Johann von Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) is a giant of German and world literature. Indeed, he coined the term Weltliteratur and spoke Greek, Latin, French, English, and Italian. In addition to its profound quality, the volume of work during his eighty-two-year lifetime is impressive. Among other works, Goethe wrote a worldwide, bestselling novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther (Die Leiden des Jungen Werthers, 1774), volumes of poetry, and several dramas, including his masterwork Faust— a massive two-volume work that was not entirely finished by the time of the poet's death. Goethe also engaged in painting and science, from which came his Theory of Color (“Farbenlehre”) among other scientific works—a collected edition that Rudolf Steiner edited and introduced as a young man (see Nature’s Open Secret). Indeed, Goethe's body of scientific and philosophical works was one of the most important influences in the development of Rudolf Steiner’s early work and for Anthroposophy as a whole.