Italian Journey, translated by W. H. Auden and Elizabeth Mayer ( 1962; Penguin Classics, 1970 and reprints). The work that the older Goethe composed from his documents of the time.
Erotic Poems, translated by David Luke with an introduction by Hans- Rudolf Vaget (Oxford World's Classics, 1997). Contains the Roman Elegies (see Introduction, pp. xxii-xxiii) and very properly includes the four elegies suppressed as improper in Goethe's lifetime and long afterwards, though the theory of where they would have fitted into the cycle is speculative and the renumbering unhelpful.
Selected Poems, translated by John Whaley with an introduction by Matthew Bell (Dent, 1998), gives a sense of the full range and power of Goethe's poetry.
Faust Part I, translated by David Luke (Oxford World's Classics, 1987).
Faust Part II, by the same translator (Oxford World's Classics, 1994).
Elective Affinities, translated by David Constantine (Oxford World's Classics, 1994).
Effi Biedrzynski, Goethes Weimar ( Zurich: Artemis/ Winkler, 1992): organized as a reference work but can be read as a series of elegant miniature essays on Weimar personalities, places, and institutions.
W. H. Bruford, Culture and Society in Classical Weimar 1775-1806 ( Cambridge University Press, 1962): offers a rich picture of the people, ideas, and social institutions Goethe interacted with.
George Henry Lewes, Life and Works of Goethe ( 1855): the earliest biography of Goethe in any language and still eminently readable.
Nicholas Boyle, Goethe. The Poet and the Age, vol. 1, The Poetry of Desire ( Oxford University Press, 1991): literary biography of the highest order.
Barker Fairley, A Study of Goethe ( Oxford University Press, 1947): remains one of the most coherent and persuasive accounts of how the poet's intellectual and emotional life unfolded and shaped his work.
T. J. Reed, Goethe (Oxford Past Masters, 2nd edn. 1998): a concise introduction to all aspects of Goethe's work.