Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

From this place, and from this day forth begins a new era in the history of the world – The Battle of Valmy

From this place, and from this day forth begins a new era in the history of the world – The Battle of Valmy

On September 20, 1792, the Battle of Valmy was fought. It was the first major victory by the army of France during the Revolutionary Wars that followed the French Revolution. Although being a small and localized victory, Valmy became a huge psychological victory for the Revolution at large. Overall, it permitted the development of the French Revolution and all its resultant ripple effects, and for that it is regarded as one of…
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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and his Theory of Colours

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and his Theory of Colours

On August 28, 1749, famous German writer and statesman Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born. Besides his merits in literature, poetry, and philosophy, that we already did acknowledge in previous articles [4,5,9], Goethe was also interested in natural sciences. He independently discovered the human intermaxillary bone in 1784, was one of the many precursors in the history of evolutionary thought, popularized the Goethe barometer using a principle established by Torricelli, and published his Theory of…
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The Sensibility of Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock

The Sensibility of Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock

On July 2, 1724, German poet Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock was born. One of his major contributions to German literature was to open it up to exploration outside of French models. Klopstock is considered an important representative of sensibility. “The God who created these fair heavens with the same facility as yon green sapling; he who hath bestowed on man a life of toil, of transient joys and fleeting pains, that he might…
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Niccoló Paganini – the Devil’s Violinist

Niccoló Paganini – the Devil’s Violinist

On May 27, 1840, Italian violinist and composer Niccolo Paganini passed away. He was the most celebrated violin virtuoso of his time, and left his mark as one of the pillars of modern violin technique. “Some creatures are completely demonic, in some parts of it are effective. […] Among artists it is found more in musicians, less in painters. In Paganini it shows itself to a high degree, which is why he produces such…
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Johann Heinrich Voss’ Translations

Johann Heinrich Voss’ Translations

On February 20, 1751, German poet and translator Johann Heinrich Voss was born. He is probably best known for his translation of Homer‘s Odyssey (1781) and Iliad (1793) into German. He also undertook, with his sons, a translation of Shakespeare which was completed in nine volumes in 1829, but this translation cannot stand a comparison with Schlegel‘s.[1] Being a native German, I know Homer‘s works only in the translation by Voss, and…
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Johann Heinrich Füssli and the Rise of Romanticism

Johann Heinrich Füssli and the Rise of Romanticism

On February 7, 1741, Swiss-English painter and publicist Johann Heinrich Füssli – in the UK better known as Henry Fuseli – was born. Many of his works, such as The Nightmare, deal with supernatural subject-matter. He painted works for John Boydell‘s Shakespeare Gallery, and created his own “Milton Gallery”. His style had a considerable influence on many younger British artists, including William Blake. “Life is rapid, art is slow, occasion coy, practice…
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Johann Lavater – Physiognomic Fragments for the Promotion of Human Knowledge and Human Love

Johann Lavater – Physiognomic Fragments for the Promotion of Human Knowledge and Human Love

On November 15, 1741, Swiss poet, writer, philosopher, physiognomist and theologian Johann Kaspar Lavater was born. He was a main representative of physiognomics in the time of Enlightenment. “Who in the same given time can produce more than others has vigor; who can produce more and better, has talents; who can produce what none else can, has genius.” – Johann Lavater, Aphorisms on Man (1788) Johann Kaspar Lavater – Family Background and Education…
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Baroness Dorothea von Rodde-Schlözer – Philosopher and Salonnière

Baroness Dorothea von Rodde-Schlözer – Philosopher and Salonnière

On August 10, 1770, German philosopher and salonnière Baroness Dorothea von Rodde-Schlözer was born. She belonged to the group of 18th century Göttingen scholar-daughters known as “university mamselles” and was the second women in Germany to officially earn a doctorate. Dorothea Schlözer – Youth and Education Dorothea Schlözer was the daughter of August Ludwig von Schlözer, a Göttingen professor of constitutional law and history, and Caroline Friederike von Schlözer (née Roederer), a painter…
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William Makepeace Thackeray’s deft Skewering of Human Foibles

William Makepeace Thackeray’s deft Skewering of Human Foibles

On July 18, 1811, English novelist William Makepeace Thackeray was born. He was famous for his satirical works, particularly Vanity Fair, a panoramic portrait of English society. During the Victorian era, Thackeray was ranked second only to Charles Dickens, but he is now much less read and is known almost exclusively for Vanity Fair, which has become a standard fixture in university courses and has been repeatedly adapted for movies and television. “Let the…
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Pierre Beaumarchais and Figaro’s Wedding

Pierre Beaumarchais and Figaro’s Wedding

On May 18, 1799, French playwright Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais passed away. Bonmarchais, who also was a watchmaker, inventor, musician, diplomat, fugitive, spy, publisher, horticulturalist, arms dealer, satirist, financier, and revolutionary (both French and American), is best known for his theatrical works, most notably the three Figaro plays. “Drinking when not thirsty and making love all the time, madam, is all that distinguishes us from other animals.” — Pierre Beaumarchais, The Marriage of Figaro…
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