Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Playwright, Author

1749 – 1832


Who was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe?

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer and politician. His body of work includes epic and lyric poetry written in a variety of metres and styles; prose and verse dramas; memoirs; an autobiography; literary and aesthetic criticism; treatises on botany, anatomy, and colour; and four novels. In addition, numerous literary and scientific fragments, and more than 10,000 letters written by him are extant, as are nearly 3,000 drawings.

A literary celebrity by the age of 25, Goethe was ennobled by the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, Carl August in 1782 after first taking up residence there in November of 1775 following the success of his first novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther. He was an early participant in the Sturm und Drang literary movement. During his first ten years in Weimar, Goethe served as a member of the Duke's privy council, sat on the war and highway commissions, oversaw the reopening of silver mines in nearby Ilmenau, and implemented a series of administrative reforms at the University of Jena. He also contributed to the planning of Weimar's botanical park and the rebuilding of its Ducal Palace, which in 1998 were together designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Famous Quotes:

  • Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.
  • None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.
  • Kindness is the golden chain by which society is bound together.
  • Whatever you cannot understand, you cannot possess.
  • I do not speak of what I cannot praise.
  • I don't know a greater advantage, than to appreciate the worth of an enemy.
  • If each one does their duty as an individual and if each one works in their own proper vocation, it will be right with the whole.
  • Who is the most sensible person? The one who finds what is to their own advantage in all that happens to them.
  • There is nothing more frightful than imagination without taste.
  • What is not fully understood is not possessed.

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Aug 28, 1749
Also known as
  • Johann Wolfgang Goethe
  • Goethe
  • Johann Goethe
  • Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von
  • Lutheranism
  • Humanism
  • Hypsistarians
  • Paganism
  • Pantheism
  • Germans
  • Holy Roman Empire
  • German Confederation
  • University of Leipzig
    (1765 - 1768)
  • Licentiate, University of Strasbourg
    (1770 - 1771)
Lived in
  • Hesse
  • Frankfurt
Mar 22, 1832

on July 23, 2013


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