Why read Goethe’s poetry today? Ours is an age which prizes both individual self-development and cultural diversity. Goethe (1749-1832) was the first major poet to show how these two values could be combined. Goethe, who coined the term “world literature,” explored a wide variety of subject matter, from love and creativity, to nature and religion. For Goethe life is a process with no final answers: “All meaning is only asking.” This selection of Goethe’s poetry aims to represent its formal and thematic variety in readable verse translations.
About the authors
Graham Good resides in Vancouver and teaches English and Comparative Literature at the University of British Columbia. He has wide interests, ranging from European literature to Buddhist philosophy, and has published books on contemporary literary theory, Humanism Betrayed: Theory, Ideology and Culture in the Contemporary University (Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2001), and on the essay as a literary form, The Observing Self: Rediscovering the Essay (London and New York: Routledge, 1988).