Monika Pelz, author of biographies about J.J.Rousseau, Simone de Beauvoir or Janusz Korczak, writes of Goethe’s life, his worldly knowledge and his philosophy in such a well-informed and exhilarating way that even Goethe experts will love it.
He is the classic per se - no education without Goethe. Yet when he wrote the first German bestsellers at the age of 20, »Götz« and »Werther«, many people found him quite provocative.
The older generation thought he was too wild, disrespectful and crude – the younger ones made him into an idol of their generation and the rebellious Storm and Stress movement. A movement that not only wanted to modernize literature and free it from the chains of conventions, but also do so for the federal system, education and the legal system. Young Goethe rejected a career as a lawyer in order to give his generation a new language – honest, powerful and genial. He did not go to Weimar as a classic and minister, but to have fun with young Duke Carl August, a mere 18 years old, and to render the area and life at court uncertain. Whether he traveled to Italy or went to war, or fell madly in love with increasingly younger women – he was always aiming at making himself younger, staying young or redefining himself.