Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, (born Aug. 28, 1749, Frankfurt am Main [Germany]—died March 22, 1832, Weimar, Saxe-Weimar), German poet, novelist, playwright, statesman, and scientist.
In 1773 Goethe provided the Sturm und Drang movement with its first major drama, Götz von Berlichingen, and in 1774 with its first novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther, an extraordinarily popular work in its time, in which he created the prototype of the Romantic hero. In 1775 he arrived at Weimar, where he accepted an appointment to the ducal court; he would remain there for the rest of his life, and his presence helped to establish Weimar as a literary and intellectual centre. His poetry includes lyrics in praise of natural beauty and ballads that echo folk themes. His contact with ancient Classical culture during an Italian sojourn (1786–88) deeply influenced his later work. From 1794 Friedrich Schiller became his most important and influential friend. Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship… read more