Johann Goethe

Johann Goethe - an outstanding German writer, poet, thinker, philosopher and naturalist, statesman.

The works of Goethe, especially the tragedy Faust, are recognized as masterpieces of German and world literature. The genius of the thinker lay in his amazing versatility and depth of knowledge.

There are many ambiguous points in the biography of Goethe that you can find out right now.

So before you short biography of Goethe.

Goethe biography

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born on August 28, 1749 in the German city of Frankfurt am Main. He grew up in an educated and wealthy family.

His father, Caspar Goethe, was a lawyer and imperial adviser. Mother, Katharina Elizabeth, was the daughter of the Chief Justice.

Interestingly, the girl was married to Caspar when she was barely 17 years old, while her husband was already 38 years old.

The couple had six children, four of whom died in infancy. As a result, only Johann and the girl Cornelia were left alive.

When Goethe's father inherited a huge fortune, he stopped working. He liked to travel to different countries and get new knowledge, because he was very interested in literature.

In the home library of Goethe there were about 2,000 books, thanks to which Johann, who read a lot, was distinguished from his earliest thoughts from early childhood.

Childhood and youth

When Johann Goethe was 6 years old, there was a turning point in his biography: he learned about a major earthquake in Lisbon, in which many people died.

Johann Goethe in his youth

After this, Johann began to reflect on God. The boy could not understand how a kind and just Creator could allow the death of so many people.

In this regard, he pondered over various religious issues for a long time.

The childhood of the future writer was very joyful and carefree. At the same time, although their family was very rich, Johann Goethe was not a spoiled child.

He liked to spend his free time in the library, reading various interesting books. He was an inquisitive child and at the age of 10 he already wrote poems.

In 1756, Goethe went to school, but after studying there for only 3 years, he switched to home schooling.

Parents hired for him the best teachers who were only in Germany.

Interestingly, in addition to traditional subjects, the boy was interested in drawing. In addition, Goethe studied horse riding, fencing, dancing, as well as playing the cello and piano.

Having reached the age of 16, he successfully passes exams at the prestigious University of Leipzig in law school. His father dreamed that Johann would become a lawyer. However, jurisprudence was of little interest to the young man.

Instead, he paid attention to philosophy, science and literature. During this period of biography, he attended the lectures of the writer and philosopher Christian Gellert, and also met the famous art historian Winckelmann.

During his studies, Goethe had many friends, because he was a sociable and open person. He went to various social events and often participated in discussions about art.

Goethe's student had no need for anything, since he received a substantial sum of money from his father every month.

However, it was then that a serious nuisance occurred in his biography: he was diagnosed with tuberculosis, with the result that he had to return home without graduating from university.

Goethe Sr. was very upset that his son did not get a diploma of education, and therefore the relationship between them was seriously strained.

Goethe's art

Arriving home, Johann Goethe was treated for a long time for his illness. During this period, he wrote the comedy "Partners", which became the first serious work in his biography.

In 1770, he went to Strasbourg to get a law degree. There he is actively studying philology, and also shows an interest in chemistry and medicine.

Portrait of Goethe in Campania brush Tishbeyna, 1787

Later, Johann Goethe met art critic and theologian Johann Herder, who spoke positively about a promising student.

Once in Strasbourg, he met Frederica Brion and immediately fell in love with her. The writer began to devote love poems to her, confessing his feelings.

However, quite a bit of time passed, and the suddenly burst out love died away, and the girl ceased to interest him, about which he honestly wrote to her in his letter.

Works of Goethe

In 1773, Johann Goethe publishes the play "Getz von Berlichingen with an iron hand", which brings him a certain popularity.

Charlotte Buff, whom he saw at the ball, becomes Goethe's next lover. But the girl did not show any interest in him, in connection with which he fell into depression.

"The Suffering of the Young Werther"

However, it was precisely because of his difficult mental state that Johann Goethe managed to write the magnificent novel “The Sufferings of Young Werther”, in which Buff was the prototype of the main character.

In the plot of the novel told about a young man who committed suicide because of unrequited love.

This work was a great success, but after its publication in Germany there were many cases of suicide on the basis of unrequited love.

An interesting fact is that in some German cities this book was banned due to its negative impact on young minds.


In the period 1774-1832. Johann Goethe wrote his immortal philosophical drama "Faust", which became one of the most famous works in his biography.

Until now, "Faust" is considered the pinnacle of German poetry. The writer worked on this work for almost 60 years, bringing every phrase to perfection.

The first fragment of "Faust" was published in 1808, and the whole book began to be published only in 1832. The tragedy was translated into many languages ​​of the world and became a classic during the lifetime of Goethe.

The most famous translation of "Faust" into Russian was made by Boris Pasternak.

An interesting fact is that Leo Tolstoy was very negative about most of Goethe’s works, while Vladimir Lenin, on the contrary, called Faust one of his favorite books.

"Forest King"

In 1782, the ballad “Forest King”, written in the style of a folk epos, comes out from the pen of Goethe. It tells of a certain powerful being who killed a child.

The poet describes the father and son, galloping on a horse through the forest. It seems to the son that the forest king beckons him; the father explains to him that this is all his imagination.

In the end, the son screams that the forest king overtook him. When they finally come home, the father discovers that the child is dead.

The ballad "The Forest King" was translated into Russian several times. The best known Russian translations are Vasily Zhukovsky and Athanasius Fet.

Personal life

Johann Goethe was a man of genius, able to master any knowledge. At the same time, he was a rather strange and mysterious person.

A number of biographers believe that Heinrich Faust, from his poem, had many character traits inherent in Goethe himself.

Throughout his life, Goethe was very popular with women, with the result that he had many love relationships.

However, despite this, his only love was the modist Christian Vulpius, with whom he lived for 30 years. An interesting fact is that his chosen one did not have a special attraction, although she was a good-natured and sincere girl.

Their meeting took place quite by accident. Once Christian handed Goethe a letter to Johann Goethe. This fleeting meeting was enough to win Goethe’s heart. He invited her to settle in his estate, to which Vulpius agreed.

The former lovers of the writer considered it an insult to Johann’s choice, who instead of them preferred some kind of peasant. However, he did not care.

In 1806, Johann and Christian were married, after which they had five children. Children born after the eldest son Augustus did not survive: one child was born dead, the rest died within a few weeks.

Goethe had different hobbies. The most famous of them is collecting. He was also seriously addicted to minerals (the goethite mineral was named in his honor).


During one of his walks, Johann Goethe had a serious cold. Every day the disease progressed and eventually became the cause of the death of the great writer.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe died on March 22, 1832, at the age of 82. His last words were: "Please close the window."

Watch the video: LITERATURE - Goethe (February 2020).