Sunday, June 8, 2008


The German poet, dramatist, novelist, and scientist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749‑1832), who em­braced many fields of human endeavor, ranks as the greatest of all German poets. Of all modern men of genius, Goethe is the most universal. in bahasa ]

The many sided activities of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe stand as a tribute to the greatness of his mind and his personality. Napoleon I's oft quoted remark about Goethe, made after their meeting at Erfurt- "Voila un homme!" (There's a man!)—reflects later humanity's judgment of Goethe's genius. Not only, however, does Goethe rank with Homer, Dante Alighieri, and William Shakespeare as a supreme creator, but also in his life itself— incredibly long, rich, and filled with calm optimism— Goethe perhaps created his greatest work, surpassing even his Faust, Germany's most national drama.

Goethe was born in Frankfurt am Main on Aug. 28, 1749. He was the eldest son of Johann Kaspar Goethe and Katharina Elisabeth Textor Goethe. Goethe's father, of Thuringian stock, had studied law at the University of Leipzig. He did not practice his profession, but in 1742 he acquired the title of kaiserlicher Rat (imperial councilor). In 1748 he married the daughter of Frankfurt's burgomaster. Of the children born to Goethe's parents only Johann and his sister Cornelia survived to maturity. She married Goethe's friend J. G. Schlosser in 1773. Goethe's lively and impulsive disposition and his remarkable imaginative powers probably came to him from his mother, and he likely inherited his reserved manner and his stability of character from his stern and often pedantic father.

Goethe has left a memorable picture of his childhood, spent in a large patrician house on the Grosse Hirschgraben in Frankfurt, in his autobiography Dichtung und Wahrheit. He and Cornelia were educated at home by private tutors. Books, pictures, and a marionette theater kindled the young Goethe's quick intellect and imagination.

During the Seven Years War the French occupied Frankfurt. A French theatrical troupe established itself, and Goethe, through his grandfather's influence, was allowed free access to its performances. He much improved his knowledge of French by attending the performances and by his contact with the actors. Meantime, his literary proclivities had begun to manifest themselves in religious poems, a novel, and a prose epic.

In October 1765 Goethe—then 16 years old—left to Frankfurt for the University of Leipzig. He remained in Leipzig until 1768, pursuing his legal Studies with zeal. During this period he also took Iessons in drawing from A. F. Oeser, the director of the Leipzig Academy of Painting. Art always remained an abiding interest throughout Goethe's life.

During his Leipzig years Goethe began writing light Anacreontic verses. Much of his poetry of these years was inspired by his passionate love for Anna Katharina Schonkopf, the daughter of a wine merchant in whose tavern he dined. She was the "Annette" for whom the collection of lyrics discovered in 1895 was named

The rupture of a blood vessel in one of his lungs put an end to Goethe's Leipzig years. From 1768 to the spring of 1770 Goethe lay ill, first in Leipzig and later at home.

It was a period of serious introspection. The An acreontic playfulness of verse and the rococo manner of his Leipzig period were soon swept away as Goethe grew in stature as a human being and as a poet.

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