Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe had a great effect on the nineteenth century. In many respects, he was the originator of many ideas which later became widespread. He produced volumes of poetry, essays, criticism, a theory of colours and early work on evolution and linguistics. Goethe was fascinated by mineralogy, and the mineral goethite (iron oxide) is named after him. His non-fiction writings, most of which are philosophic and aphoristic in nature, spurred the development of many philosophers, including G.W.F. Hegel, Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ernst Cassirer, Carl Jung, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Along with Schiller, he was one of the leading figures of Weimar Classicism.

Goethe’s influential ideas on plant and animal morphology and homology were extended and developed by 19th century naturalists including Charles Darwin. In his Theory of Colours, which he considered his most important work, he contentiously characterized color as arising from the dynamic interplay of light and darkness through the mediation of a turbid medium. In addition, Goethe’s poetic work served as a model for an entire movement in German poetry termed Innerlichkeit (“introversion”), and his words inspired a number of compositions by Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Berlioz and Wolf. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is considered by many to be the most important writer in the German language and one of the most important thinkers in Western culture as well.


  • Goethe’s Poetry
  • Goethe’s Quotes

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