Young Goethe's Works

Young Goethe's Works – Müller & Schindler – Stadt- und Landesbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)

Germany — Second half of the 18th century

School exercises, poems, dictations, and translations from the pen of a young literary genius: an early manuscript by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe with insights into his school education and family life

  1. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) is one of the greatest figures of German literary history

  2. The codex at hand represents both a record of his education and an inside view of his family life and childhood home

  3. It covers the period of March 1757 to January 1759 and is the earliest of Goethe’s writings to have survived to posterity

Young Goethe's Works

  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Young Goethe's Works

This manuscript originates from the hand of a young Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and represents a rare and valuable piece of literary history. It is a record of his studies as a schoolboy during a period of 2 years and already reveals the genius of this blossoming literary behemoth. His father, Johann Caspar Goethe, built a small fortune as a young man and beginning at the age of 35 could focus on his own intellectual pursuits as well as the education of his children. As a result, young Wolfgang’s education wanted for nothing, and he had the benefit of an impressive family library and private tutors. This allowed him to distinguish himself as an author of extraordinary quality at a young age, which was only the beginning of one of the longest and most storied careers in literary history and one that is of fundamental importance for the German language.

Young Goethe's Works

The Labores juveniles is the earliest surviving manuscript by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832), one of the greatest figures of German literary history as well as one of the most influential people of the 19th century. Although it has been rebound, this 250-year-old codex originates from the hand of the young literary genius and serves as a record of his education. The text consists mostly of translation work in German, Latin, and Greek as well as school exercises, poetry, and various dictations. Dating from March of 1757 to January of 1759, this manuscript represents the earliest of Goethe’s writings that have survived to posterity and is a rare and valuable piece of literary history.

The Life of Young Goethe

Aside from representing the earliest surviving written works from the hand of the literary genius, the manuscript offers an inside view of Goethe’s family life and childhood home, which is now a popular tourist destination in Frankfurt. Complete with an extensive private library, the Goethe family home was a center of intellectual life. His father was determined that his children would have all the advantages he did not and hired private tutors in addition to his own instruction. However, the prosperity of the family did not shield them from tragedy and all their children save for Wolfgang and his sister Cornelia did not survive childhood. Initially interested in painting, young Goethe soon focused on literature before studying history, religion, and law. Goethe was already a celebrated author at the age of 26 when was ennobled by the Duke of Saxe Weimar, Karl August (1757–1828) following the success of his novel The Sorrows of Young Werther. Over the following decades of his long and storied career, Goethe would establish himself as the greatest and most influential writer in the German language.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Labores Juveniles
Die jungen Werke Goethes
Origin
Germany
Date
Second half of the 18th century
Language

Available facsimile editions:
Young Goethe's Works – Müller & Schindler – Stadt- und Landesbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Müller & Schindler – Simbach am Inn, 2006
Facsimile Editions

#1 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Labores Juveniles

Müller & Schindler – Simbach am Inn, 2006

Publisher: Müller & Schindler – Simbach am Inn, 2006
Commentary: 1 volume by Clemens Köttelwesch
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: €€
(1,000€ - 3,000€)
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