Friday, August 28, 2009

The Sorrows

Today's hero is the well posed fellow above, one Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, born this day 1749 in Frankfurt, Germany. Well technically it was not "Germany" yet, but still you get the idea. An incredibly brilliant fellow, he was a true master of many trades. A fulsome writer, an outstanding scientist, and a fantastic lawyer were just some of the many skills he possessed. He is probably best known for writing Faust, and for bringing the idea of selling your soul to the devil for all knowledge. Until I found Goethe one day in the library I merely thought that Mephistopheles was just part of some song by the Police. Took me quite by surprise when I looked that stuff up in the good old World Book Encyclopedia. Credited with founding the Romantic movement in Germany, our boy Goethe was much more than just a writer of blindly good tales. He was also interested in mineralogy, and has a mineral named after him. His other famous work is The Sorrows of Young Werther, a lovely tale that I can not recommend highly enough. It was the book that put him on the map, and on the way to super stardom in the literary world. He later repudiated many of the ideas espoused in the Sorrows, but it still makes excellent reading. His influence on all sorts of different writers in all kinds of fields was immense, and he is consider Germany's finest writer, and that is against some pretty good competition. I must confess a lot of his Theory of Colours stuff and his science work sails right over my head, and his art criticism is pearl before swine in regards to me,but for teaching me that the Sorrows of Young Werther are not just Young Werther's sorrows, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (August 28th, 1749-March 22nd 1832), you are my hero of the day.

1 comment:

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