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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Roots of Naturalism
I was born in the bicentennial year of Goethe's heritage. When I discovered this eerie accident of birth, I was deeply involved in studying the writings and life of the spirit, ideas, the most famous man from my German heritage. The distant shared year of birth sent a thrill up my spine. Since that time I've enjoyed learning about Goethe's gift of life -- his "art of living" , and find so very many similarities and familial threads that speak to the value of knowing one's heritage.
Goethe was a writer, philosopher, natural scientist, family man, rebel against poor community administration, a lover of education over revolution -- and he loved to laugh and enjoy life with people he cared about.
This article will be an ongoing log of my discoveries about Goethe's life and legacy as i write about his life story...his epoch. Born in 1749 and living richly until 1832, Goethe witnessed the French Revolution, the uncovering of Pompeii, the opening of the new world via the U.S.A....and many scientific, artistic and cultural twists and turns. Enjoy walking into the dawn of discovery as we explore this highpoint in German cultural life.
The educated world knows Goethe primarily as the author/poet of Faust, Werther, and Wilhelm Meister, but he is not generally acknowledged for his scientific achievements:
Toward the end of his life Goethe wrote, For more than a half century I have been known as a poet, in my own country and undoubtedly also abroad; or at any rate I have been permitted to pass for one. But the fact that I have busily occupied myself with Nature in all her physical and organic phenomena, constantly and passionately pursuing seriously formulated studies--this is not so generally known; still less has it been accorded any attention.
Goethe's Botanical Writings
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