In 1771, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749--1832) went to Strasbourg to study law. There, he had a love affair that later inspired the idyllic Dichtung und Wahrheit (1814). He then practiced law in Frankfurt, where he composed The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774). Goethe accepted an invitation from the Duke of Weimar in 1775 to join his court and for a decade held various official positions there. He spent 1787 in Italy, where he wrote Iphigenie auf Tauris and worked on the first part of Faust (1808). In 1791, Goethe was appointed director of the ducal theater, a position he held for twenty-two years. In 1806, Goethe married Christiane Vulpius, the mother of his four children. In the last year of his life, Goethe completed the second part of his masterpiece, Faust. Marcelle Clements is a novelist and journalist who has contributed articles on culture, the arts, and politics to many national publications. She is the author of two books of notification, The Dog Is Us and The Improvised Woman, and the novels Rock Me and Midsummer.
"Nature has endowed [Goethe] more generously than anyone since Shakespeare."--Friedrich Schiller "[In] Werther, all the richness of [Goethe's] gift was apparent....The extreme, nerve-shattering sensitivity of the little book...evoked a storm of applause which went beyond all bounds and fairly intoxicated the world."--Thomas Mann