Paper: An Introduction to the Life and History of Goethe

" Footnote: Magill, C.P., German Literature (Great Britain, Oxford University Press, 1974) 50. It was probably in Weimar that Goethe developed his liking for politics. In any case he learned to think of it as his home. As he traveled even more, he grew severely ill and was forced to return home from Leipzig. During the time of this illness he experimented with religious mysticism, alchemy, astrology, and occult philosophy, all of which is evident in Faust. Upon his recovery, Goethe decided to continue his studies at Strassburg which would have a great impact on his life. “When he returned to Weimar at last, he fell into a deep relationship with Charlotte von Stein. He wrote many volumes of letters--1800 of them to Frau von Stein alone." Footnote: Magill, 46. At this time Goethe wrote a large part of his works such as Die Geschwister, Der Triumph der Eempfindsamkeit, and books of poetry. His affair with Frau von Stein was not enough, however, to inspire such great works such Egmont, Faust, Tasso, and Iphigenie. It was his visit to Italy that helped him create such masterpieces. Most of his journey to Italy was spent at Rome and it was a turning point of his life. This journey had no affect on him, however, what Magill says about this is the following: “It would be misleading to say that the experience changed him, for he saw in Italy only what he wanted to see and took from it only what he needed. But he acquired, through the impact of the Italian landscape with its wealth of clear-cut forms..." Footnote: Magill, 49. After this journey he wrote Italienische Reise in which he expressed his enjoyment of the Italian landscape. As the years went on, and the French Revolution occurred, Goethe began an active political life....