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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Writer, Polymath) 1749-1832

Goethe Demographics:
  • Name - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • Born - 28 August 1749
  • Died - 22 March 1832
  • Death Place - died in Weimar.
  • Buried - in the Ducal Vault at Weimar's Historical Cemetery.
  • Nationality - German
  • Occupation - Writer & polymath.
  • Marriage - Married his longterm mistress Christiane Vulpius in 1806.
  • Mother - Catharina Elisabeth Textor, the daughter of the Mayor of Frankfurt Johann Wolfgang Textor.
  • Father - Johann Caspar Goethe
Goethe Basic Facts:
  • Goethe was one of the key figures of German literature.
  • Served as the Privy Councilor ("Geheimrat") of the duchy of Weimar.
  • Lifelong dislike of the church, characterizing its history as a "Mischmasch von Irrtum und Gewalt" ("hotchpotch of fallacy and violence").
  • Goethe studied law in Leipzig from 1765 to 1768.
  • In 1775, Goethe was invited to the court of Carl August, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach.
  • Goethe therefore went to live in Weimar, and subsequently remained there for the rest of his life.
  • Goethe has been given an estimated IQ of 210+ following research done by Cox 1926.
Goethe Achievements:
  • Goethe's works span the fields of many disciplines including poetry, drama, literature, philosophy, humanism, theology, painting, and not least science.
  • Goethe is the originator of the concept of Weltliteratur ("world literature")
  • He had a significant influence on German philosophy through his major effect on the generation of Hegel & Schelling.
  • Goethe is considered by many to be the most important writer in the German language.
  • He is also widely regarded as one of the most important thinkers in Western culture.
Goethe's Scientific Work:
  • The author of the 'Theory of Colours' (1810)
  • Influential ideas on plant & animal morphology & homology.
  • Goethe popularized the Goethe Barometer using a principle established by Toricelli (1608-1647).
Goethe's Literary Works (include):
  • Goethe's magnum opus - the two-part drama Faust.
  • Götz von Berlichingen (1773)
  • The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774)
  • Bildungsroman Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship
  • The Sorrows of Young Werther.
Quotes by Goethe:
As to what I have done as a poet,… I take no pride in it… But that in my century I am the only person who knows the truth in the difficult science of colours - of that, I say, I am not a little proud, and here I have a consciousness of a superiority to many. [Johann Eckermann, Conversations with Goethe].

…I have found no confession of faith to which I could ally myself without reservation. Now in my old age, however, I have learned of a sect, the Hypsistarians, who, hemmed in between heathens, Jews and Christians, declared that they would treasure, admire, and honour the best, the most perfect that might come to their knowledge, and in as much as it must have a close connection to the Godhead, pay it reverence. A joyous light thus beamed at me suddenly out of a dark age, for I had the feeling that all my life I had been aspiring to qualify as a Hypsistarian. That, however, is no small task, for how does one, in the limitations of one's individuality, come to know what is most excellent? [from a letter to Sulpiz Boisserée dated 22 March 1831]
Quotes About Goethe:
"Germany's greatest man of letters… and the last true polymath to walk the earth."
~ Gregory Maertz.

References:
Cox, Catharine, M. (1926). Early Mental Traits of Three Hundred Geniuses (Genetic Studies of Genius Series) (pgs. 155, 163). Stanford Univ Press.


Posted by ALCHEssMIST.
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