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Maxims and Reflections  : Penguin Classics - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Maxims and Reflections

Penguin Classics


Published: 12th October 1998
For Ages: 18+ years old
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Throughout his long, hectic and astonishingly varied life, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) would jot down his passing thoughts on theatre programmes, visiting cards, draft manuscripts and even bills... Goethe was probably the last true 'Renaissance Man'. Although employed as a Privy Councillor at the Duke of Weimar's court, where he helped oversee major mining, road-building and irrigation projects, he also painted, directed plays, carried out research in anatomy, botany and optics - and still found time to produce masterpieces in every literary genre. His 1,413 maxims and reflections reveal not only some of his deepest thoughts on art, ethics, literature and natural science, but also his immediate reactions to books, chance encounters or his administrative work. With a freshness and immediacy which vividly conjure up Goethe the man, they make an ideal introduction to one of the greatest of European writers.

About The Author

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born in Frankfurt-on-Main in 1749. He studied at Leipzig, where he showed interest in the occult, and at Strassburg, where Herder introduced him to Shakespeare’s works and to folk poetry. He produced some essays and lyrical verse, and at twenty-two wrote Götz von Berlichingen, a play which brought him national fame and established him in the current Sturm und Drang movement. This was followed by the novel The Sorrows of Young Werther in 1774, which was an even greater success.

Goethe began work on Faust, and Egmont, another tragedy before being invited to join the government of Weimar. His interest in the classical world led him to leave suddenly for Italy in 1786 and the Italian Journey recounts his travels there. Iphigenia in Tauris and Torquato Tasso, classical dramas, were written at this time. Returning to Weimar, Goethe started the second part of Faust, encouraged by Schiller. In 1806 he married Christiane Vulpius.

During this late period he finished his series of Wilhelm Master books and wrote many other works, including The Oriental Divan (1819). He also directed the State Theatre and worked on scientific theories in evolutionary botany, anatomy and color. Goethe completed Faust in 1832, just before he died.

Further Reading
A Note on the Text
Maxims and Reflections
From Elective Affinities (1809)
From Ottilie's Diaryp. 3
From Art and Antiquity
Vol. I, issue 3: Naivety and Humour (1818)p. 8
Vol. II, issue 3: Matters of Serious Moment (1820)p. 9
Vol. III, issue 1: Own and Adopted Ideas in Proverbial Formulation (1821)p. 10
Vol. IV, issue 2: Own and Assimilated Material (1823)p. 19
Vol. V, issue 1: Individual Points (1824)p. 26
Vol. V, issue 2: Individual Points (1825)p. 29
Vol. V, issue 3: Individual Points (1826)p. 34
Vol. VI, issue 1: [untitled] (1827)p. 45
From the Periodical Issues on Morphology
Vol. I, issue 4: [untitled] (1822)p. 47
From the Periodical Issues on the Natural Sciences
Vol. II, issue 1: Old Ideas, Almost out of Date (1823)p. 52
From Wilhelm Meister's Journeyman Years (1829)
Thoughts about Art, Ethics and Nature in the Spirit of the Travellersp. 57
From Makarie's Archivep. 82
On Literature and Lifep. 108
On Art and Art History: Aphorisms for the Attention of Friends and Opponentsp. 136
On Nature and Natural Sciencep. 144
Sketchy, Doubtful, Incomplete Jottingsp. 166
Addenda from the Posthumous Papersp. 178
Notesp. 180
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780140447200
ISBN-10: 0140447202
Series: Penguin Classics
Audience: General
For Ages: 18+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 208
Published: 12th October 1998
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 20.0 x 12.9  x 1.3
Weight (kg): 0.16
Edition Number: 1