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21 June 2011 / leggypeggy

Getting to know Goethe

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a legend in his own time. As an author, he wrote novels, fairy tales, essays, literary criticisms, philosophical treatises, scientific articles, travelogues, poetry and plays. He also tried his hand at politics, architecture, town planning, landscaping and social reform. His most famous work is Faust, a lyrical retelling of the classic legend about a man who sells his soul for knowledge. Goethe took most of his life to complete it to his satisfaction, and it is still probably the most-performed piece of theatre in Germany today.

Goethe was born in Frankfurt am Main in 1749, and his house there is open to the public. We were keen to see it for its literary importance, but also because our daughter, Petra, won the Goethe award as the best first-year German language student while she was attending the Australian National University in Canberra (go ahead and blush Petra).

We didn’t look at the map when we headed to Goethe Haus, assuming it would be located on Frankfurt’s Goethestraße. Wrong! That street is home to every designer-brand shop in Frankfurt—Rolex, Armani, Gucci, Versace and scores more. We sure looked out of place in our tourist gear of shorts and T-shirts. But the map set us straight and we found the house a few streets away.

The interior is beautiful and very well kept. There’s colourful and detailed wallpapers, elaborate furniture (some reproductions, some originals), a magnificent timber and wrought iron staircase, plenty of art on the walls and a simple kitchen. The slideshow features the exterior, a few rooms and a sampling of special items (including a lovely clock that still chimes). Of course, Poor John had to steal a scene. He’s in the dining room, looking especially relieved that he doesn’t have to dust that chandelier.

By the way, there is also a Goethe Haus in Weimar in the ‘green heart’ of Germany. We didn’t make it to that house, which was his residence for more than 50 years and where he studied, researched and wrote many of his works. Apparently each room there is painted a different shade, according to Goethe’s own theories about the correlation between mood and colour.

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Leave a Comment
  1. Sy S. NYC / Jun 21 2011 7:29 am

    Nice photo, I liked the clock and detail….
    Q:1- What camera make and model and lens are you using ?


  2. leggypeggy / Jun 21 2011 8:05 am

    I have a Canon 450D and two lens— an all-purpose and a telephoto. I should know the exact sizes, but it’s midnight and I can’t remember.


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