Archiv – und Forschungsbibliothek der deutschen Literatur- und Kulturgeschichte mit dem Schwerpunkt zwischen 1750 und 1850.
Goethe starb am 22. Maerz im Jahr 1832 durch einen Herzinfarkt.
Mehr hier …
The Goethe-Institut is a non-profit organization that promotes German language and culture worldwide. It was founded in 1951 and is named after the famous German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
The Goethe-Institut operates in more than 90 countries around the world and offers a wide range of programs and services related to German language and culture. Some of the key areas of focus include language courses and exams, cultural events and exchange programs, and the promotion of German literature and scholarship.
The Goethe-Institut website (www.goethe.de) offers a wealth of resources for learners of German and anyone interested in German culture. Some of the features of the website include:
- Language courses and exams: The Goethe-Institut offers a variety of German language courses for learners at different levels, as well as exams that test proficiency in the language.
- Cultural events and resources: The website provides information on cultural events and exhibitions related to Germany, as well as resources on topics such as German film, music, and literature.
- Online resources for learners: The website features a variety of online resources for learners of German, including grammar and vocabulary exercises, reading and listening comprehension exercises, and interactive language games.
- Teacher resources: The website provides resources for German language teachers, including lesson plans, teaching materials, and professional development opportunities.
The Goethe-Institut website and organization are valuable resources for anyone interested in learning more about the German language and culture, and for those looking to improve their proficiency in the German language.
Kostenlos Deutsch ueben (Goethe – Institut)
Podcasts weltweit (diverse Sprachen) via World Map (Goethe.de)
Read more about Hermann Hesse (On My Blog)
Read about Friedrich Schiller on my Blog
“Urfaust” is the earliest version of Goethe’s famous play “Faust,” written between 1772 and 1775. It was not published during Goethe’s lifetime and was only discovered after his death in 1832. Here is an outline of the main plot points of “Urfaust”:
Act I: Faust, a disillusioned scholar, laments the limits of human knowledge and contemplates suicide. He is visited by the devil, Mephistopheles, who offers him a deal: in exchange for his soul, Mephistopheles will serve Faust and fulfill his every desire.
Act II: Mephistopheles takes Faust on a series of adventures, including seducing a young woman named Gretchen. Faust becomes obsessed with Gretchen and begins to feel guilty about his actions.
Act III: Gretchen is imprisoned and sentenced to death for killing her newborn child. Faust tries to save her, but Mephistopheles tells him it’s too late. Gretchen dies and Faust is left alone with his despair.
The plot of “Urfaust” is much simpler and more straightforward than the later version of “Faust,” which was heavily revised and expanded by Goethe over the course of several decades. However, it already contains many of the themes and motifs that would come to define the story of Faust, including the struggle between knowledge and faith, the dangers of ambition, and the temptation of the devil.
Read the Wikipedia Article
Ein neues Buch, die Biographie von Christoph Martin Wieland, einer der wichtigsten Schriftsteller des 18. Jahrhunderts und Wegbereiter der Weimarer Klassik: Jan Philipp Reemtsma leistet mit der ersten Biografie seit 70 Jahren eine literaturhistorische Großtat und verfolgt Wielands Spuren in Thüringen, wo er die Weichen für die moderne deutsche Literatur stellte. In hinreißender Art verdichtet Reemtsa dabei sein breites Wissen zu einem imposanten Buch … nicht nur fuer Germanisten!
(MDR Kultur Podcast).
More about the scholar Jan Philipp Reemtsma
The friendship between Friedrich Schiller and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, forged during their time in Weimar, stands as one of the most significant literary alliances in history. Their profound camaraderie, rooted in mutual respect and admiration, led to a collaborative partnership that greatly influenced German Classic Literature and left an indelible mark on World Literature.
The friendship between Friedrich Schiller and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe stands as a testament to the power of collaboration and intellectual exchange. Their shared The Schiller-Goethe alliance serves as a reminder of the transformative potential of friendship and the lasting influence it can have on artistic movements and cultural spheres.
Iphigenia is a remarkable character as both a woman and a sister and daughter. She embodies strength, resilience, and a deep sense of loyalty and responsibility towards her family.
As a woman, Iphigenia displays intelligence, compassion, and emotional depth. She is a deeply empathetic character, grappling with the traumas inflicted upon her family and yearning for connection and understanding. Iphigenia’s struggles highlight the challenges and constraints placed on women in ancient Greek society, where their roles were often confined to domestic duties and their agency limited. However, Iphigenia defies these expectations, demonstrating courage and determination in the face of adversity.
As a sister, Iphigenia exemplifies loyalty and devotion. Her reunion with her long-lost brother, Orestes, is a significant moment in her story. Despite the complexities of their family history and the burden of their past actions, Iphigenia embraces her role as a sister, seeking to protect and support Orestes. Her love for him transcends the tragedy that has befallen their family, and she becomes a source of comfort and guidance for him.
As a daughter, Iphigenia carries the weight of her parents’ actions and the consequences of their choices. She represents the hope for redemption and healing in the face of a legacy marred by violence and betrayal. Iphigenia’s journey involves coming to terms with her own identity as a daughter and finding a way to reconcile the conflicting emotions she holds for her parents.
Throughout her story, Iphigenia embodies the resilience and strength of a woman who navigates the complexities of familial relationships. She challenges societal expectations, displays unwavering loyalty, and seeks to find resolution and healing within her family. Iphigenia’s character serves as a testament to the enduring bonds of sisterhood and daughterhood, offering insight into the depths of love and forgiveness that can exist even in the midst of tragedy.
Goethehaus in Weimar (FAZ Fri 9 Jun 2023)
Frauenplan 1 ist die wohl bekannteste Anschrift deutscher Geistesgeschichte. Hier lebte Johann Wolfgang von Goethe fast fünfzig Jahre bis zu jenem 22. März 1832, als der Zweiundachtzigjährige kurz vor der Mittagsstunde im Sessel seines Schlafzimmers starb. Er hinterließ mehr als fünfzig Millionen geschriebene Zeichen – mit Feder und Tinte selbst zu Papier gebracht oder diktiert –, hatte vierzigtausend Kilometer zu Fuß, per Kutsche oder Pferd zurückgelegt, mehr Zeitgenossen kennengelernt, als die Stadt Weimar Einwohner hatte, und fast siebzehntausend Briefe an 1400 Empfänger verfasst.
Goethe hinterließ 2100 eigene Zeichnungen, 26.000 gesammelte Kunstobjekte und 23.000 Naturalien. Nicht zuletzt in seinem Wohnhaus setzte der Schriftsteller, Dramatiker, Naturforscher, Staatsbeamte, bildende Künstler, Kommunikator, Organisator, Inspirator und Förderer die Gegensätze seines Lebens ins Werk: Weltläufigkeit und lokale Verbundenheit, Sinnlichkeit und Intellektualität, höfische Etikette und unbürgerliche Liebe, emphatische Freundschaft, Unnahbarkeit.
Frauenplan 1 is probably the most famous address in German intellectual history. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe lived here for almost fifty years until 22 March 1832, when the eighty-two-year-old died in his bedroom armchair shortly before noon. He left behind more than fifty million written characters – put down on paper himself with pen and ink or dictated – had travelled forty thousand kilometres on foot, by carriage or on horseback, had met more contemporaries than the city of Weimar had inhabitants, and had written almost seventeen thousand letters to 1400 recipients.
Goethe left behind 2100 of his own drawings, 26,000 collected art objects and 23,000 natural objects. It was not least in his home that the writer, dramatist, naturalist, civil servant, visual artist, communicator, organiser, inspirer and promoter set the contrasts of his life to work: cosmopolitanism and local attachment, sensuality and intellectuality, courtly etiquette and unbourgeois love, emphatic friendship, aloofness.
Weimar and Schlegel and Wieland and Goethe
Daniel Kehlmann in der ZEIT über Goethe:
Man kann ja einiges gegen Goethe haben. Man kann seine vielen Gelegenheitsgedichte flach und oft devot finden, seine Briefe sind manchmal recht hölzern, und wem bei Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahren nie langweilig ist, der muss mit überirdischer Geduld gesegnet sein. Und dann ist da diese für einen Erzähler regelrecht verhängnisvolle Sucht nach Harmonie. In seinen späteren Prosawerken treten eigentlich nur noch weise und freundliche Menschen auf, die gesetzte, kluge Gespräche führen und die zu gut sind, um je in echte Konflikte zu geraten – man würde ja gerne leben in dieser kühlen, eleganten Welt, aber will man wirklich über sie lesen?
Rezeption und wie sich die Zeiten ändern …. Wer heute Effi Briest beginnt zu lesen, der braucht wahrlich viel Geduld, und viel Zeit dazu!