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These quotes are for here and now. This is a Goethe for today, alive and kicking — writing about love, life and how to stay true to yourself. Here are sentences that are funny, provocative, weird — with truths we’ve known but long forgotten and odd perspectives we want to reject. A chance to stop. And think.
About our translations
Often we begin with a 19th century translation and tweak it, sometimes more, sometimes less. Other times, we come up with our own translation from scratch. And sometimes we find a previously published translation with no copyright restrictions that’s already perfect. If you want to know the translator or the source of a specific quote, you can search for it by number or keywords. For mobile, use the general search function, for laptop/desktop use the search widget at the upper right.
If you want to read more by Goethe, here are some suggestions:
- Maxims and Reflections. More than 1,000 sayings.
- The Sorrows of Young Werther. Novel. An unhappy love story that made Goethe famous overnight.
- Faust (Part One). Play. Goethe’s tragic masterpiece about a scholar who makes a deal with the devil and unintentionally causes the death of his beloved. A book about the danger in the search for absolute knowledge while losing your humanity.
- Selected poems. Goethe is not only famous for his novels and plays. He wrote some of the most beautiful poems in German language. But, alas, translations of poems are always iffy.
- From my Life: Poetry/Fiction and Truth. Goethe’s autobiography of his first 26 years.
- Conversations with Goethe. A record of his conversations with J.P. Eckermann during the last nine years of Goethe’s life. Nietzsche famously called it “the best German book there is.”