Wednesday, March 28, 2012
The Goethe House
Johann Wolfgang Goethe was born on 28 August 1749 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany as son of a lawyer. After growing up in a privileged upper middle class family, he studied law in Leipzig from 1765 to 1768, although he was more interested in literature. As he was seriously ill, he had to interrupt his studies, but finally graduated in Strassburg with a degree in law. In the following years, his novel "The Sorrows of Young Werther" (1774) became one of the first bestsellers. In 1775, he settled down in Weimar, being the Duke's adviser and writing popular dramas such as "Egmont" or "Torquato Tasso". One of his life's important milestones was the Italian Journey from 1786 and 1788, where he discovered his interest in Greek and Roman classicism. After his return to Germany, he began the "Weimar Classicism" movement with his good friend Friedrich Schiller, concentrating on poems and dramas such as his best known work "Faust", which he published in two parts (1808/1832). Beside his literary work, he contributed many interesting theories to sciences, making him Germany's leading polymath in that period. He wrote several works on morphology, and colour theory. Goethe also had the largest private collection of minerals in all of Europe. By the time of his death, in order to gain a comprehensive view in geology, he had collected 17,800 rock samples. During his Italian journey, Goethe formulated a theory of plant metamorphosis in which the archetypal form of the plant is to be found in the leaf.I n 1790, he published his Metamorphosis of Plants. On 22 March 1832, he died in Weimar, the town he had lived for more than fifty years.