Talk:Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Leibniz's profound influence on Goethe not mentioned at all[edit]

Leibniz had a profound influence on Goethe yet is not mentioned at all. He isn't even listed in the upper right under influences. Can someone please add this?

Here are some possible places to begin:
-The Literary Encyclopedia lists Leibniz as having the greatest influence on Schiller and Goethe here:
-This journal article also makes the case
-This book except talks about Goethe's acceptance of animal consciousness being germinated from Leibniz's writings:,M1
-And finally, this paper (Available at ) has this quote:

Goethe was influenced by Leibniz' monadology, of which reincarnation is nothing but a logical consequence. This influence is especially clear in the following sayings to Falk [Vogel loc cit page 134]

Some of these monads . . . . are so small, so insignificant, that they qualify themselves at best for a subordinate service and existence. Others, however, are very strong and powerful. The latter, therefore, are wont to draw everything approaching them into their circle. Only the latter I would call souls, properly speaking. Death is the setting free of the subordinate monads by the higher one and the separation from each other of the single ones. There is no question of annihilation; but to be stopped on the way by a powerful and at the same time vile monad and to be subordinated to it, this danger has no doubt something inimical in it and the fear thereof I, for my part, could not quite remove by the way of a mere contemplation of nature.



Why is there such a prominent section on his study of the Koran? Ever since 9/11, there has been a fear of and, in some cases, a sympathy for, Islam. All of my life, I had heard very little of that religion. Now it is an important issue that Goethe once studied the Koran. Unless the article also has sections about his study of other religions, the Koran section should be deleted.Lestrade 16:26, 7 December 2006 (UTC)Lestrade

I'm inclined to agree with you. I think the section should be watched for undue growth/exposure and sentences like: "Goethe's positive attitude towards Islam goes far beyond anyone in Germany before." I don't know that such a statement could easily be backed up or purported as fact. -xiliquiernTalk 22:39, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
The fact that Goethe was interested in Muslim poetry was well-known before 2001. In fact, my recollection is that he did so primarily because the Schlegels of the Romantic school, had already began researching Sanskrit literature, and he decided to go a different route. There is some material here that I've never heard of, but it is cited. and "Goethe's positive attitude towards Islam goes far beyond anyone in Germany before." seems self-evident to me. You can put a {{fact}} tag on it if you think otherwise. The only other religion that I know of his comments on was Christianity, and they are not at all positive. — goethean 16:28, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

I would like to hear from people other than the above two posters, who have posted some clearly bigoted statements on Islam, why there is absolutely no mention of Goethe's study/knowledge of Islamic literature and his Diwan, or poem written in the Muslim Sufi tradition. Mentioning such aspects of him would at least contribute to an understanding of how far reaching his knowledge was ie, of "Eastern" culture. No one should be suggesting that he had become a Muslim, which was not established. This missing dimension seems politically motivated, and is part of the reason I am becoming increasingly skeptical of Wikipedia.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Goethe may have been a Muslim. This site claims he was one. See here:

Goethe a Muslim? Rubbish! The 'Back to Islam' site contains blatantly falsified quotations with illiterate English renderings. I will continue to delete the Quranic references because they are lies put out by Muslim fanatics.MontanaMax 10:57, 30 June 2007 (UTC)MontanaMax

You can'delete facts because they don't suit your beliefs. It is well known that Goethe was an admirer of Persian literature, and in particular Hafiz, in whose inspiration, he wrote a Divan. Goethe: "In his poetry Hafiz has inscribed undeniable truth indelibly ... Hafiz has no peer!". He also often refers to Islamic concepts. I direct you to, for example, the poem called reunion, in which he uses Allah with God interchangeably.

Goethe was a Freemason. As such he was free to interweave Muslim and other flavors of spirituality and wisdom together with the rosicruscian and other esoteric wisdom traditions he found appealing or interesting. In his work, especially the Wilhelm meister books and to some degree Faust he readily explored masonic themes. In this he was not unusual: Mozart wrote a masonically themed opera and many, many late 18th and early 19th century writers referenced the craft and its associated mysteries in their work. --CRATYLUS22 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:48, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

having an intresset for islam doesn't make you a Muslim —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:15, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

German muslim regard Goethe as muslim. He had appearently converted to Islam before he died. Read the following from Goethe's published letters
"Der Dichter (Goethe) ... lehnt den Verdacht nicht ab, daß er selbst ein Muselmann (Muslim in Persian, Turkic and Paleo-Balkan languages) sei. (WA I, 41, 86)"
"Weiter kann ich nichts sagen, als daß ich hier mich im Islam zu halten suche. (WA IV, 33, 123)"
"Oberhaupt der Geschöpfe - Muhammed." (WA I, 6, 482)" -- (talk) 14:37, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

Islam is spiritually poor if it needs to resort to revisionist attempts to try and implicate famous thinkers just to make itself seem more prominent. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:36, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Bismillah: I agree that it's rash to say Goethe was a muslim because he wrote admiringly about Islam and the Prophet (s.a.s.). That was just the personal way of an intellectual to write of something he was deeply impressed by and should indeed not be interpreted as a valid double Shahada by any serious Muslim, unless they would interpret his later statements, like the one on Hypsistarians quoted in the current version of the Wikipedia article, as apostasy from Islam. However, the page quoted and criticized above ( should be read in its German original ( before you guys judge it: you're right, some of the translations of the quotes are bad. Actually, the German originals make Goethe's affinity for Islam and his decade-long intellectual preoccupation with it (and in case of Muhammad Iqbal's "Payam-e-Mashriq", influence on it) even clearer, even though the English translation is still sufficient in my view. Also please keep in mind that there are many streams and branches of Islam, some orthodox, some mystic, of which the latter have mutualities with mystics among Christians, Jews, Freemasons, even branches of Buddhists and Hindus. In either case it is as much an irresponsible blurring of facts to completely exclude this part of his work from the Wikipedia article as it is to claim he was definetely a Muslim. If you include his preoccupation with the Hypsistarians, which seems small and shallow in comparison, you must include quotes on Islam, too. - On another note, please heed this correction: from a European (or generally any "old world") point of view it's very naive to say "All of my life, I had heard very little of that religion. Now it is an important issue that Goethe once studied the Koran" (user Lestrade). I know that this applies for many American citizens and I'm not taunting you for it, even though it really seems weird considering 1.3 billion Muslims, but since Goethe was European, you must make the article accordingly, not according to an American point of view. I don't fully agree with user (IP) that "this missing dimension seems politically motivated", which may be true or not, but it definetely is uneducated, and, I agree with this, "(...) is part of the reason I am becoming increasingly skeptical of Wikipedia". (talk) 16:05, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

This page is linked to from the List of Shi'a Muslims. It looks like consensus is that Goethe is NOT a muslim, so if this is correct I will remove his name from that list. I understand the difference between Goethe studying, being influenced by, and converting to Islam, and some of the subtleties of being a spiritual/religious thinker, who would not easily join any one religion. I of course welcome any reliably sourced proof that he was a convert, but I really doubt this would go unnoticed or covered up by students of Goethe all these years.Mercurywoodrose (talk) 15:58, 3 October 2009 (UTC)

Are there two different English pages on Goethe?[edit]

Sure seems to be. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 23:10, 12 January 2007 (UTC).

No, Goethe is, appropriately, a redirect to this article. — goethean 23:20, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Goethe and Beer[edit]

on the label of Kostritzer Schwarzbier it states "even Goethe appreciated the traditional Kostritzer Black Beer." I've heard elsewhere that he survived a month on nothing but this beer. Does anyone know if there is any textual basis to these claims?

Hi there, I have seen a publication in Beck Verlag (ISBN 3406558720), in which one of the questions answered is about Goethe and beer. However I was not able to order it yet, for that matter read it, but if you have any knowledge of the german language you can probably easily find out on your own by ordering this book.

Page move + intro cleanup[edit]

I’ve checked Britannica (1911), Britannica (2002), Columbia encyclopedia (2005), World Encyclopedia (1980), Encarta (2006), (2007), Eric Weisstein’s World of Scientific Biography (2007), the Quotations Page, as well as a Google search for Goethe and Wikipedia is the only source that leaves out the “von” in his name title. As such, I plan to request a page move to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe shortly. Moreover, the definitive sentence of Goethe needs to be concise, i.e., as compared to other references, we need to pick the top four (or so) words that define him. Then describe more following the main sentence. Certainly the word “polymath” is not a main definer. I'll do a "start" cleaning based on the above sources. --Sadi Carnot 16:40, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

I temporarily fixed "von" part, which was added to his name in 1782, in the article; but we still need a page move. --Sadi Carnot 17:06, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

It seems that in ’06, the page was moved with the following explanation:

Wikipedia, however, uses the most common name as would be the case via the nine sources cited above. Hermann von Helmholtz is a good example. I will now request a page reverse. --Sadi Carnot 13:15, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

As far as I can see, you don't need admin intervention to reverse the page move, you can do it simply by being BOLD. All the same, I should wait a few more days to let people comment before you actually do it: seven days discussion would seem to be a minimum for an article such as this one. If you have any problems, drop me a message (I probably won't be on Wikipedia this weekend, which gives you some delay). Also, please don't forget to do the incoming redirects (10–15 at a quick look), not that you would foget of course ;) Cheers, and keep up the good work! Physchim62 (talk) 12:03, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, I just do it myself then. I just thought a page move to a redirect could only be done with sysop tools so that the related links stay true? Talk later: --Sadi Carnot 15:49, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
Hmm...there are a lot of intrawikilinks which need to be updated so that there are no double redirects. --HappyCamper 16:21, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
No doubt. I'll try to work on this after the move. --Sadi Carnot 15:54, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
Unless the software has been updated in some way, moving over a redirect requires some magic buttons because the redirect needs to be deleted first before the move can proceed. Anyway, it's all yours! My apologies for the tardiness. --HappyCamper 19:44, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
Good work HC. I found the Wikipedia:Request move page, I'll try to use that next time. Talk later: --Sadi Carnot 11:59, 25 February 2007 (UTC)


Does anybody else besides me find the Eroticism section to be not NPOV? I was personally always raised with the fact that Goethe's works _did_ have erotic tones... but that this was not unsual for writers of his time (or any time, really). The article seems to insinuate that this is not really the case... and also seems to focus exclusively on homosexual overtones (I have always seen _both_ heterosexual and homosexual discussed in readings of Goethe). I think the whole business about Italian homosexuality during Goethe's time should either have a citation or a link to an article, this is the first I hear of it. Finally, the section seems to insinuate that the "uproar" was because people couldn't accept the fact that Goethe might've been a homosexual-- instead of, say, simply responding to the poor scholarship of the research work and disagreement with its conclusions. Any thoughts? -DWRZ 17:23, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

Ganymed is explicitly homoerotic (which, need I say it, proves a precise amount of nothing about whatever Goethe might have thought generally or felt himself about the subject), and that's that about homoerotic tones. Nevertheless, Ganymed is primarily the (pantheist) "second side of the medal" to (Promethean) Prometheus. It might be wise to remember that Goethe was a poet...-- (talk) 11:42, 28 May 2013 (UTC)


Yes ...

You can add that Nikola Tesla was inspired by a passage of his for concieving the rotating magnetic field. Something that lead to the alternator. J. D. Redding 12:50, 24 May 2007 (UTC) (ps., reminds me of connections by Burke ... )


Why is it Goethe, and not Göthe? 14:59, 8 June 2007 (UTC)

The spelling of names sometimes retains archaic, "non-standard" conventions. The pronunciation would be the same in either case, but that is how the Goethes spelled their name. It's a little bit like the English name "Taylor," which obviously comes from the occupation "tailor" but was crystallized into a different orthography.
Actually, Goethe did sign "Göthe" at times. People in his times cared less about the conventions of spelling than they do now. —Ebab 18:20, 13 September 2007 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ebab (talkcontribs)
as a matter of fact, there WERE NO conventions of spelling at his time...--XMCHx (talk) 19:53, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
His grandfather Friedrich Georg was born a Göthe but later (1687) changed the spelling of his name to Goethe. Abundand information about his family may be found at Goethe Genealogie, especially Goethe-Heimat im Kyffhäuser-Schatten.-- (talk) 10:25, 14 September 2008 (UTC)

In the German language every Umlaut can be written with dots above (ä,ö,ü) or with an added e (ae, oe, ue). Before the conventions of spelling fixed the rules in which word you have to use what version, the version with the added e has always been seen as the more sophisticated and cultivated one.--JakobvS (talk) 00:02, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

The title page of Schopenhauer's main work, Volume I, has it spelled "Göthe."
The title page of the expanded 1844 publication
The motto shown is: "Ob nicht Natur zuletzt sich doch ergründe? Göthe." It means "If, however, Nature hasn't fathomed itself at last?" (From Goethe's poem to State Minister Christian Gottlob von Voigt, September 27, 1816.)Lestrade (talk) 16:00, 1 February 2011 (UTC)Lestrade

Goethe & Islam[edit]

It is interesting that this article does not explain the complex relationship between Goethe and the Islamic world. It does not once mention Goethe's sympathy for Islam, his love for Hafez' poetry, and even his obvious message that he rejected Christianity in favour of Islam:

Jesus fühlte rein und dachte
Nur den Einen Gott im Stillen;
Wer ihn selbst zum Gotte machte
Kränkte seinen heil'gen Willen.
Und so muß das Rechte scheinen
Was auch Mahomet gelungen;
Nur durch den Begriff des Einen
Hat er alle Welt bezwungen.
Und nun kommst du, hast ein Zeichen
Dran gehängt, das unter allen ...
Mir am schlechtesten will gefallen
Diese ganze moderne Narrheit
Magst du mir nach Schiras bringen!
Soll ich wohl, in seiner Starrheit,
Hölzchen quer auf Hölzchen singen?

(WA I, 6, 288 ff)

He continues with a much more powerful statement:

Mir willst du zum Gotte machen
Solch ein Jammerbild am Holze!?

It is very obvious that Goethe had left the teachings of Christianity in favour of Hafez' Islam and Sufism. He even began his later writings with the Arabic Shahada:

see picture

In his last poems, he propagated the Quranic teaching that Jesus was a prophet - the main difference between Islam and Christianity:

Ephesus gar manches Jahr schon,
Ehrt die Lehre des Propheten - Jesus. (Friede sei dem Guten!)

(WA I, 6, 269)

It is also very clear that Goethe wrote about the ISlam of Hafez, not the general Islam of the normal people.

The "dialogue between Hafez (14th century) and Goethe (19th century) is one of the most interesting themes. This "dialogue" continued with the poetry of Muhammad Iqbal.

Someone should add a few paragraphs about this.

-- 02:37, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

Thank you for the very interesting comment. However, any content about Goethe and Islam must be sourced to a secondary work. Original research is not allowed. — goethean 03:36, 16 August 2007 (UTC)
Also, how about English translations for the rest of us? El_C 03:39, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

Goethe was no more a fundamentalist Christian than Hafez was a fundamentalist Moslem. Both were considered somewhat heretical by their respective circles. That Goethe was inspired by the ghazels of Hafez is beyond dispute; but to say that Goethe left Christianity to convert to Islam is as riduculous as to say that he worshiped the Greek gods because he alluded to greek mythology in the second part of Faust. Goethe was eclectic and I think his sympathy for Hafez was that he recognised in him a kindred spirit: above sectarian strife, a lover of women(the eternal feminine) and wine.

I have no issue with mentioning this in a section about Goethe's West-Ostlicher Divan but it is revisionist history to say that Goethe "converted" to Islam.Master Cranky Hucklebubble (talk) 17:20, 6 December 2008 (UTC)Master Cranky Hucklebubble

Now the problem is that a lot of references and sources are primaly avaible in german. For example from Prof.Katharina Mommsen, who studied more then anyone else the relationship of goethe to islam. i am trying to give the english readers more transparency to this topic, but first i have to find some english sources. also, i will give you the english translation to the quotes of greetings from germany.--The Benvolio 14:00, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

Wahlverwandschaften (Elective Affinities) "semi-autobiographical"?[edit]

I think "semi-autobiographical" is much too strong a description of "Die Wahlverwandschaften". Many novels are inspired by certain real persons, events, and experiences of the author. But I have never heard anybody go remotely as far as to call Wahlverwandschaften "semi-autobiographical". —Ebab 17:10, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

Goethe: A Romantic writer?[edit]

Can we really consider Geothe to be a romantic writer? He should be considered a pre-romantic, he is closely associated with Weimar Classicism and the Sturm und Drang movements, which paved the way for the Romantic movement, but cannot truly be considered part of the Romantic movement. Dadadali 21:12, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

I completely agree here, there even is a passage in Goethe's work which proclaims the romantic movement to be "the sick" whereas the classic movement is seen as the pure and sane. So in the context of German literature is is not considered part of the romantic movement even if his work inspired a lot of romantic writers of his time. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:54, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

Measure of IQ[edit]

Could we remove the idiotic "estimated IQ" of Goethe, and its comparison with da Vinci's estimated IQ, in the introduction? Anybody feel me on this one? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:12, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

I have removed it (again). — goethean 21:19, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

I didn't see the original entry, but surely no one seriously doubts that he was a genius (any more than they would, say, Gauss, Newton and J S Mill, though they also lived before the days of psychometric testing). Meltingpot (talk) 21:25, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Repeated references[edit]

References 3 and 4 are equivalent to 6 and 7, which are equivalent to 11 and 12. I would correct this but haven't yet worked out how to make two citations point to the same reference. — metaprimer (talk) 19:31, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

Atrocious Style[edit]

I realize this is wikipedia here, and we can't expect everything, but this aricle reads rather poorly and contains inaccuraces as well as misused words. Werther has little if anything in commeon with Hamlet, for example, and the suffix "esque" has limited respectable uses outside of humor. There is an inaccurate attribution to Hippocrates (Goethe did not invert the saying) and so forth. I've tried to clean up these and other inaccuracies, and will work to massage the style into tomething more worthy of Germany's greatest literary figure.

And please please please people, can we get rid of heavily, or use it 99% less and look for a better word? And largely? Largely isn't even a word. It's a joke from the original movie of "Star Wars." Those two and -esque. That would raise Wikipedia to a new level.

In response to the above: Largely is an adverb which is a synonym for "on the whole / mainly" It has a long history in the English language. The suffix "esque" comes to English, via Old French, from Latin. It's use is largely to make reference to similarities in style, particularly in literature and comedy. These words may be overly used, but they are quite acceptable. I haven't corrected the typos in the original message; I think they speak for themselves. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:52, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

This article is a mess![edit]

Someone should translate the German page for this topic - it's far superior. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:39, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

--CRATYLUS22 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:15, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Are we allowed to do that? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:31, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Is there anybody having a look at the German article? The German version has still to be improved but it may help you to improve the English article. -- German user:H.Albatros 12:18, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

To be honest, i feel a bit irritated because my sentence on Goethe`s passion for fruitcake has bee´n erased without further explanation. I thought that this biographical information could be of use. Just like the information that nobody in his time had traveled as far as Mozart could be useful in a Mozart-related article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:32, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

I don't understand the significance of the material in the paragraph on Johanna Catharina Höhn's sentencing. Why is this important in the course of Goethe's life? I'm not saying it's unimportant, but simply that it needs to be explained, because it sounds really out of place now. JKeck (talk) 00:52, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

Goethes Wohnhaus and Goethes Gartenhaus[edit]

Is there anybody to translate der German articles de:Goethes Wohnhaus and de:Goethes Gartenhaus into English? -- German user:H.Albatros 12:18, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

how can you guys possibly neglect goethes obsession with fruitcake ? theres even a german nursery rhyme containing that important fact. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:46, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

Drowning in a sea of parentheses[edit]

From the article as it currently stands:

Goethe's father, Johann Caspar Goethe (Frankfurt-am-Main, Hessen, 29 July 1710 – Frankfurt-am-Main, Hessen, 25 May 1782), lived with his family in a large house in Frankfurt am Main, then an Imperial Free City of the Holy Roman Empire. Goethe's mother, Catharina Elisabeth Textor (Frankfurt-am-Main, Hessen, 19 February 1731 – Frankfurt-am-Main, Hessen, 15 September 1808), the daughter of the Mayor of Frankfurt Johann Wolfgang Textor (Frankfurt-am-Main, Hessen, 11 December 1693 – Frankfurt-am-Main, Hessen, 6 February 1771) and wife (married at Wetzlar, 2 February 1726) Anna Margaretha Lindheimer (Wetzlar, 23 July 1711 – Frankfurt-am-Main, Hessen, 18 April 1783, a descendant of Lucas Cranach the Elder and Henry III, Landgrave of Hesse-Marburg), married 38-year-old Johann Caspar when she was only 17 at Frankfurt am Main on 20 August 1748. All their children, except for Goethe and his sister, Cornelia Friederike Christiana, who was born in 1750, died at an early age.

Sorry, but that's completely unreadable. I don't need to know where so-and-so married so-and-so and I certainly don't need to be told that Frankfurt is in Hessen SIX times. I want to know who was related to whom and how. And that's just impossible when I keep having to look through two or three lines of dense text to find out where a parenthesis ends. PLEASE tidy this up -- and start by getting rid of all the placenames, ONE mention that they lived in Frankfurt would be sufficient. I'm not going to do it myself because I'm sure I'd end up getting the facts wrong -- it really looks to me like it's saying Anna Lindheimer was born in 1711 and married in 1748 at the age of 17, so something is clearly wrong there. (talk) 01:19, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

minor nit-pick[edit]

the article states, that goethe died in 1832, in "weimar, germany", which is factually incorrect. weimar at the time was the capital city of the duchy of saxe-weimar-eisenach. "germany" as a nation-state did not exist until much later, 1871. i'd like to change that, any comments?--Nevrdull (talk) 14:55, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Good point. Go for it. RandomTool2 (talk) 15:25, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Not true that Italian Journey omits the second year; author may have meant that the second year is not based on G's journal (but on correspondence and later -- much later -- "retrospect"). Nor does the book omit the Venice visit. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:51, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

Peerage or nobility?[edit]

The article is included in Category:German nobility, however, I wonder about the distinction betweem peerage and nobility. I see the title Freiherr mentioned for his children, so I added "peerage-work-group=yes" to the WPBiography template here on the talk page. But is it also relevant to the "Royalty and Nobility work group" of WikiProject Biography? __meco (talk) 18:11, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

Early Years in Weimar[edit]

The bulk of this section is dedicated to Goethe's complicity in the execution of a young woman (which is then contrasted with a poem he wrote that year with the intent to portray Goethe as an heartless, hypocritical S.O.B.) This is the first time I have heard of this accusation and I don't believe that it should be allowed to remain in this article without some credible sources. Master Cranky Hucklebubble (talk) 17:07, 27 November 2008 (UTC)Master Cranky Hucklebubble

Agreed. Also even with reliable source citation the story should be abridged considerably in accordance with WP:UNDUE: "An article should not give undue weight to any aspects of the subject, but should strive to treat each aspect with a weight appropriate to its significance to the subject.". --EPadmirateur (talk) 19:09, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
It is relevant insofar as the confrontation with the topic was an important inspiration for his Faust, and a feeling of guilt may have been a good part of it. Maybe the paragraph should be moved to the Faust article. However, the woman who was the direct inspiration for Gretchen was Susanna Margaretha Brandt, and she's not mentioned at all.—Graf Bobby (talk) 01:14, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

I agree that the story of Gretchen's execution was drawn from a real life incident, however the last paragraph of this section is unsourced and reads like melodrama. If true, as written, I believe that it belongs in a separate article. I am not into censorship but I do think that this paragraph does not belong in what should be a genuine overview of Goethe's life and work. I think that it should be removed on the grounds of "undue weight". I do not want to do this unilaterally, however, unless others concur.Master Cranky Hucklebubble (talk) 17:59, 6 December 2008 (UTC)Master Cranky Hucklebubble

I wouldn't say to remove it if the account was true (and if the incident arguably could have had an influence on Goethe, whether there is a reliable source for this idea or not). Rather I would like to see it cut down considerably and the melodramatic tone removed, in accordance with WP:UNDUE. --EPadmirateur (talk) 18:10, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

After doing a little cursory research on the matter: The execution of Susanna Magaretha Brandt occured in Frankfurt when Goethe was 22 years of age. He played no part in this and any guilt derived would have come from association (his uncle and his personal physician were both involved in the proceedings). The Johanna Hohn case in Weimar in 1782 appears factual as far as the timeline but I don't think that it is as cut and dried as the "off with her head!" scenario that is presented in this paragraph. There is actually, from a legal standpoint, quite a bit of scholarly speculation on the web as to whether Goethe actually voted in this case or submitted an "essay" in favor of capital punishment. (Alas, most of it is in German). Goethe apparently left no personal records regarding it. At any rate, I don't have time at present to truncate and properly source the last paragraph of this section so, snarky as it is, it will have to do.Master Cranky Hucklebubble (talk) 16:37, 7 December 2008 (UTC)Master Cranky Hucklebubble

im Arsche lecken[edit]

I removed the following:

"Although a success of less tasteful appeal, the famous line from the drama Götz von Berlichingen ("Er kann mich im Arsche lecken": "He can lick my arse") has become a vulgar idiom in many languages, and shows Goethe's deep cultural impact extending across social, national, and linguistic borders."

This is unsourced and seems very unlikely. The vulgarism seems sufficiently natural to arise of its own in various languages. More likely Goethe used an already existing vulgarism.Ekwos (talk) 03:08, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

- It's true. I have learned about it at school and you can say 'lick my arse' specifically with reference to Götz von Berlichingen even though the expression was not invented by goethe. It has become a popular quote; i assume because it was so outrageous or so unexpected from goethe. Either way, i suggest to keep it.-- (talk) 08:50, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

In fact, the strange part is the "im"(= in,within!); in German, it´s used to say " Arsch lecken." but not " Arsch...". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:17, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

But what is true is that police reports etc. refer to the said phrase as to the "Götz citation", and it is sufficiently understood if you say: "Ach du kannst mich doch Götz von Berlichingen!" (roughly: As far as I'm concerned you can götz my berlichingen.) -- (talk) 15:14, 17 June 2011 (UTC)

Time in Karlsbad[edit]

I was directed to this article from Karlsbad. There is a sort of uncited anecdote about Mozart and Goethe spending time in Karlsbad/Karlovy Vary and was hoping to learn more from the biographical entry, but no luck. ExtremeSquared (talk) 21:33, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

Place of marriage[edit]

"The next day, Goethe legitimized their relationship by marrying Christiane in a quiet marriage service at the court chapel." As far as I know, having lived in Weimar for several years, Goethe and Christiane were married in the sacristy of St. James church (Jakobskirche), while the sanctuary itself was used as a makeshift military hospital for soldiers wounded during the French attack (October 14th, 1806 being the day of Napoleon's decisive victory over the combined Prussian-Saxonian forces at nearby Jena). Stoeberer-- (talk) 15:27, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

Darwin Reference in early paragraph...who is it? Charles or Erasmus?[edit]

Goethe's influence on Nietzsche is nowhere mentioned, but aside from that I want to know why there is no first name next to Darwin in that first paragraph. Are they referring to Charles Darwin or his Grandfather Erasmus Darwin? It would seem that if they were speaking of Charles that his Grandfather had more influence on him in regards to plants as his grandfather specialized in them (not to mention he is the true father of evolution and Charles only stumbled across something his grandfather already found out.) But yes I was just curious about this and who that Darwin reference was about. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Unusualpro (talkcontribs) 00:15, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

If you click on the link, you'll see that it's a piped link to Charles, as in Darwin done like this: [[Charles Darwin|Darwin]]. Looking at the cited sources, it seems a bit exaggerated and skips the more significant general influence Goethe's ideas of morphology had during the 19th century. Something to be improved in this article. There wasn't really any "true father of evolution", and Darwin clearly made a significant contribution. . . dave souza, talk 15:48, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

Rareified philosophy[edit]

From paragraph three: "Goethe himself expressly and decidedly refrained from practicing philosophy in the rarefied sense."

"Rarefied sense"? Must we be peevish about philosophy on a page about Goethe? This vague yet judgmental phrase should be replaced. If Goethe "expressly refrained from practicing philosophy," perhaps the man can express himself via direct quotation. Thank you. Leishalynn (talk) 20:20, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Actually, the sentence might be a bit of an anachronism. I would assume that the sentence is refering to academic philosophy, as opposed to general philosophy. However, my understanding is that academic philosophy didn't exist until about the time of Hegel, and Goethe was about 20 years older than Hegel. The sentence could be the result of contemporary academic philosophers not having much use for Goethe's writings due to those philosophers' narrowness. (Sorry in advance for any perceived peevishness.) — goethean 21:41, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Goethe´s religion[edit]

In general, I find this section quite balanced, though Goethe´s relationship with Christianity could be explained a bit more. The problem comes in the last paragraph, regarding Goethe´s views on Islam.The claim is already controversial, because of its nature and because it doens´t say where Goethe wrote that. It just says that "he said to Eckermann", so I assume that the person who wrote this meant the "Conversations with Eckermann". I tried to find this text, or something similar in that work, but I couldn´t. In fact, I couldn´t find any mention to Ilsam itself.Try here, for example I also tried to find the source provided, "Pakistan as an Islamic State", by Wilfred C. Smith. I couldn´t find anything, except that Smith was a well know scholar of Islam, but not an expert on Goethe or german literature. I tried to find another sources for Goethe´s views on Islam but unfortunately they only come from islamic sites, where everything is written by islamic pseudo-scholars.In those same sites you learn that there was a buddhist porphecy for Muhamad and that America was discovered by muslims.So, We cannot trust that information. Therefore, I´ll delete that paragraph until better sources are provided.--Knight1993 (talk) 21:16, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

Found it. However, Goethe's comments are not notable enough to be included in this article, and thus I support your edit. — goethean 22:06, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

Is it permissible to point out the irony of his mausoleum's pinnacle in relation to his attitude toward the Christian cross?Lestrade (talk) 14:34, 19 May 2010 (UTC)Lestrade

Not really. WP:OR. — goethean 16:25, 19 May 2010 (UTC)


I have severely cut back the pro-Christian material attributed to Goethe by Eckermann, since it is all sourced to Eckermann and it is so clearly at odds with Goethe's published work. Both the non-Christian and the pro-Christian 'sides' should be relying on secondary materials like Boyle rather than on primary materials. — goethean 16:25, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

Hi goethean.I really don´t know why you don´t consider them reliable. In fact, they are Goethe´s own, but just writenn by his friend Eckermann.I think they are deemed reliable by most scholars. At least, Moltmann and Schweitzer think so, and Schweitzer is a very reliable scholar, a Noble prize in fact.
Besides, I think Goethe´s relationship with Christianity must be expanded a litlle more. After all, he was raised christian, in a christian country, he had christian teachers and friends, he was married in a church(Church of St Jakob in Weimar), and undoubtedly christianity influenced his work in some way. In think the old arrangement was good.The first paragreph for his negative comments on Christianity, the second for the positive ones, the third one for his pantheistic views, and the last for his views on the Hypsistarians.If you think the second paragraph is too long in comparison, I invite you to write more things in the first, and if you don´t want, I can do it myself.
I think this way everyone will be happy and satisfied.--Knight1993 (talk) 16:52, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
I really don´t know why you don´t consider them reliable.
It is because Eckermann's portrayal is compltely different than Goethe's published writings. Please use secondary material. The opinion of a historian or Goethe scholar like Boyle is much preferred and will take precedent over those of theologians. In short, you are relying on Eckermann too much. All of your material is sourced to him. Use different sources. — goethean 16:58, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
In fact, they are Goethe´s own, but just writenn by his friend Eckermann.
Eckermann's book is a portrayal of Goethe. He was an author, not a stenographer. — goethean 17:00, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Ok,I´ll use secondary sources.I hope they are not deleted after.Thanks for your time.--Knight1993 (talk) 17:07, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

Goethe and Islam[edit]

"Goethe was only 23 years old when he wrote a wonderful hymn in praise of the prophet Muhammad. But even when he was 70 years old, the poet declared quite publicly that he was considering “devoutly celebrating that holy night in which the Koran in its entirety was revealed to the prophet from on high”. Between these two dates lies a long life, during which Goethe testified in many forms to his veneration for Islam. This was expressed primarily in that work which, alongside “Faust”, we today consider one of his most essential poetic bequests: the “West-Eastern Divan”, a collection of 250 poems in an oriental style. In a pre-publication announcement of this work-in which he came closer to the orient than any German writer before or after him-we can even find the remarkable statement that the author of the book would not deny the allegation that he himself was a Muslim" From the work of Katharina Mommsen Professor Emerita, Stanford University (Endowed Chair for Literature).[1][2][3][4]

Goethe = polymath[edit]

Hi Folks, don't know if this is the right form of address, I'm new in Wikipedia, and brandnew in english wiki.

^ According to Gregory Maertz, Goethe was "Germany's greatest man of letters… and the last true polymath to walk the earth." Cf. Eliot, George (2004) [1871]. Note by editor of 2004 edition, Gregory Maertz at link. ed. Middlemarch. Broadview Press. pp. 710. ISBN 1551112337.

May be I'm too stupid, but I'm not able to follow this reference No. 1. And I don't know who Gregory Maertz, maybe Gregory Märtz is.

But I do know, that Goethe is a famous writer in Germany (with good cause or without is another matter) but his role as a natural scientist is barely known in germany. And the reason is: whatever he assumed, it was WRONG.

Not without reason germnan wikipedia says:

Er forschte und publizierte außerdem auf verschiedenen naturwissenschaftlichen Gebieten
He researched and publisched in addition on several natural science matters

No one in germany knows Goethe as a polymath (in any aspect compareable with Leorando da Vinci e.g.). If they know from his "natural scientist" hobby, they have to conclude, that the was wrong in many (most) aspects.

The only polymaths accepted in germany are Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and maybe, not listed in Universalgelehrter Alexander von Humboldt, who also researched in america.

Максим Максимович Исаев (talk) 11:04, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

Charlotte Kestner[edit]

Charlotte Kestner is erroneously referred to as an "older married woman" who inspired The Sorrows of Young Werther. She was actually about 4 years younger than Goethe, and during the events that inspired the work she was not married; Christian Kestner was her 'intended.' —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:08, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

Extremely debatable[edit]

"considered by many... one of the most important thinkers in Western culture." I don't know anybody who thinks this. What about such philosophers as Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Descartes, even Bertrand Russel more so then him. Among literary scholars Shakespeare, Eliot, Kafka, Dostoevsky, etc are all also typically considered greater. Even amongst mathematicians he is not quite as notable as someone like Newton. Either way it seems strangely WP:PEACOCK for the lead of an article, especially unsourced. I'm bringing this here instead of just editing, but this should be removed or greatly toned down. --AerobicFox (talk) 06:14, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

Okay, but Bertrand Russell? — goethean 17:11, 26 December 2010 (UTC)
Lol, I know. --AerobicFox (talk) 21:22, 26 December 2010 (UTC)
I think Goethe is considered up there among literary scholars--he would be to German what Shakespeare is to English--at least in my experience as a literature student. As for being one of the most important thinkers, I think his claim to fame is that he's the last great polymath. Notice the phrase is "thinker" and not "philosopher".... Aristophanes68 (talk) 02:25, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

It appears that you don't know very much about Goethe; in Cattell's list of 1,000 most eminent persons, Goethe was ranked number seven, placing him ahead of Newton, Milton, Luther, Caesar, Alexander the Great, and others. You also mention Goethe's mathematical achievements, yet I am not familiar with any work that Goethe had completed in this field. You cannot determine a great intellectual's standing among geniuses based solely on the general public's knowledge of that individual. More people are familiar with da Vinci and Newton than they are with Voltaire or Francis Bacon, yet it is quite arguable that the former are more salient in their achievements than the latter. Goethe's remarkable achievements to the world literature as a playwright and poet, his aptitude as a statesman and exquisite scientific achievements would certainly rank him among the likes Edmund Burke, Immanuel Kant, Spinoza, Hegel, and Galileo in the history of European thought. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:59, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

English pronunciation[edit]

How is his name pronounced in English? AuraMeter , /ˈɡiːθi/, /ˈɡeɪːθə/? And is it that obvious to native speakers, that it's not even mentioned in the article?--F. F. Fjodor (talk) 20:49, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

It's more like "ger-ta" which more accurately would be: /ˈɡœːtə/ or something close to that. In other words, something similar to the German pronunciation. --EPadmirateur (talk) 23:09, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
So they are using the phoneme /œː/ which doesn't even exist in English? That sounds untypical for the English language to me. But /ˈɡɝtə/ would sound even more strange in rhotic accents.-F. F. Fjodor (talk) 20:59, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
OK, how about /ˈɡɜrːtə/ or more simply, "ger-ta" with "er" as in "herd". --EPadmirateur (talk) 02:03, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
I heard "góthee".-- (talk) 15:29, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
As the article currently states - strange as it may be but it's indeed /ˈɡɜː(r)tə/; I guess BrE /ˈɡɜːtə/ was the primary form, which Americans approximated as /ˈɡɝtə/, and now it's the one that even some of the most educated speakers use. See: (talk) 00:25, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
Wow. How does everyone pronounce his Wolfgang von Goethe's name so wrong? It is pronounced " goo-ta' "HeinrichMueller (talk) 00:50, 6 November 2016 (UTC)


This same paragraph appears twice in this article: "In politics Goethe was conservative. At the time of the French Revolution, he thought the enthusiasm of the students and professors to be a perversion of their energy and remained skeptical of the ability of the masses to govern.[6] Likewise, he "did not oppose the War of Liberation waged by the German states against Napoleon, but remained aloof from the patriotic efforts to unite the various parts of Germany into one nation; he advocated instead the maintenance of small principalities ruled by benevolent despots.""

Please decide to delete one of them. -- (talk) 22:53, 17 October 2011 (UTC)

Eroticism not resolved[edit]

The eroticism section is extremely unbalanced; there are whole books written on Goethe's relations with women, but the section focuses on pure speculation about references and/or encounters with homosexuality. Some balance should be restored here! hgilbert (talk) 11:21, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

The section that you object to consists of two sentences. It does not seem excessive. Definitely, more should be added about Goethe's relationship with women. But I don't see the urgent need to remove anything. — goethean 17:05, 29 October 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia says everyone in history was a homosexual.HeinrichMueller (talk) 00:57, 29 October 2016 (UTC)


I'm sorry if this is something that I should already know, but is there a way to handle spoilers in the article? I just briefly skimmed through it and the ending of one of his books was totally ruined for me! I'm not sure how appropriate a spoiler's warning before the section on his notable works would be, but it would have saved me a lot more enjoyment reading The Sorrows of Young Werther! Dying2live (talk) 15:41, 6 May 2012 (UTC)

See WP:Spoiler and Wikipedia:No disclaimers in articles. Sindinero (talk) 12:10, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

Introduction about list of professional activities.[edit]

I have just edited the sentence wrongly containing "biologist, theoretical physicist, and polymath". I am very surprised to read this, it is really not rigorous. He was certainly a polymath, a personal quality but not a professional title, not in the good sentence, I have written it in another sentence. He was not a scientist, never earned any qualifications or titles, in particular "biologist and physicist", even though he was well interested and was a huge amator of sciences and more precisely natural sciences history. As I did not write anything in this article, please tell me or fix after me the correction I have proposed. Thank you. (You can refer to the article about its works and his French and Deutsch Wikipedia's articles.) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Docteur Tomate (talkcontribs) 15:41, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

This article is full of misinformation and needs to be rewritten from the ground up. Goethe should absolutely be considered a scientist. He was an honorary member of the society of natural science in Jena and an official member of Jena's professional botanical institute. He attended lectures in comparative anatomy throughout the 1780s and 1790s, collected hundreds of mineralogical specimens, consulted with experts in engineering and geology on a regular basis as part of the project to reopen Ilmenau's silver mines, toured a number of mines throughout Germany and inspected two of the first steam engines in use on the continent. He's a published scientist, other scientists have written books about his scientific works. Plain and simple. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:02, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

Hi, I have reverted your bold changes to the introduction, because I feel that the existing introduction gives a better overview of Goethe's lasting contributions to intellectual, literary and cultural history. But perhaps you are right and there should be more biographical data in the intro. I will try to move the intro in that direction without losing some of the positive features of the currently existing intro. — goethean 14:22, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

The introduction as it is is very bad. It's terribly subjective, the material that it includes is fairly arbitrary. The intoduction I wrote uses plain language, sticks to the facts, and mentions a number of his important accomplishments in politics and administration that the original introduction ignores. It's not just "biographical data", but as Boyle says, essentially an independent sphere of his artistic production. I think the introduction I wrote is much more fitting for an actual biography. The current one asserts too strongly the existence of weimar classicism, the paragraph on his political opinions is of questionable importance, and it seems pointless to cling to the assertion that he was a polymath. Of course he was a polymath. Goethe is not a great man because the wikipedia article on him calls him a polymath. My version also more greatly elaborates on his career as a privy councillor.

I know a considerable amount about Goethe, and wanted to rewrite this biography to bring it up to par. I'd be willing to do so, and to collaborate with the keepers on this page. But I very much dislike contributing to wikipedia because people are so protective of their own material. This article is bad, and it needs to be rewritten and it doesn't seem like you're objective enough to make the cuts that need to be made here. I'm going to continue editing it, and instead of just deleting all of my changes and trying to lord over what this article says, why not just post suggestions here, recommend the material that I should go back and include, and correct any mistakes I make along the way. Please don't hold this article back. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:35, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

I'm sorry that you took offense to my edit. I'm not "protecting my own writing" --- I didn't wrote the current intro, I just prefer it to yours. And I disagree with you that such things as re-opening salt mines are more important to mention than founding multiple literary movements.
Please follow WP:LEAD:
The lead should be able to stand alone as a concise overview. It should define the topic, establish context, explain why the topic is notable, and summarize the most important points—including any prominent controversies. The emphasis given to material in the lead should roughly reflect its importance to the topic, according to reliable, published sources, and the notability of the article's subject is usually established in the first few sentences. Significant information should not appear in the lead if it is not covered in the remainder of the article.
goethean 19:44, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

He didn't found any literary movements actually, and besides that I actually give a better description of weimar classicism than the original introduction. So I'm not sure what your issue is. The various administrative duties I listed are covered extensively in Boyle. Goethe never would have turned to science if he didn't open up those *silver* mines (not salt). His administration at Jena paved the way for the ascendency of Kantian philosophy. He secured the posts of both Schiller and Fichte as lecturers at the university. His various projects, like the roman villa, still stand today as important world heritage sites. He was a politician, and his career as a politician is of utmost importance in his life. I suppose it's pointless to try and make corrections to this article as I have no standing here. But the introduction I wrote is clearly backed up by some of the major academic works on Goethe, the current one is more speculative and doesn't really reflect his "contributions" to world history as much as you say it does. But I guess you're the boss of the article, and don't really have to cite any sources to back your view up. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:26, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

Everyone's welcome to contribute, and articles don't technically have 'keepers'. But in general, new material has a better chance of remaining in the article if it's done in a certain way; as tedious as it seems, it usually works a lot better to expand the body of the article first than to jump straight to the lead. Once the body of the article has been filled out with material based on good use of reliable sources, the lead can be modified to reflect this. I share your opinion that this article needs a lot of work, and it would be great to see it get to good or even featured article status. Sindinero (talk) 20:47, 6 June 2012 (UTC)


Anyone here opposed to setting up automatic archiving for this increasingly unwieldy talk page? Also, what would be the best way to integrate the manually-established archive with one that would be handled by Miszabot? I'm not terribly experienced with these things. Sindinero (talk) 07:53, 7 June 2012 (UTC)

Recent changes[edit]

I've just undid some recent changes by User: - not because I think they weren't helpful changes, but because they resulted in a corruption of the notes section. (See before and after., please keep editing, but be careful that the notes already in place aren't broken by the changes. (And if you're interested in contributing to this article and others on a longer-term basis, I'd encourage you to consider registering a user name - helps with continuity.) Cheers, and happy editing, Sindinero (talk) 08:07, 7 June 2012 (UTC)

Kant in influences[edit]

My understanding (from Boyle) is that Goethe's understanding of Kant was mediated through Schelling. If so, wouldn't it be more accurate to add Schelling rather than Kant? — goethean 11:56, 7 June 2012 (UTC)

Boyle talks about Kant's influence on Goethe throughout the whole of the second volume. Schelling doesn't enter the picture until the end of the book. Goethe understood and adapted both, you could add both Schelling and Kant to the influences. I added Kant simply to indicate Goethe's general engagement with the critical philosophy. I believe Oliver Goldsmith should also be added to the influences as well.

The introduction is much better now I think, for the last paragraph I chose some obvious examples. Could probably use work. But I think overall the opening is more accurate now than it was. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:07, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

Faust, as appears from the opening monologue, is a rather explicit answer to Kant's restrictions of reason as in the "Critic of the pure reason", and sharply opposing with a slight touch of despair. ("And see now that we cannot not a thing, which sheerly burns my heart.")-- (talk) 22:30, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

Removed from lead[edit]

The following was removed: Thoughout his life Goethe kept friendships, and corresponded with, many significant individuals. He provided encouragement to Thomas Carlyle, met with Hegel throughout the early portion of that philosopher's career, and, on one occasion, was granted an audience with Napoleon Bonaparte. -- Should it not go back in? [[ User:Hgilbert|hgilbert]] (talk) 11:25, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

I had second thoughts about it, I think the introduction should be kept succinct.


'Goethe's Message of Beauty in Our Twentieth Century World, by Friedrich Hiebel is cited in the section Scientific work. Qexigator is proposing a new article for Hiebel at [[1]], and help would be welcome.Qexigator (talk) 13:20, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

O Tannenbaum[edit]

Goethe was the first to include the Christmas tradition of a tree in a literary text: see this [ article in Folk-Lore]. This did not arise through "research"; he simply encountered the tradition, which was still common, and included it in his first novel. It's thus a bit of an exaggeration to say that "by researching folk traditions, he created many of the norms for celebrating Christmas".

I have removed the passage until further evidence of a larger context is given. If someone wants to include him being the first to mention Christmas in a literary text in this article, I have no great objection, but nor do I see that it has great significance here. hgilbert (talk) 08:50, 29 July 2012 (UTC)

Goethe's IQ[edit]

Goethe's IQ was assigned by a notable American Psychologist Catherine Cox (PhD from Stanford University). I have cited the link of her book. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rahully2j (talkcontribs) 01:52, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

Goethe and Beethoven[edit]

The article mentions that Beethoven idolized Goethe, yet Beethoven's article makes no mention of Goethe whatsoever. Darktangent (talk) 04:13, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

Lead section needs an overhaul[edit]

The lead section of this article strikes me as being way too long and not in keeping with what a lead should be as per the MoS. All that unending blue name-throwing that I don't think should be found in a lead section. The lead could be reduced by half.

Just one example of what, IMO, should be in the body of the article, and not in the lead: "There are frequent references to Goethe's various sayings and maxims throughout the course of Friedrich Nietzsche's work".--Lubiesque (talk) 22:45, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

Hi. Take a look at the last paragraph of the lead of the Shakespeare article. It discusses Shakespeare's changing reputation over he centuries. The final paragraph of the lead of this article similarly discusses Goethe's reputation, but with reference to various writers who have appropriated Goethe's writings. If you come up with an alternative paragraph that abides by Wikipedia's manual of style, I'll consider supporting it. — goethean 08:21, 10 May 2013 (UTC)

1970 exhumation[edit]

Maybe deserves a mention. [2]. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 06:36, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

Goethe nominated for vital article[edit]

I just nominated Goethe to be added to the list of vital articles on writers. See: Wikipedia_talk:Vital_articles#Induct_Johann_Wolfgang_von_Goethe.2C_remove_Fyodor_Dostoyevsky.MackyBeth (talk) 11:47, 31 August 2014 (UTC)

Goethe Religion and Politics[edit]

Editors on this page seriously need to quit undoing information that disagrees with what they want people to believe about historical figures of great eminence. The accounts I posted of Goethe's youth precede later, embellished atheistic leanings of those already used. When you continually reject them under false pretexts you betray your actual reasons for editing them.

If I am propagating false information, if there is an objective, meritorious reason for editing my contribution, than I offer the challenge to anyone to explain with cogent and coherent reasons why my contribution was undone. Thank you. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:30, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

Your contribution [3] [4][5][6][7][8][9] does not add to the article. An article of this size doesn't need three sentences about the Lisbon earthquake sourced to 88-year old scholarship along with your speculation that Goethe was actually an orthodox Christian. — goethean 23:15, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

You obviously have not learned from your last mistake; older accounts are more reliable than newer accounts because they are less susceptible to embellishment. This is a simple fact. Nowhere did I write that Goethe was an orthodox Christian, I merely posted reliable information that may be regarded as pro-Christian. I don't even know what you were trying to say in the last part of your sentence; undoubtedly some new atheist claptrap to be sure. Moreover, you have insisted upon deleting pro-Christian information in the past because it attempts to "portray" Goethe in a particular way, and in doing so betrayed your ignorance of history once again; history is an art, not a science, and all historians will undoubtedly portray any even or person in a certain way merely by writing about it or them. In the very same way, you portray Goethe at best as an extremely unorthodox Christian, or one who held a strong aversion to Christianity. Nowhere do learned, honest historians arrive at the consensus that Goethe was not a Christian, so you your claim that this is a widely held view is fictitious. The last sentence I wrote also had nothing to do with the Lisbon Earthquake, but instead was a simple historical fact, yet it was deleted too. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:48, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

Please see WP:CIVIL and WP:RS. ImprovingWiki (talk) 23:49, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

WP:CIVIL: I have treated you with respect throughout the entire process up until you explicitly ignored my attempts at arriving at common ground and inexplicably undid my writing. After trying to communicate with you about the matter further, you ignored me repeatedly, made no attempt to hear me out, but were very hasty in editing anything I wrote. So who is the one being inconsiderate and uncivil?

WP:RS: here is the source: Very early and reliable and is an ACCOUNT, not "SCHOLARSHIP," as Gothean attempted to say. Considering people often post the most ridiculous, laughable articles as sources on this webpage without anyone batting a second eye, the claim that this renown scientific study is insufficient to meet a reliability criteria would at once engender a need to delete virtually all material on any article on this webpage in order to remain consistent to your thesis. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:18, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

Heinrich Rottner??[edit]

An unsigned user added the following to the first paragraph:

All historians agree that the majority (about 67%) of his work is original, but there are some who think he relied heavily upon previous work by noted German poet and philosopher Heinrich Rottner (born Henryk Rottner) of Polish-Jewish origin. Some argue that he plagiarized as much as three-quarters of Rotter's original work.

I have no trouble believing that Goethe was guilty of plagiarism (we know he "annexed" and "adapted" the work of others for the East-Western Divan), but the text is unsigned in the first paragraph, and added in a way that made it unclear as to what parts of his work were plagiarized (Letters, poems, drawings, scientific works, or diaries?) and a cursory look through scholarly journals doesn't make the controversy immediately clear, especially for one that would appear to cover the majority of Goethe's work. If there is such a case of plagiarism, it certainly belongs here, but with citation, and not in the first pargraph.Artimaean (talk) 22:26, 23 December 2014 (UTC)

Films about Goethe could me mentioned[edit]

For example: — Preceding unsigned comment added by Marcin862 (talkcontribs) 08:24, 18 February 2015 (UTC)


The quote is from the Goethe poem cited in the reference. Sources are quoted that give fuller details. The quote should be restored.HGilbert (talk) 20:11, 17 May 2015 (UTC)


As requested in edit summaries, the work of Goethe in which the quote appears needs to be clearly identified as such, both in original German and English translation, and if the quote is retained, the context in which it was made. Alternatively, leave it out as adding nothing particular to the content, and maybe undue. Qexigator (talk) 21:34, 17 May 2015 (UTC)

  1. When there is a citation, you should check it before reverting. Twice you have asked for something that already was supplied in the citations given.
  2. Do you know the [citation needed] tag? If you still felt the article needed more information about the provenance of the quote, this would have been a good use of it.
  3. Actually, however, the quote and work from which the quote was drawn were clearly identified and supported by both the citations I had already added. In response to your first "request" (read: revert), I further added the title of the poem to clarify. You nevertheless reverted again. I have now cited the poem from which the quote is drawn to a collection of his poems. But why was it not sufficient to have two sources that already clearly supported this?
  4. Translations may be made from other languages by editors so long as they are accurate. But in this case I was using the translation from the cited text. HGilbert (talk) 23:07, 17 May 2015 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Johann Wolfgang von Goethe/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

* has a stub section and needs more referencing plange 03:08, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
  • for color wikiproject, could use more coverage of his thoughts about color (covered in Theory of Colours but probably merit more here). --jacobolus (t) 00:55, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

Last edited at 00:55, 20 September 2007 (UTC). Substituted at 20:03, 29 April 2016 (UTC)


What was Goethe's Rufname? I would gather that "Johann" is a religious honorary name, and probably not the Rufname. I have read several places that called him "Wolfgang von Goethe". This makes complete sense. Is it accurate? If so, it should be noted. I notice English wikipedia does not mark Rufname? HeinrichMueller (talk) 01:00, 29 October 2016 (UTC)

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