Quotations From JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE


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  • National literature does not mean much these days; now is the age of world literature, and every one must contribute to hasten the arrival of that age.
    Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet, dramatist. Conversations with Eckermann (January 1, 1827).

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  • One of the most striking signs of the decay of art is when we see its separate forms jumbled together.
    Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet, dramatist. Propyläen, introduction (1798). A periodical founded by Goethe which took its title from the gateway to the Acropolis of Athens.

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  • If you don't know foreign languages, you don't know anything about your own.
    Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet, dramatist. Art and Antiquity, III, 1 (1821).
  • No wonder that all of us feel at home with mediocrity since it leaves us in peace; it gives us the comforting feeling as if one were in the company of one's equals.
    Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet, dramatist. Art and Antiquity, V, 3 (1826).

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  • One of the most striking signs of the decay of art is the intermixing of different genres.
    Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet, dramatist. Propylaea, introduction (1798).
  • More light!
    [Mehr Licht!]
    Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet, dramatist. Attributed last words. According to Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, ed. Angela Partington (1992), Goethe's actual last words were: "Open the second shutter, so that more light can come in."

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  • Error is acceptable as long as we are young; but one must not drag it along into old age.
    Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet, dramatist. Art and Antiquity, III, 1 (1821).
  • One usually thinks people to be more dangerous than they are.
    Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet, dramatist. Elective Affinities, bk. II, ch. 6, from Ottilie's Diary (1809).

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  • Certain faults are necessary for the existence of the individual. We would resent it if old friends were to get rid of certain peculiarities.
    Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet, dramatist. Elective Affinities, bk. II, ch. 4, from Ottilie's Diary (1809).
  • Everything perfect in its kind has to transcend its own kind, it must become something different and incomparable. In some notes the nightingale is still a bird; then it rises above its class and seems to suggest to every winged creature what singing is truly like.
    Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet, dramatist. tr. 1988; Persea Books (1989). Elective Affinities, bk. 2, ch. 9, from Ottilie's Diary (1809).

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