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Unlike most of his contemporaries, he had no need, at least in the first half of his life, to seek princely patronage of his writing or employment as an official or an academic.
The Frankfurt in which he was born and in which his social attitudes were formed was, as it is now, a wealthy commercial and financial centre, but it was also virtually a self-governing republic, a city-state within the Holy Roman Empire.
His father, Johann Caspar Goethe —82the son of a wealthy tailor-turned-innkeeper, was a man of leisure who lived on his inherited fortune and devoted himself, after studying law in Leipzig and Strasbourg and touring Italy, France, and the Low Countriesto collecting books and paintings and to the education of his children.
Goethe was the eldest of seven children, though only one other survived into adulthood, his sister Cornelia —77for whom he felt an intense affection of whose potentially incestuous nature he seems to have been aware.
Goethe was educated with his sister at home by tutors until he was His father had very definite ideas about his education and intended that Goethe should follow the pattern he himself had pursued as a young man: Intherefore, Goethe left home to study law in Leipzig.
His emotional state became hectic, and his health gave way—he may have suffered an attack of tuberculosis—and in September he returned home to Frankfurt without a degree.
Another bout of illness then brought him apparently near death, and in the aftermath he underwent a brief conversion from freethinking to evangelical Christianity. However, he had now emerged from his Christian period, and for his dissertation he chose a potentially shocking subject from ecclesiastical law concerning the nature of ancient Jewish religion.
The dissertation, which questioned the status of the Ten Commandmentsproved too scandalous to be accepted, as perhaps he intended, and he took instead the Latin oral examination for the licentiate in law which by convention also conferred the title of doctor.
His legal training proved useful to him at various points in later life: But Strasbourg was also the scene of an intellectual and emotional awakening that came over Goethe with something of the force of a conversion.
In the winter of —71 Johann Gottfried von Herderalready a famous young literary intellectual, was staying in Strasbourg for an eye operation. During their long conversations in a darkened room, Goethe learned to look at language and literature in a new, almost anthropological way: To cap it all, he fell in love again.
In the little village of Sessenheim, not far from the Rhine Riverand on the smallholding of its Lutheran pastor, Goethe found a rustic paradise that seemed an embodiment of all that Herder had inspired him to think of as the German way of life.
Once he had taken his licentiate at the university, he left Friederike rather abruptly and returned to Frankfurt.
In Frankfurt Goethe started a legal practice but found the new literary possibilities to which Herder had opened his mind running away with him. It also contains, however, an invented love-intrigue, focusing on the weak-willed Weislingen, a man who is unable to remain faithful to a worthy woman and betrays his class origins for the sake of a brilliant career.
A little later he heard that another young Wetzlar lawyer he had slightly known, Carl Wilhelm Jerusalem, had shot himself; it was rumoured he had done so out of hopeless love for a married woman.
This publication made his name overnight, even though it was a financial disaster. In an even greater literary success brought him European notoriety.
Die Leiden des jungen Werthers The Sorrows of Young Wertherwritten in two months early in the year, appeared that autumn, at Michaelmasand captured the imagination of a generation.
It was almost immediately translated into French and in into English. Much moral outrage was generated by a work that appeared to condone both adultery and suicide, but for 35 years Goethe was known in the first instance as the author of Werther.
He at once attracted visitors from all over Germany—among them the year-old prince of Weimar, Charles Augustus Karl Augustwho was about to come of age and so take over the government of his duchy and who was bowled over by the electric personality of the poet when he met him in December Clavigoa tragedy on the Friederike theme, was written in a week, and the plays Stella and Egmont were begun.
The year was one of decision for Goethe, and the issue was crystallized for him once again in an unsatisfactory love affair: But he was still afraid of being pinned down, and in Maywithout a word to Lili, he suddenly set off with some admiring visitors, whom he had never met before, on a journey to southern Germany.
The ostensible purpose was to visit Cornelia, his sister, who was now married, but Goethe also intended to go on if possible to Switzerland, widely regarded at the time as the home of political and personal freedom. Gotthard Pass he contemplated the road down to Italy but turned away toward Lili and home.
Evidently, his hometown had come to seem suffocatingly provincial to him, its horizons too narrow for anyone interested in a truly national German literature. He had an invitation to visit the court of the young new duke of Weimar.
Perhaps the Germany of the enlightened despotshe may have thought, might offer a better theatre for his talents.
But through the autumn he waited in vain for the coach Charles Augustus had promised to send to collect him, and by agreement with his father he set out instead for Italy. Just after he had left, the long-awaited coach arrived, chased after him, and caught up with him in Heidelberg.
All his plans were changed, and he arrived in Weimar on November 7.Tom Wolfe in New York City. Wolfe was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia to Helen Hughes and Thomas Kennerly Wolfe.
He was educated at Washington and Lee University and Yale University, and in , took a job as a reporter on the Springfield (Massachusetts) initiativeblog.com began Wolfe’s year newspaper career as a general assignment reporter for various newspapers and magazines.
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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German poet, playwright, novelist, scientist, statesman, and critic who was considered the greatest German literary figure of the modern era. He is especially known for the drama Faust, considered by some to be Germany’s most significant contribution to world literature.
From Linda's bio: My father believed that living on a ranch meant learning particular things, so he bought a Jersey cow so I could learn to milk.
From Linda's bio: My father believed that living on a ranch meant learning particular things, so he bought a Jersey cow so I could learn to milk. Students conduct a short research project about a chosen person to build knowledge about that person's life. Students download and open the graphic organizer in Microsoft Word or Apple Pages compatible word processor.