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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)

Go BackGerman Poet, Proto-Phenomenologist
Philosophy Books Theory of Colors

Theory of Colours
by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

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Nature's Open Secret : Introductions to Goethe's Scientific WritingsNature's Open Secret : Introductions to Goethe's Scientific Writings by Rudolf Steiner, John Barnes (Translator), Mado Spiegler (Translator)

Rudolf Steiner was originally known as an interpreter of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. At the age of twenty-one, Steiner was asked to be the editor of Goethe's scientific writings for a new collection of Goethe's complete works. It was by thoroughly assimilating and appropriating Goethe's way of thinking that Steiner began his own training in epistemology and spiritual science.

Natural science had created a powerful tool for understanding the inorganic world, but failed to comprehend the phenomenon of life. Goethe discovered how thinking could be applied to organic nature, and he understood that this experience requires not rational concepts but a whole new way of perceiving. Steiner develops Goethe's theory of knowledge in remarkable ways, and we see here the seeds of all that flowered into Steiner's spiritual science. Also included is an essay on participatory science by John Michael Barnes

RUDOLF STEINER (1861-1925) became a respected and well-published scientific, literary, and philosophical scholar, particularly known for his work on Goethe's scientific writings. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he began to develop his earlier philosophical principles into an approach to methodical research of psychological and spiritual phenomena. His multifaceted genius has led to innovative and holistic approaches in medicine, philosophy, religion, education (Waldorf schools), special education (the Camphill movement), economics, agriculture (biodynamics), science, architecture, and the arts (drama, speech and eurythmy). In 1924 he founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which has branches throughout the world.

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coverGoethe's Faust by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe.  

The best translation of Faust available, this volume provides the original German text and its English counterpart on facing pages. Walter Kaufmann's translation conveys the poetic beauty and rhythm as well as the complex depth of Goethe's language. Includes Part One and selections from Part Two.   


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The Goethe Society of North America
The Goethe Society of North (Archived) America was founded in December 1979 in San Francisco as a non-profit organization dedicated to the encouragement of research on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) and his age.

As a learned society, the organization seeks to:

  1. Stimulate a reappraisal of the pertinence of Goethe's thought in modern times;
  2. foster scholarly lectures and symposia about Goethe and his age;
  3. develop extensive research facilities for the study of eighteenth-century literature and culture; and
  4. re-emphasize Goethe's concept of world literature and his continuing importance throughout the civilized world.


Goethe:  Works (Archived)
Site maintained by Gonçalo L. Fonseca.  Find several of Goethe's works in both German and English. Includes a bibliography.

Site Includes:

  • The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774)
  • Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship (1796) - Selection (1)
  • Faust: Part One (1808)
  • The Elective Affinities (1810)
  • Wilhelm Meister's Wanderings (1822) - Selections (1),
  • Poetry and Truth (1811) - Selection (1)
  • Reynard the Fox
  • Novelle
  • Selected Poems
  • Faust: Part Two (1833)

In English Translation:

  • Bibliography of Goethe
  • Egmont (1788) (Anna Sanwick transl.)
  • The Soothsayings of Bakis (1798)
  • Faust: Parts One and Two (1808, 1832) (Madison Priest transl., incomplete) - Copy (2), (3), (4).
  • Faust: Part One (1808) (Anna Sanwick transl.)
  • The Poems of Goethe (Edgar Alfred Bowring transl.)
  • The Diary (1810)
  • Divan of West and East (1814-18)
  • Selected Poems
  • Roman Elegies I-VIII.
  • On Byron's Manfred, 1820.
  • Goethe on the Art of Life
  • Goethe on Renunciation

Also:  Works in German


Translations of Goethe's Works (Archived)
  • Phillip's Translation of Erlkonig:Von Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe - Translation from German to English
  • Phillip's Translation of Gefunden:Von Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe - Translation from German to English
  • Phillip's Translation of Der Zauberlehrling:Von Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe - Translation from German to English
  • Der Schatzgräber - von Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - Phillip's translation of Der Schatzgräber, from German to English
  • Phillip's Translation of Der Prometheus:Von Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe - Translation from German to English
  • Phillip's Translation of Der Fischer: Von Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe - Translation from German to English
  • Phillip's translation of short Poem/Play: Der Wandrer - English version of the Play von: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Freedom's Nest:  Goethe Quotes  (Archived)
  • abstractions admiration assumptions
  • beliefs brilliance
  • causation chance change complacency complexity
  • convictions creativity
  • ego egotism elitism
  • falsehood
  • genius greatness growth
  • habit happiness
  • ignorance independence innovation intelligence intolerance
  • lies limits love
  • majorities masses minorities miracles mysteries
  • nationalism nature necessity new ideas
  • opportunity
  • partiality praise problems progress
  • rainbows religion respect ruthlessness
  • self-deception senses sickness sincerity skill solutions
  • subconscious
  • truth
  • understanding
  • vanity


The Alchemical Drama of Goethe's Faust
Adam McLean explores the potential presence of Hermetic themes and meanings in the classic German parable.  


The alchemy in Goethe’s Faust is central to its dramatic conception, and is not merely added for effect. For Goethe’s working of the Faust story differs from other dramas based on the archetypal legend of a conjuror who sells his soul to the devil, sealing his pact with a drop of blood, ultimately to suffer the fires of Hell, in that Goethe reveals through his drama various transformational processes working in the human soul, personified in Faust. Goethe struggles to weave the personal inner journey of Faust towards some enlightenment, together with the collective social forces that are undergoing transformation through the historical process, so here Faust is also a representative of Northern European humanity striving for evolution from the limitations and strictures of the 16th century Reformation to the new aspirations of humanity that Goethe saw developing during the 18th century Enlightenment era.


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Biography  
Short biography by Peter Landry at


It is difficult to know where to place Goethe: he was a German writer, the leader of the German Romantic movement; he was a philosopher; but, foremost, he was a scientist...


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