Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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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The World’s most important Scientific Journal – Nature

The World’s most important Scientific Journal – Nature

On 4 November 1869, the very first issue of the prominent interdisciplinary scientific journal ‘Nature‘ was published. It is widely regarded as one of the few remaining academic journals that publish original research across a wide range of scientific fields and was ranked the world‘s most cited journal. Scientific Journals The history of scientific journals dates from 1665, when the French Journal des sçavans and the English Philosophical Transactions of the Royal…
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Georg Christoph Lichtenberg – Master of Aphorism

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg – Master of Aphorism

On July 1, 1742, German scientist, satirist and Anglophile Georg Christoph Lichtenberg was born. He is remembered best for his posthumously published notebooks, which he himself called Sudelbücher, a description modeled on the English bookkeeping term “scrapbooks”, and his aphorisms. A book is a mirror: if an ape looks into it an apostle is hardly likely to look out. We have no words for speaking of wisdom to the stupid. He who understands…
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Wilhelm von Humboldt and the Reform of Prussia’s Education System

Wilhelm von Humboldt and the Reform of Prussia’s Education System

On June 22, 1767, Friedrich Wilhelm Christian Karl Ferdinand von Humboldt was born. He was a Prussian philosopher, government functionary, diplomat, and founder of the University of Berlin. He is especially remembered as a linguist who made important contributions to the philosophy of language and to the theory and practice of education. In particular, he is widely recognized as having been the architect of the Prussian education system which was used as a…
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August Wilhelm Iffland and the Iffland Ring

August Wilhelm Iffland and the Iffland Ring

On April 19, 1759, German actor and dramatic author August Wilhelm Iffland was born. He was the most important actor of his age and is best remembered for playing the main part of Franz Moor in Friedrich Schiller‘s ‘The Robbers‘.[6] And there is this ring, the Iffland-Ring, which bears Iffland‘s likeness, and is borne by the most important German-speaking actor, as decided by his predecessor. When I first heard the story of the…
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Dreams, Travelling, and Humoresques – The Literary Life of Jean Paul

Dreams, Travelling, and Humoresques – The Literary Life of Jean Paul

On March 21, 1762, German Romantic author Johann Paul Friedrich Richter was born, better known as Jean Paul. Jean Paul is best known for his humorous novels and stories. In terms of literary history, his work stands between the epochs of Classicism and Romanticism. “Memory is the only paradise out of which we cannot be driven away.” — Jean Paul’s Geist; oder Chrestomathie, Vierter Theil [4th part], Weimar/Leipzig, 1816 Youth and Education…
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Herrad of Landsberg and the Garden of Delights

Herrad of Landsberg and the Garden of Delights

Herrad of Landsberg was a 12th-century Alsatian nun and abbess of Hohenburg Abbey in the Vosges mountains. She is known as the author of the pictorial encyclopedia Hortus Deliciarum (The Garden of Delights). Abbess of Hohenburg Abbey It is assumed that Herrad of Landsberg was born around 1130. Hohenburg Abbey, also known as Mont St Odile, was run by Abbess Relinda, a nun sent from the Benedictine monastery of Bergen in Bavaria.…
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The Phantastic Travels of Adelbert von Chamisso

The Phantastic Travels of Adelbert von Chamisso

On January 30, 1781, German poet and naturalist of French Origin Adelbert von Chamisso was born. Some of his lyrics, ballads, and romances rank among the finest in German literature. He took part in Captain Kotzebue‘s Russian polar expedition (1815-18) and his 1835 published account of it ranges among the classics of travel. In the same way as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, one of Germany‘s best known poets,[4] Adelbert von Chamisso was as well a scientist…
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