Top Goethe Quotes

Browse top 44 famous quotes and sayings about Goethe by most favorite authors.

Favorite Goethe Quotes

1. "Toate gloriile sunt efemere. Din punctul de vedere al lui Sirius, în zece mii de ani operele lui Goethe vor fi pulbere si tarîna si numele lui uitat. Cîtiva arheologi poate vor mâi cauta «marturii» despre epoca noastra. Gîndul acesta a fost întotdeauna plin de învataminte. Daca ne oprim îndeajuns asupra lui, din tot zbuciumul nostru nu mai ramîne decît nobletea adînca pe care o aflam în indiferenta. El ne îndreapta mai cu seama spre ceea ce este mai sigur, adica spre imediat. Din toate gloriile, cea mai putin înselatoare este cea traita."
Author: Albert Camus
2. "The actor's realm is that of the fleeting. Of all kinds of fame, it is known, his is the most ephemeral. At least, this is said in conversation. But all kinds of fame are ephemeral. From the point of view of Sirius, Goethe's works in ten thousand years will be dust and his name forgotten."
Author: Albert Camus
3. "Goethe's Faust risks all if he should cry to the moment, the 'augenblick', "Verweile doch!" "Last forever!" Who hasn't prayed that prayer? But the 'augenblick' isn't going to 'verweile'. You were lucky to get it in the first place. The present is a freely given canvas. That it is constantly being ripped apart and washed downstream goes without saying; it is a canvas, nevertheless."
Author: Annie Dillard
4. "I really detest those people who like to draw practical conclusions from scholarly truths, who 'apply learning to real life', like engineers who turn to propositions of chemistry into insecticides for bedbugs. It translates, in Goethe's words, as: 'life is grey, but the golden tree of theory is always green'."
Author: Antal Szerb
5. "Bu bagimsiz, kendi kendine yeten zihinsel varolus tarzinin bir örnegini Goethe'nin hayatinda görürüz. Champagne'daki savas esnasinda, harbin bütün kargasasi ve kesmekesi ortasinda o renk teorisi için gözlemler yapiyordu ve bu savasin sayisiz felaketleri kisa bir süre için Luxemburg satosuna çekilmesine izin verir vermez Renk Ögretisi'ni yazmaya koyulmustu. Böylece o bizlere takip etmemiz gereken bir örnek, bir ülkü birakmisti: Yeryüzünün tadi tuzu olarak bizler dünyanin selleri firtinalari, yanimizi yöremizi istila etse de, zihinsel hayatimizin gereklerinin pesinde kosarken bizi asla hiçbir seyin rahatsiz etmesine izin vermemeli ve köle kadinin degil, özgür kadinin çocuklari oldugumuzu hiçbir zaman aklimizdan çikarmamaliyiz. 'Sallanmis, sarsilmis fakat meyveleri dalinda' özdeyisiyle birlikte kalkanlarimiza islenmek üzere bir arma olarak rüzgarin alabildigine sarsip salladigi, fakat her seye ragmen kipkirmizi meyvelerini dallarindan dökemedigi bir agaci öneriyorum."
Author: Arthur Schopenhauer
6. "The division of our culture is making us more obtuse than we need be: we can repair communications to some extent: but, as I have said before, we are not going to turn out men and women who understand as much of their world as Piero della Francesca did of his, or Pascal, or Goethe. With good fortune, however, we can educate a large proportion of our better minds so that they are not ignorant of the imaginative experience, both in the arts and in science, nor ignorant either of the endowments of applied science, of the remediable suffering of most of their fellow humans, and of the responsibilities which, once seen, cannot be denied."
Author: C.P. Snow
7. "The same sensitivity that opens artists to Being also makes them vulnerable to the dark powers of non-Being. It is no accident that many creative people--including Dante, Pascal, Goethe, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Beethoven, Rilke, Blake, and Van Gogh--struggled with depression, anxiety, and despair. They paid a heavy price to wrest their gifts from the clutches of non-Being. But this is what true artists do: they make their own frayed lives the cable for the surges of power generated in the creative force fields of Being and non-Being. (Beyond Religion, p. 124)"
Author: David N. Elkins
8. "Upon the publication of Goethe's epic drama, the Faustian legend had reached an almost unapproachable zenith. Although many failed to appreciate, or indeed, to understand this magnum opus in its entirety, from this point onward his drama was the rule by which all other Faust adaptations were measured. Goethe had eclipsed the earlier legends and became the undisputed authority on the subject of Faust in the eyes of the new Romantic generation. To deviate from his path would be nothing short of blasphemy."
Author: E.A. Bucchianeri
9. "When conditions are such that life offers no earthly hope, somewhere somehow, men must find refuge. Then they fly from the terror without to the citadel within, which famine and pestilence and fire and sword cannot shake. What Goethe calls the inner universe, can live by its own laws, create its own security, be sufficient unto itself, when once reality is denied to the turmoil of the world without."
Author: Edith Hamilton
10. "We were trained in the army for ten weeks and in this time more profoundly influenced than by ten years at school. We learned that a bright button is weightier than four volumes of Schopenhauer. At first astonished, then embittered, and finally indifferent, we recognised that what matters is not the mind but the boot brush, not intelligence but the system, not freedom but drill. We became soldiers with eagerness and enthusiasm, but they have done everything to knock that out of us. After three weeks it was no longer incomprehensible to us that a braided postman should have more authority over us than had formerly our parents, our teachers, and the whole gamut of culture from Plato to Goethe."
Author: Erich Maria Remarque
11. "Não sou, como disse Goethe, o espírito que nega, mas o espírito que contraria. (...) Porque contrariar actos, por maus que sejam, é estorvar o giro do mundo, que é acção. Mas contrariar ideias é fazer com que se abandonem, e se caia no desalento e de aí no sonho e portanto se pertença ao mundo"
Author: Fernando Pessoa
12. "Music is the same to me as it was to Goethe - a pleasant noise. I am an eye man, not an ear man."
Author: Fritz Lang
13. "We know that a man can read Goethe or Rilke in the evening, that he can play Bach and Schubert, and go to his day's work at Auschwitz in the morning."
Author: George Steiner
14. "Yes, there are in me the makings of a very fine loafer, and also of a pretty spry sort of fellow. I often think of those lines of old Goethe: 'Schade, daß die Natur nur einen Menschen aus dir schuf; Denn zum würdigen Mann war und zum Schelmen der Stoff.'"
Author: Goethe
15. "I am no longer a divine biped. I am no longer the freest German after Goethe, as Ruge named me in healthier days. I am no longer the great hero No. 2, who was compared with the grape-crowned Dionysius, whilst my colleague No. 1 enjoyed the title of a Grand Ducal Weimarian Jupiter. I am no longer a joyous, somewhat corpulent Hellenist, laughing cheerfully down upon the melancholy Nazarenes. I am now a poor fatally-ill Jew, an emaciated picture of woe, an unhappy man."
Author: Heinrich Heine
16. "Not like Homer would I write,Not like Dante if I might,Not like Shakespeare at his best,Not like Goethe or the rest,Like myself, however small,Like myself, or not at all."
Author: Homer
17. "Exactly. We know that the great Goethe carried a copy of Spinoza's Ethics in his pocket for a year. Imagine that—an entire year! And not only Goethe but many other great Germans. Lessing and Heine reported a clarity and calmness that came from reading this book. Who knows, there may come a time in your life when you, too, will need the calmness and clarity that Spinoza's Ethics offers. I shan't ask you to read that book now. You're too young to grasp its meaning. But I want you to promise that before your twenty-first birthday you will read it. Or perhaps I should say, read it by the time you're fully grown. Do I have your word as a good German?"
Author: Irvin D. Yalom
18. "Our souls are made of water, Goethe says. So too, our bodies. There is a flow within us, rising and falling, unidirectional, to the heart. there is a flow without also. We circulate. We are drawn up, and we fall back down to earth again. It's all haemodynamics."
Author: J.M. Ledgard
19. "Like Goethe at 80, you know the futility of love and you shrug--you shrug away the warm kiss"
Author: Jack Kerouac
20. "...in one sense the drinker learns wisdom, in the words of Goethe or Blake or whichever it was "The pathway to wisdom lies through excess" (p. 113)"
Author: Jack Kerouac
21. "...because in one sense the drinker learns wisdom, in the words of Goethe or Blake or whichever it was "The pathway to wisdom lies through excess"
Author: Jack Kerouac
22. "Wolfgang von Goethe:"A man can stand anything, except a succession of ordinary days."
Author: Jacqueline Winspear
23. "For the narrative to exist, so that it could be read and reread even if I was taken away. Stories outlive their writers all the time. We know plenty about Goethe and Charles Dickens from what they chose to tell, even though they have been dead for years."
Author: Jodi Picoult
24. "Art is bad when ‘you see the intent and get put off.' (Goethe) In Tolstoy one is unaware of the intent, and sees only the thing itself. from the book, On Retranslating A Russian Classic Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy"
Author: Joel Carmichael
25. "If you would create something,you must be something.Johann Wolfgang von Goethe"
Author: Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
26. "Mistrust all those in whom the desire to punish is imperative - Goethe"
Author: Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
27. "It is ever true that he who does nothing for others, does nothing for himself." ~ Goethe"
Author: Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
28. "Everyone has to work out his own destiny. - Goethe"
Author: Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
29. "To read great books does not mean one becomes ‘bookish'; it means that something of the terrible insight of Dostoyevsky, of the richly-charged imagination of Shakespeare, of the luminous wisdom of Goethe, actually passes into the personality of the reader; so that in contact with the chaos of ordinary life certain free and flowing outlines emerge, like the forms of some classic picture, endowing both people and things with a grandeur beyond what is visible to the superficial glance."
Author: John Cowper Powys
30. "The German poet Goethe once said that "he who cannot draw on three thousand years is living from hand to mouth." I don't want you to end up in such a sad state. I will do what I can to acquaint you with your historical roots. It is the only way to become a human being. It is the only way to become more than a naked ape. It is the only way to avoid floating in a vacuum."
Author: Jostein Gaarder
31. "Dandies, who – as you know - scorn all emotions as being beneath them, and do not believe, like that simpleton Goethe, that astonishment can ever be a proper feeling for the human mind."
Author: Jules Amédée Barbey D'Aurevilly
32. "Existential envy which is directed against the other person's very nature, is the strongest source of ressentiment. It is as if it whispers continually: "I can forgive everything, but not that you are— that you are what you are—that I am not what you are—indeed that I am not you." This form of envy strips the opponent of his very existence, for this existence as such is felt to be a "pressure," a "reproach," and an unbearable humiliation. In the lives of great men there are always critical periods of instability, in which they alternately envy and try to love those whose merits they cannot but esteem. Only gradually, one of these attitudes will predominate. Here lies the meaning of Goethe's reflection that "against another's great merits, there is no remedy but love."
Author: Max Scheler
33. "The power of literature, I've always thought, lies in how willful the act of making it is. As such, I've never bought into the idea that the writer requires any special ritual in order to write. If need be, I could write almost anywhere, as easily in an ashram as in a crowded cafe, or so I've always insisted when asked whether I write with a pen or a computer, at morning or night, alone or surrounded, in a saddle like Goethe, standing like Hemingway, lying down like Twain, and so on, as if there were a secret to it all that might spring the lock of the safe housing the novel, fully formed and ready for publication, apparently suspended in each of us."
Author: Nicole Krauss
34. "Sacrifice of the self is the source of all humiliation, as also on the contrary is the foundation of all true exaltation. The first step will be an inward gaze—an isolating contemplation of ourselves. Whoever stops here has come only halfway. The second step must be an active outward gaze—autonomous, constant observation of the external world.No one will ever achieve excellence as an artist who cannot depict anything other than his own experiences, his favorite objects, who cannot bring himself to study assiduously even a quite strange object, which does not interest him at all, and to depict it at leisure. An artist must be able and willing to depict everything. This is how a great artistic style is created, which rightly is so much admired in Goethe."
Author: Novalis
35. "Nu vreau sa cred ca suferintele sanctifica si ca înfrângerile sunt necesare. De ce ar trebui sa ne apropiem de adevar numai plini de rani? De ce ar trebui sa fim sfâsiati de un vultur ca sa avem curaj? Oare fericirea nu e apta sa ne învete ceea ce ne învata suferinta? Nu exista un drum spre arta si spre noi însine care sa nu treaca prin infern? Nu poate ajunge la cer cine n-a strabatut pamântul si iadul, scria Goethe. Dar îl putem cita linistiti? Trebuie sa ne temem de fericire, daca vrem sa atingem înaltimile din noi?"
Author: Octavian Paler
36. "I foresee,' said Goethe, ‘the dawn of a new literature which all people may claim as their own, for all have contributed to its foundation.' If, then, this is so, and if the materials for a civilisation as great as that of Europe lie all around you, what profit, you will ask me, will all this study of our poets and painters be to you? I might answer that the intellect can be engaged without direct didactic object on an artistic and historical problem; that the demand of the intellect is merely to feel itself alive; that nothing which has ever interested men or women can cease to be a fit subject for culture."
Author: Oscar Wilde
37. "For the various spiritual forms of the imagination have a natural affinity with certain sensuous forms of art - and to discern the qualities of each art, to intensify as well its limitations as its powers of expression, is one of the aims that culture sets before us. It is not an increased moral sense, an increased moral supervision that your literature needs. Indeed, one should never talk of a moral or an immoral poem - poems are either well written or badly written, that is all. And, indeed, any element of morals or implied reference to a standard of good or evil in art is often a sign of a certain incompleteness of vision, often a note of discord in the harmony of an imaginative creation; for all good work aims at a purely artistic effect. ‘We must be careful,' said Goethe, ‘not to be always looking for culture merely in what is obviously moral. Everything that is great promotes civilisation as soon as we are aware of it."
Author: Oscar Wilde
38. "This is that CONSOLATION DES ARTS which is the key-note of Gautier's poetry, the secret of modern life foreshadowed - as indeed what in our century is not? - by Goethe. You remember what he said to the German people: ‘Only have the courage,' he said, ‘to give yourselves up to your impressions, allow yourselves to be delighted, moved, elevated, nay instructed, inspired for something great.' The courage to give yourselves up to your impressions: yes, that is the secret of the artistic life - for while art has been defined as an escape from the tyranny of the senses, it is an escape rather from the tyranny of the soul. But only to those who worship her above all things does she ever reveal her true treasure: else will she be as powerless to aid you as the mutilated Venus of the Louvre was before the romantic but sceptical nature of Heine."
Author: Oscar Wilde
39. "Leatherbound books are an expensive form of wallpaper, and yet every English nobleman's home seems to have had them. Their endless sets of the works of Cooper and Scott and Goethe, in finely tanned bindings with marbled endpapers, all end up with this sort of dealer sooner or later. I look through a set of Cooper and, without surprise, find uncut pages: these books were never actually read."
Author: Paul Collins
40. "The great prophetic work of the modern world is Goethe's Faust, so little appreciated among the Anglo-Saxons. Mephistopheles offers Faust unlimited knowledge and unlimited power in exchange for his soul. Modern man has accepted that bargain. . . .I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand. Faust's error was an aspiration to understand, and therefore master, things which, by God or by nature, are set beyond the human compass. He could only achieve this at the cost of making the achievement pointless. Once again, it is exactly what modern man has done."
Author: Robert Aickman
41. "Goethe died in 1832. As you know, Goethe was very active in science. In fact, he did some very good scientific work in plant morphology and mineralogy. But he was quite bitter at the way in which many scientists refused to grant him a hearing because he was a poet and therefore, they felt, he couldn't be serious."
Author: Stephen Jay Gould
42. "Auf Goethe, den philosophischen Kleinbürger, auf Goethe, den Lebensopportunisten, von welchem Maria immer gesagt hat, daß er die Welt nicht auf den Kopf gestellt, sondern den Kopf in den deutschen Schrebergarten gesteckt hat. Auf Goethe, den Gesteinsnummerierer, den Sterndeuter, den philosophischen Daumenlutscher der Deutschen, der ihre Seelenmarmelade abgefüllt hat in ihre Haushaltsgläser für alle Fälle und alle Zwecke. Auf Goethe, der den Deutschen die Binsenwahrheiten gebündelt und als allerhöchstes Geistesgut durch Cotta hat verkaufen und durch die Oberlehrer in ihre Ohren hat schmieren lassen, bis zur endgültigen Verstopfung. [...] Allen verdirbt er den Magen, sagte ich, nur den Deutschen nicht, sie glauben an Goethe wie an ein Weltwunder. Dabei ist dieses Weltwunder nur ein philiströser philosophischer Schrebergärtner. [...] In nichts hat Goethe das Höchste geleistet, sagte ich, in allem nur das Mittelmaß zustande gebracht."
Author: Thomas Bernhard
43. "You have never spent any time in theatrical circles, have you? So you do not know those thespian faces that can embody the features of a Julius Caesar, a Goethe and a Beethoven all in one, but whose owners, the moment they open their mouths, prove to be the most miserable ninnies under the sun."
Author: Thomas Mann
44. "Aber für ihn war Musik - Musik, wenn es eben nur welche war, und gegen das Wort von Goethe: 'Die Kunst beschäftigt sich mit dem Schweren und Guten' fand er einzuwenden, daß das Leichte auch schwer ist, wenn es gut ist, was es ebensowohl sein kann wie das Schwere. Davon ist etwas bei mir hängengeblieben, ich habe es von ihm. Allerdings habe ich ihn immer dahin verstanden, daß man sehr sattelfest sein muß im Schweren und Guten, um es so mit dem Leichten aufzunehmen."
Author: Thomas Mann

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