German writer and statesman Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

(1749 - 1832)

Having returned to Frankfurt from Leipzig University in 1768, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe began studying the alchemical writings of Paracelsus and Basil Valentine and performing experiments in his own laboratory. The poet, statesman, playwright, novelist, and scientist began his masterwork Faust around 1771, publishing Faust: A Fragment in 1790 and Faust: Part One eighteen years after that.

All Writing

I have learned much from disease which life could never have taught me anywhere else.

—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1830

The world is for thousands a freak show; the images flicker past and vanish.

—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1776

We are so constituted that we believe the most incredible things, and once they are engraved upon the memory, woe to him who would endeavor to erase them.

—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1774

Water its living strength first shows, / When obstacles its course oppose.

—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1815

The deed is everything, the glory naught.

—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1832

Traveling is like gambling: it is ever connected with winning and losing, and generally where least expected we receive more or less than we hoped for.

—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1797

Wood burns because it has the proper stuff in it, and a man becomes famous because he has the proper stuff in him.

—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, c. 1790

Anyone who doesn’t know foreign languages knows nothing of his own.

—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1821

The affairs of the world are no more than so much trickery, and a man who toils for money or honor or whatever else in deference to the wishes of others, rather than because his own desire or needs lead him to do so, will always be a fool.

—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1774

A true German can’t stand the French, / Yet willingly he drinks their wines.

—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1832

Issues Contributed