Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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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Adolph von Knigge and the Art of Human Relations

Adolph von Knigge and the Art of Human Relations

On May 6, 1796, Freiherr Adolph Franz Friedrich Ludwig Knigge passed away. In Germany, Knigge is best remembered for his book ‘Über den Umgang mit Menschen‘ (On Human Relations), a treatise on the fundamental principles of human relations that has the reputation of being the authoritative guide to behaviour, politeness, and etiquette. “Without inspiration, which fills the soul with a healthy warmth, nothing great can ever be brought to pass.” — Adolph…
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Georg Philipp Friedrich von Hardenberg aka Novalis

Georg Philipp Friedrich von Hardenberg aka Novalis

On March 25, 1801, poet, author, and philosopher of early German Romanticism Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg, better known under his pen name Novalis passed away. In spite of his early death at age 28, Novalis left behind a complex philosophical legacy that encompasses discussions of subjectivity and self-consciousness, issues in epistemology, moral theory, political philosophy, problems of interpretation, philosophy of history, philosophy of religion, the proto-existentialist experience of the finality…
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Friedrich Schlegel – Towards a unifying Presentation of Philosophy, Prose, Poetry, Genius and Criticism

Friedrich Schlegel – Towards a unifying Presentation of Philosophy, Prose, Poetry, Genius and Criticism

On March 10, 1772, German poet, literary critic, philosopher, philologist and indologist Friedrich Schlegel was born. A zealous promoter of the Romantic movement, together with his older brother, August Wilhelm Schlegel, he was one of the main figures of the Jena romantics. Schlegel was a pioneer in Indo-European studies, comparative linguistics, and morphological typology. “It is equally deadly to the mind to have a system and not to have one. So it…
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Goethe’s Famous Muse Charlotte von Stein

Goethe’s Famous Muse Charlotte von Stein

On December 25, 1742, Charlotte Albertine Ernestine von Stein was born. She was a lady-in-waiting at the court in Weimar and famous for being a close friend to both Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, whose work and life were strongly influenced by her. We already have had several articles on the works and life of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe at SciHi Blog.[4,5,6,7] No wonder, he was one of the most prominent German…
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The Prophet of Modern Archaeology – Joachim Winckelmann

The Prophet of Modern Archaeology – Joachim Winckelmann

On December 9, 1717, German art historian and archaeologist Johann Joachim Winckelmann was born. Winckelmann was one of the founders of scientific archaeology and first applied the categories of style on a large, systematic basis to the history of art. Joachim Winckelmann Background Joachim Winckelmann grew up in a poor family of a master shoemaker, but was highly supported by his blind school teacher, the Rector of the Stendal Latin School, Esaias…
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Thomas Carlyle and his Obsession with “Great Man”

Thomas Carlyle and his Obsession with “Great Man”

On December 4, 1795, Scottish philosopher, satirical writer, essayist, translator, historian, mathematician, and teacher Thomas Carlyle was born. Best known for his famous work On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and The Heroic in History, he argued that the key role in history lies in the actions of the “Great Man“. However, Carlyle is considered one of the most important social commentators of the Victorian era. “The weakest living creature, by concentrating his powers on…
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The Meistersinger of Nuremberg – Hans Sachs

The Meistersinger of Nuremberg – Hans Sachs

On November 5, 1494, German Meistersinger (master singer), poet, playwright, and shoemaker Hans Sachs was born. His work is considered the most important testimony of the bourgeois imperial town culture of the 16th century. What is a Meistersinger? What makes Hans Sachs so special – although you might have never heart of him – is his profession as being a ‘Meistersinger’. Actually, he is also the only ‘Meistersinger’ whose fame lasted over the…
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