The Goethe Centuries, 1749-1949: An Exhibition Commemorating the Bicentennial of the Birth of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, July 1, 1848-September 1, 1949

The Goethe Centuries, 1749-1949: An Exhibition Commemorating the Bicentennial of the Birth of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, July 1, 1848-September 1, 1949

The Goethe Centuries, 1749-1949: An Exhibition Commemorating the Bicentennial of the Birth of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, July 1, 1848-September 1, 1949

The Goethe Centuries, 1749-1949: An Exhibition Commemorating the Bicentennial of the Birth of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, July 1, 1848-September 1, 1949

Excerpt

It is an impossible task to present a selection of material objects in a Goethe exhibit and yet give an adequate conception of the physical extent and the intellectual intensity of the poet's total accomplishment. Goethe was, after all, the great master of those mysterious, instinctive, and intimate vibrations of feeling (in his own words, "von Menschen nicht gewusst oder nicht bedacht"), the most subtle emotions generally experienced in silence ("der Mensch in seiner Qual verstummt").

Unfortunately there are not available any pictorial representations of comparable artistic value to show Goethe's inner life. Nevertheless, the purpose of this exhibit is not merely to illustrate Goethe's life and activity in the manner of a textbook, or a detailed essay in an encyclopedia. The only solution of the problem for the Library of Congress was effectively to use whatever material might be available here and elsewhere. There could be no thought of competition with the great collections in Germany. But, the Library had an opportunity to emphasize the notable materials relating to Goethe and the United States; materials which are little known and should, therefore, be of interest to the general reader as well as to the Goethe specialist, whatever his nationality.

A loan of 93 items from the Goethemuseum in Frankfurt, Germany, makes it possible to present a rounded picture of the city of Frankfurt as it appeared in Goethe's youth. This representation includes the pompous imperial festivities which in those years--either through hearsay or by personal experience--impressed the imagination of the young poet. The environment of his student days in Leipzig and Strassburg could likewise be graphically adduced--Auerbach's Cellar, Oeser's academy of painting, and the Cathedral of Strassburg.

In the shadow of this monumental architectural wonder, Goethe was inspired and critically checked by Herder, one of the greatest minds of . . .

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