Goethe held many different titles and names during his life. Some of which he is known for are poet, novelist, scientist, theatre director, playwright, and philosopher. He is considered today to be one of the greatest German Literary figures of the modern era. He has without a doubt left his mark upon society. But who was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe? Here is a short synopsis of his life.
Birth and Early Life
• Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born in Frankfurt Germany to Johan Caspar Goethe and Catharine Elisabeth Textor. Goethe and a sister were the only two children of their parents to survive past a young age. Goethe received education in all subjects and language from his father and from other private teachers. His greatest passion while growing up was drawing when led him to a keen interest in literature. By the time he was eight years old he already knew how to speak Greek, Latin, French, and Italian. His love for the artist no doubt stemmed from his mother who had a knack for storytelling, and his favorite toy puppet sparked his first interest in a life on the stage.
• When Goethe was sixteen he was sent to Leipzig to study law (1965-1768). He was not much for the judicial rules and actually detested the structure. He would much rather attend poetry readings which is where he fell in love with Katchen Schonkopf and began writing poetry versus about her. His first collection of poems titled “Annette” was released in 1970, undoubtedly about his first love. Unfortunately because his studies seemed to be on low priority and did not show improvement he was asked to leave and returned to Frankfurt in August of 1768.
• After returning to Frankfurt in 1768 Goethe became very sick and as a result the relationship with his father became worse. As his mother nursed him back to health, he proved to not enjoy bed rest much and became extremely bored. During this recovery time he wrote an impudent crime comedy but his father grew impatient with him and sent him back to finish his studies in law. He loved Strasbourg and here he met Johann Gottfried Herder who sparked the young man’s interest in Shakespeare. He fell in love with another young woman whom he ended the relationship quickly, but much of his writing at this time reflected the relationship he had been in.
• In 1782 Goethe was ennobled
• 1786-1788 Goethe travels to the Italian peninsula which proves to be of great significance for his philosophical development.
• 1782 Goethe declares that he is a “decided non Christian.”
• 1792 Goethe takes part in a battle of Valmy against revolutionary France
• 1806 Goethe married Christiane Vulpius
At the age of 74 Goethe fell in love with a 19 year old girl by the name of Ulrike von Levetzow. He had high hopes for their relationship but was sorely disappointed so returned to Weimar. He wrote a very personal poem called Marienbad. Goethe died in 1832 on March 22. He was buried with Schiller who had died much earlier. after having written many things and contributed to the culture of literature greatly. He was a key figure in German literature and is remembered by many literary figures.