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By Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, Johann Peter Eckermann, J. K. Moorhead, John Oxenford, Havelock Ellis

German poet, dramatist, novelist, translator, scientist, and musician, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) was once the final common genius of the West and a grasp of global literature, the writer of The Sorrows of younger Werther, Wilhelm Meister, and Faust. Nowhere else can one come upon a extra penetrating, many-sided, and private Goethe than within the impressive Conversations (1836) via Johann Peter Eckermann (1792–1854), a German writer and pupil in addition to Goethe's pal, archivist, and editor. even though purely thirty-one while first assembly the seventy-four-year-old literary titanic, Eckermann quick committed himself to helping Goethe in the course of his final 9 years whereas by no means failing to list their far-ranging discourse. listed here are Goethe's strategies on Byron, Carlyle, Delacroix, Hegel, Shakespeare, and Voltaire, in addition to his perspectives on artwork, structure, astronomy, the Bible, chinese language literature, feedback, goals, ethics, freedom, genius, mind's eye, immortality, love, brain over physique, sculpture, and masses extra. Eckermann's Conversations—comparable to Boswell's lifetime of Samuel Johnson—allows Goethe to have interaction the reader in a voice as particular because it is entrancing.

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My superiors seemed to me men of the noblest views, and with my colleagues, some of whom had made the campaign in the same corps with me, I was soon on a footing of cordial intimacy. Being now fairly settled, I began with some freedom to look about the city, which contained much that was worth observation, and, in leisure hours, I was never weary of rambling, over and over again, about its beautiful environs. With a pupil of Ramberg's, a promising young artist, I formed a close intimacy, and he was my constant companion in my rambles.

Something of the sort happened to me, which, though insignificant in itself, gave a new turn to my life, and is therefore stamped indelibly on my memory. I sat one evening with both my parents at table by the light of a lamp. My father had just returned from Hamburg, and was talking about his business there. As he loved smoking, he had brought back with him a packet of tobacco, which lay before him on the table, and had for the crest a horse. This horse seemed to me a very good picture, and, as I had by me pen, ink, and a piece of paper, I was seized with an irresistible inclination to copy it.

His acquaintance was to me as interesting as agreeable. , Nov. 5. An evening party at Goethe's. Amongst the assembled guests was the artist Kolbe. a copy of Titian's Venus, from the Dresden Gallery. This evening, I also found with Goethe, Herr von Eschwege, and the celebrated Hummel. Hummel improvised for nearly an hour upon the piano, with a force and a talent of which it is impossible to form a conception unless one has heard him. I found his conversation simple and natural, and himself, for a virtuoso of such celebrity, surprisingly modest.

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