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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe !

featured work:
Der Fischer (The Fisherman)

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"The first and last thing required of genius is the love of truth," so spake one of of history's few true geniuses. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Germany's brilliant scientist, philosopher, and poet, was born at Frankfort-on-the-Main, August 28, 1749. Originally a lawyer, Johann had an awakening while sojourning in Italy in 1786 and resolved to devote his life instead to the pursuit of truth, to poetry and science. According to Richard Allen, Goethe was to become "one of the giants of European culture, who bestrode both the age of the enlightenment and the coming era of romanticism, who produced voluminous writings on every subject and in every genre, a great poet in his deployment of the German language. He was also an accomplished theoretical physicist and his work on light and the spectrum is considered in many ways to anticipate modern wave theory and to be superior to Newton's analysis of light's behavior. His novels, especially The Sorrows of Young Werther, introduced a new mode of sensibility and "being in touch with your feelings" in the last decades of the 18th century. This is a bit hard to fathom now when you read it but again in this work he helps set the trend for a modern sensibility. It's not a coincidence the Nazi's set up an extermination camp in Buchenwald, some of Goethe's favorite forest walks near Weimar--they wished to snuff out the luminous lamp of Germany."

Quote courtesy Richard Allen of U.C. Berkeley Extension, used with permission

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