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In 1786, when he was already the acknowledged leader of the Sturm und Drang literary movement, Goethe set out on a journey to Italy to fulfil a personal and artistic quest and to find relief from his responsibilities and the agonies of unrequited love. As he travelled to Venice, Rome, Naples and Sicily he wrote many letters, which he later used as the basis for the Italian Journey. A journal full of fascinating observations on art and history, and the plants, landscape and the character of the local people he encountered, this is also a moving account of the psychological crisis from which Goethe emerged newly inspired to write the great works of his mature years.

512 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1816

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About the author

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

6,333 books5,582 followers
A master of poetry, drama, and the novel, German writer and scientist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe spent 50 years on his two-part dramatic poem Faust , published in 1808 and 1832, also conducted scientific research in various fields, notably botany, and held several governmental positions.

George Eliot called him "Germany's greatest man of letters... and the last true polymath to walk the earth." Works span the fields of literature, theology, and humanism.
People laud this magnum opus as one of the peaks of world literature. Other well-known literary works include his numerous poems, the Bildungsroman Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship and the epistolary novel The Sorrows of Young Werther .

With this key figure of German literature, the movement of Weimar classicism in the late 18th and early 19th centuries coincided with Enlightenment, sentimentality (Empfindsamkeit), Sturm und Drang, and Romanticism. The author of the scientific text Theory of Colours , he influenced Darwin with his focus on plant morphology. He also long served as the privy councilor ("Geheimrat") of the duchy of Weimar.

Goethe took great interest in the literatures of England, France, Italy, classical Greece, Persia, and Arabia and originated the concept of Weltliteratur ("world literature"). Despite his major, virtually immeasurable influence on German philosophy especially on the generation of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling, he expressly and decidedly refrained from practicing philosophy in the rarefied sense.

Influence spread across Europe, and for the next century, his works inspired much music, drama, poetry and philosophy. Many persons consider Goethe the most important writer in the German language and one of the most important thinkers in western culture as well. Early in his career, however, he wondered about painting, perhaps his true vocation; late in his life, he expressed the expectation that people ultimately would remember his work in optics.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 131 reviews
Profile Image for Luís.
1,858 reviews511 followers
February 25, 2023
It was in 1786 that Goethe arrived in Italy after crossing the Brenner Pass. He discovers a more carefree life there, and his enthusiasm quickly becomes infectious. It feels transformed, although this journey was not without discomfort and danger – it notably nearly ran aground on his return from Sicily. He is interested not only in the mores of its inhabitants but also in nature, in landscapes, which he describes with the help of his knowledge of mineralogy and botany, and especially in art, from antiquity to the Renaissance, which he studied while indulging his passion for drawing. In Sicily, he contemplates the imposing ruins of Greek temples and evokes Ulysses and his long journey at sea. He lingered in Rome, Naples, Palermo, etc.
Profile Image for Warwick.
824 reviews14.5k followers
May 19, 2021
In July 1786, Goethe, a famous author with a well-paid court position, put his life on hold and absconded to Italy under a false name. He told no one. His sovereign, the Duke of Weimar, found out the details from a letter; his friends didn't know what had happened until they woke up to discover that he'd left at three in the morning. Charlotte von Stein, the married woman with whom Goethe had been having a mostly platonic affair, was so furious that she demanded the return of all her letters.

But Goethe had become completely obsessed by the need to see Italy. He bombed through Bavaria and the Tyrol, often travelling through part of the night in his haste to reach the Promised Land. ‘Now, at last, I can confess a secret malady, or mania, of mine,’ he wrote. ‘For many years I did not dare look into a Latin author or at anything which evoked an image of Italy. If this happened by chance, I suffered agonies.’ Even in Italy he was in a hurry, sleeping in his clothes so he was ready to leave first thing every morning, and tearing through Florence in just three hours in his desperation to reach Rome. There he would, he thought, finally become complete as an artist, and evolve into the genius he intended to be.

What kind of transformation he went through exactly is not always clear from the Italienische Reise, which is based on a heavily-edited version of his letters, and not published till thirty years later. To some extent it's a romanticised view of his earlier self, and some details, too, have probably been discretely removed. Much of what is left can be dry. Judging from some of these letters, his friends back home, waiting for gossip, were getting nothing but geological reports. Instead of talking about local people or Classical architecture, he keeps going on about calcareous debris, particles of hornstone, chunks of puddingstone, veins of silica, beds of gypsum and god knows what else, I couldn't find half the words in my biggest German dictionary. He is also pursuing his botanical research into the idea of the primordial plant, the Urpflanze. You imagine folks back in Weimar rolling their eyes, and concluding that he was the worst correspondent since St Paul decided to send some cross postcards to the Corinthians.

Goethe swinging on his chair, drawn by Tischbein. I tell my daughter off for reading like this

In fact, Goethe was living like a student again. In Rome he stayed with the painter Johann Heinrich Tischbein and mingled with his circle of German artists, all of whom were much younger and less famous than Goethe (who was calling himself Möller). ‘They had a great deal of fun together, although his letters reported little of it and the later Italian Journey even less,’ according to Rüdiger Safranski. To the Weimar set, he does his best to make himself sound studious, and he certainly seems to have spent a lot of time training himself to see art and architecture with a more expert eye.

For a modern reader, his writing about art is fairly rote; he doesn't discover anything new, and more or less admires the main things highlighted by his guidebook. He's more interesting when he's writing about the country itself – he makes a productive trip to Naples, where Vesuvius dutifully erupts for him and where he meets a young Emma Hart, Sir William Hamilton's mistress, who is just developing her famous ‘postures’ (although beyond her beauty, he admits to finding her ein geistloses Wesen, a vapid creature). In Sicily he eats thistle-pith in the countryside, buys a copy of Homer and translates it with a friend ‘over glasses of good red wine’, and you feel that he is having a wonderful time, although his mood often shows a typical traveller's melancholy: je mehr ich die Welt sehe, desto weniger kann ich hoffen, daß die Menschheit je eine weise, kluge, glückliche Masse werden könne. ‘The more I see of the world, the less hope I have that humanity as a whole will ever become wise and happy.’

By the time he returned to Rome, he was part of a solid group of friends. Tischbein painted the famous portrait of him in the Roman countryside, which now appears on virtually every edition of the book (except this one, apparently). He was also close with Angelica Kauffman, rich and still painting to order, who had moved to Rome with her Italian husband to dodge the attentions of Reynolds and Fuseli; she gave Goethe drawing lessons, and he read to her from his works in progress.

Goethe's drawing of the view from the Pincio. Don't give up the day-job, mate

Angelica would never make him a great visual artist, but he did make a lot of progress on his writing, finishing Egmont and overhauling his drafts of Faust and Torquato Tasso. His conclusions by the end of his stay had to do mainly with the importance of enjoying life while you could – something he'd learnt from the Italians.

Auch habe ich dieses Jahr unter fremden Menschen achtgegeben und gefunden, daß alle wirklich kluge Menschen mehr oder weniger, zärter oder gröber, darauf kommen und bestehen: daß der Moment alles ist, und daß nur der Vorzug eines vernünftigen Menschen darin bestehe: sich so zu betragen, daß sein Leben, insofern es von ihm abhängt, die möglichste Masse von vernünftigen, glücklichen Momenten enthalte.

While living this year among strangers, I have observed that all really intelligent people recognize, some in a refined, some in a gross way, that the moment is everything and that the sole privilege of a reasonable being is to behave in such a manner, in so far as the choice lies with him, that his life contains the greatest possible sum of reasonable and happy moments.

I found Goethe's German difficult (I find all German difficult): he is a master of every possible register of the language, and switches between them continually. Frustratingly, neither Penguin nor Oxford currently have a convenient translation of this in print; I acquired an ancient yellowing English version from the sixties, translated brilliantly by WH Auden and Elizabeth Mayer, which I leant on heavily while reading. However you read it, Goethe comes across as open and curious, if hardly modest. It's an interesting work, with lots to say about the importance of Italy for the Romantic period, and a fascinating study in how an artist can rework his own life, and present an image of himself that he wants the public to see. Like any portrait, you're entitled to wonder about the likeness.
Profile Image for Jan-Maat.
1,546 reviews1,819 followers
January 9, 2021
General Introduction
This is a handsome edition that I was not planning to buy, however channelling Mr Toad I am enjoying it's canary yellow cover. I had intended to buy Elective Affinities after reading Issicratea's review and so thinking if would be good to return to, however Foyles on the day I visited didn't have a copy of Elective Affinities, but they had this, shrink wrapped and at Twelve fifty for a ten euro book which was acceptable to my bank balance. Between the cover the covers, one third of the 750 pages are given over to commentary and two-thirds to the Goethe - that broken up by black and white illustrations. It would be dishonest for me to oversell the qualities of this edition since I have already rubbed off the final 'e' in 'Goethe' off the front cover - I had no idea that my fingers were as abrasive as a cat's tongue. The Italian Journey had already been chalked up up on my mental
to read list, however with the sleeve of clumsiness I have since wiped that list clear and so am free to read what I please. It pleases me however to sit down with what I feel to be a substantial, and considerable book, like this, or previously Ulysses or On the Origin of the Species to see what the fuss was about. However with books like these I also feel that the first reading is not definitive, but rather like a dog in as forest new to them, more a question of marking out the territory.

Specific introduction

Goethe had grown up a little in the shadow of Italy, I am only mildly familiar with railway station and the airport in Frankfurt am Main so I can't say if that seems entirely understandable, his father had been to Italy and sung its praises and the young Goethe was allowed to play (very carefully) with the model gondola he'd brought back from Venice. More importantly after his earliest literary successes he's spent many years in the service of the Duke of Weimar as a senior administrator, so we can imagine a man whose capabilities and ambitions were tugging him in two not easily compatible directions. So this book, which is a kind of a chunk of autobiography, certainly more autobiographical than most travel books one picks up and reflective of Goethe's range of interests - his keenness for geology stood out for me particularly. So we can view this as the account of a burst for freedom, travelling semi-incognito, with it's search for 'completeness' and 'rebirth' as the:

Apotheosis of a mid-life crisis

ich zähle einen zweiten Geburtstag, eine wahre Wiedergeburt, von dem Tage, da ich Rom betrat (p147)

In this case not expressed as a longing for stylish Italian carriages capable of getting up to eight miles an hour in five minutes or so but in a passion for learning how to draw. He spends a lot of time attending drawing classes where a discussion of the Apollo Belvedere naturally and inevitably leads to the difficulty of finding a model with a sufficiently beautiful ear to use in envisioning the statue, leading to attempts to have some guy up against the wall so they can better have a go at drawing his ear, Goethe though believes he can, reworking his experiences in drawing class into Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship.

THIs is something of a working holiday, at first Goethe is working on Iphigenie auf Tauris , then on Egmont, later he receives proofs of a complete edition of his collected works and reflects that those volumes aren't much to show for a life's work, he mentions Faust at one point -ever the optimist, imaging that he could complete it in twelve years.


In many ways the book surprised me, the biggest perhaps his drive towards Rome and its significance in his imagination - for example in contrast to modern obsessions, he was only a few hours in Florence, however classical monuments including the coliseum, and the triumphal arch of Septimus Severus only get mentioned towards the very end of the book and then in passing. Yet for all his drive towards Rome , he finds that he prefers the climate and way of life around Naples. If his time in Italy did lead to a move towards Classicism in his work, it wasn't a classicism that needed much feeding it seems by the physical remnants of Roman antiquity. My impression was what attracted him was more the way of life or the potential for living as an Artist there, however he seems much more impressed by the way of life in and around Naples - already in those days though plagued by traffic problems.

The book can be beautiful as in this description of Venician houses growing towards the light:Nun drängten sich die Wohnungen enger, Sand und Sumpf wurden durch Felsen ersetzt, die Häuser suchten die Luft, wie Bäume, die geschlossen stehen, sie mußten an Höhe zu gewinnen suchen, was ihnen an Breite abging (p68). And as in his comment about without Scilly one cannot understand Italy, needlessly obscure - introducing and then dropping the idea of Italy as a mystery to be unlocked in a single sentence, though admittedly an evocative sentence. He spends much time with artists including Tischbein who paints Goethe in his new image

Naively, I didn't keep a tally of the artists discussed but it seemed to me aside from Tischbein, Raphael got the most mentions, followed by Michelangelo, however both were trumped by Leonardo d'Vinci who was esteemed as the best, even if he wasn't talked about as much. In this way, to read the book is to partake in 18th century intellectual life without needing to put on a powdered wig or even to buckle your shoe, down to Goethe tracking down the family of Alesandro Cagliostro on Scilly - a name perhaps familiar to readers of Foucaults Pendulum.

It is a curious combination of mid-life crisis and artistic development expressed through travel and discovery. The busy intelligence confronted by unfamiliar warmth, geology and habits, occasionally unmasked as the author of The Sorrows of Young Werther. Though he doesn't have to spend his saturdays with his second best quill signing the tear stained copies brought to him by suffering fans.
Profile Image for Kathy.
178 reviews5 followers
March 20, 2011
Through mere words, can one fall in love with a man dead for over 200 years? As foolish as that sounds, I have done just that. Goethe is an individualist, an introspective seeker, a refined gentleman, an educated adventurer and a romantic hero. What is not to love?
Even though this enjoyable book was written in the late 1700's, it has the feel of being written in the early 20th century. It is immensely readable and thoroughly insightful. I felt like I went on the journey with him, and I wish it could actually have been so. I have visited Sicily and gone to the lava flow of Mt. Etna, so as he describes Vesuvius, I envisioned the lava flow in my mind, and remembered the fumes burning my eyes. When he shares a romantic evening in Naples with a beautiful Duchess, I, too did not want the evening to end. After his heart is crushed upon learning of a new love's previous engagement, I felt his pain. When he left Rome to travel back to Germany, I understood his wistful melancholy.
I hope it will not be long before I have a chance to return to Italy and spend more time there. When I do, I will take this book along and retrace Goethe's steps, attempting to gain as much insight as he did.
The Penguin edition I read was translated by Auden and Meyer. I am uncertain if there are different translations within Penguin for this book, so I thought it should be noted. 4.5 stars (but I made an exception to my own rule of rating on the low side....and I gave this the full 5 stars).
Profile Image for Catherine Vamianaki.
393 reviews40 followers
November 12, 2020
Ενα υπέροχο βιβλίο- ημερολόγιο, από το ταξίδι του Γκαίτε στην Ιταλία το 1786-87. Βαθιά επηρεασμένος από αφηγήσεις του πατέρα του για την Βενετία, ήθελε για χρόνια να κάνει αυτό το ταξίδι. Ξεκίνησε από τον Βορρά, έφθασε στο Νότο. Επισκέφθηκε τις πόλεις Βερόνα, Βενετία, Φλωρεντία, Πάδοβα, Φεράρα, Ρώμη, Νάπολη, Σορέντο και γύρισε αρκετά και την Σικελία. Είχε συνοδοιπόρο έναν φίλο, τον Tischbein, ένα γνωστό γερμανό ζωγράφο. Ο οποίος τον έχει ζωγραφίσει. Ο πίνακας αυτός είναι σε μουσείο της Φρανκφούρτης. Από ένα σημείο, τον ακολούθησε κάποιος άλλος, ονόματι Κληπ. Αυτός σχεδίαζε τοπία και κτίρια για να τα παραδώσει στο τέλος στον Γκαίτε για να έχει εικόνες από το ταξίδι αυτό. Εντυπωσιάστηκε απο την κλασσική αρχαιότητα, την αναγένννηση. Πιο πολύ η Ρώμη του έκανε εντύπωση. Αναφέρει για τα ήθη και έθιμα των περιοχών, τους κατοίκους, ακόμα υπάρχουν συχνές αναφορές για τα φυτά και δέντρα. Δυο φορές πήγε στο Καπελα Σιστίνα. Την δεύτερη φορά, ανέβηκε στον εξώστη για να θαυμάσει απο κοντά το έργο του Μικελάτζελο. Στο Βεζούβιο, ανέβηκε 3 φορές για να δει από κοντά τον κρατήρα, την λάβα και να δει αυτό το φαινόμενο. Στην διάρκεια του ταξιδιού του, έχει έμπνευση και συνεχίζει το έργο του Ιφιγένεια εν Ταύροις. Γνώρισε πολύ κόσμο, επισκέφτηκε πολλούς χώρους και είναι τόσο εντυπωσιασμένος που θέλει να δει όσα περισσότερα γίνεται. Θα σας αναφέρω κάποια σημεία του βιβλίου του

- Αν δεις την Ιταλία χωρίς να δεις την Σικελία, είναι σαν να μην έχεις δει απολύτως τίποτα. Εδώ, στην Σικελία βρίσκεις το κλειδί για όλα

-Πρέπει να βλέπεις αυτά τα έργα πολλές φορές παράλληλα και να έχεις χρόνο να τα συγκρίνεις χωρίς προκαταλήψεις, γιατί πάντα οι πρώτες αντιδράσεις είναι μονόπλευρες

-Αυτή τη στιγμή είμαι τόσο ενθουσιασμένος με τον Μικελάντζελο, που ακόμα και η φύση μου φαίνεται άνοστη..

-Ανακαλύπτω σ' αυτόν τον λαό την πιο ζωηρή και ευφυή δραστηριότητα οχι για να γίνουν πλούσιοι, αλλά για να ζουν ανέμελα.

Τελειώνοντας, είναι πολλοί λογοτέχνες που ταξίδεψαν όπως ο Φλωμπέρ, Σατομπριαν, Μωπασσαν, και αλλοι πολλοι και έχουν γράψει ανάλογα βιβλία. Τότε που τα ταξίδια δεν ήταν καθόλου εύκολα, με άμαξες, κάτω από αντίξοοες συνθήκες και πολλές φορές με κακό καιρό. Ομως το είχαν ανάγκη να εμπνευστούν και να συνεχίσουν το έργο τους. Είναι ανεκτίμητα βιβλία κατά την γνώμη μου γιατί μας μεταφέρουν σε άλλές εποχές μέσα από τις αφηγήσεις τους... σας το προτείνω!

Profile Image for Alan.
Author 6 books296 followers
March 4, 2022
For my HS music lessons, my teacher had an Amati bass, and played tuba in his Italian VFW marching band in Springfield, MA. Every Christmas his bay-window portico was filled with his presepe or crèche, the figures around a foot tall. Though I took trombone, I recall waiting for my lesson in front of the presepe, hearing fine bass music. Every jazz bassist in the Connecticut Valley studied with Mr Bev, who had emigrated from the Naples area.
Goethe writes to Herder May 27 (’86?) he had forgotten to tell about another Neapolitan characteristic, “their love of crèches, or presepe (311). Throughout the city are little huts, even on roof tops, with “large, sumptuous figures representing the adoration of the shepherds, the angels and the three Magi.” The Vesuvian background gives “the whole thing an incomparable majesty.” A page prior Pietro Fabris’s Phlegraean Plain from Ischia illustrates this majesty (Plate #44). [Goethe’s own best drawing, at 362, and a bust of him at 374].
“One may write or paint as much as one likes, but this place, the shore, the gulf, Vesuvius, the citadels [Castel d’Uovo and Castel Nuovo], the villas, everything, defies description….Now I can forgive anyone for going off his head about Naples..and think affectionately of my father, who received such lasting impressions from what I saw today…My father could never be really unhappy because his thoughts could always return to Naples.”(176). As they say here, “Vedi Napoli e poi muori!” “What is treated in Rome with the utmost solemnity is treated here with a lighthearted gaiety”(181).
Pompeii and Herculaneum were being dug up as he wrote. He even compares the small, windowless houses of Pompeii to the modern city, “As we approached Naples, the little houses struck me as being perfect copies of the houses in Pompeii”(190).
The German poet took some flak at home for his touring embrace of Catholicism, saying many saints allow one to choose a personal favorite. Goethe’s favorite is Filippo Neri of Firenze, who lived under fifteen popes, the last being Clement VIII, who signed off on G. Bruno’s execution. Near eighty, Neri, who had many times been offered the Cardinal mitre, sent a letter to Clement that two Cardinals, from Firenze and Cusano, had just visited him, and sent him some sacred ash to his San Spirito. Neri said, “Christ is God and Man and he visits me quite often”(337). The Pope responds that Neri’s letter shows some Vanity, with the Cardinal visits, but that “should our Lord visit you, pray for Us and for the urgent needs of Christendom.”
In Venice, Goethe arranges to take a ride with two gondolieri, one in front, one in back, each singing great poets, either Tasso or Ariosto, to their own folk chant-songs.

Goethe admires a young woman whose education was, as with most Italian women at the time, neglected; but, she wants to learn English, and Goethe volunteers to teach her. She comes to his office, where he aloudreads a paragraph from the Bible, pointing out specific English words and translating them. She proceeds so well that at the end of one lesson she can say the whole paragraph aloud in English.

This Pantheon edition (1962) is Illustrated by paintings and drawings, some Goethe’s own. Intro by Auden.
I may add that I have seen Naples, thanks to the NEH post-doc where we lived on the fifth floor above the Via Caracciolo (the hero Lord Nelson executed in the Bay) and studying at the Palazzo Reale, Biblioteca Nationale Napolitana, Giordano Bruno who lived at San Domenico Magiore eleven years. The Palazzo included the San Carlo, so as I read--sometimes a medieval MS Bruno may have read-- I heard a tenor or cellist rehearsing in the opera part on the building, across from the Galleria; I did hear Luisa Miller at San Carlo, years older than La Scala, in my daughter's city. Naples ranks with San Francisco, and Quebec City, as my favorites, though I'm not prepared to die for having seen any of 'em.
Profile Image for Crito.
240 reviews71 followers
March 21, 2020
This is what I read to feel in love with learning, and art, and the world. Rarely does a spectacular human lend you their eyes for a while, and yet here it is, during his most important years of personal fruition. This is to be treasured, and to serve as a guide to one’s own curiosity.
Profile Image for Jacob Hurley.
Author 1 book31 followers
June 2, 2018
In the days before cameras you had to read through several hundred page travel diaries when your friends came back from vacation
Profile Image for Steven  Godin.
2,375 reviews2,248 followers
December 16, 2020

"I find it a difficult and melancholy business, I must confess, separating the old Rome from the new, but it has to be done and I can only hope that, in the end, my efforts will prove well worth while. One comes upon traces both of magnificence and of devastation, which stagger the imagination. What the barbarians left, the builders of Modern Rome have destroyed. Here is an entity which has suffered so many drastic changes in the course of two thousand years, yet is still the same soil, the same hill, often even the same column or the same wall, and in its people one still finds traces of their ancient character. Contemplating this, the observer becomes, as it were, a contemporary of the great decrees of destiny, and this makes it difficult for him to follow the evolution of the city, to grasp not only how Modern Rome follows on Ancient, but also how, within both, one epoch follows upon another."
Profile Image for Sophie VersTand.
245 reviews310 followers
May 19, 2021
Goethe, du machst es einem nicht einfach!
Im Januar begonnen, im Februar weiter belesen. Bis Mai pausiert und nun in einem Rutsch gelesen. Nicht immer mit Freude, nicht immer mit Spannung. Aber definitiv mit der ollen Neugierde der Germanistin, die während und nach dem Studium so viel Freude mit Goethe'schen Dramen, Gedichten und Schriften hatte.
Goethes botanisches und geologisches Studiengebiet waren für mich oft spannender als alle Kunst- und Architekturbetrachtung. Bei letzterem wird er extrem ausschweifend und überhöhend was die großen Künstler angeht.
Man unterschätze nicht das stark religiös Aufgeladene, was einem hier entgegenschlägt. Für mich von nur mäßigem Interesse.
Goethes Faszination für Vulkane, Gestein und Menschheitsgeschichte, Vergleichungen von Deutschen Landen mit Italien gefielen mir dafür sehr. Natürlich viel pauschalisierendes, manch einmal seltsame Annahmen, die Nationen seltsam getrennt betrachten.
Ich glaube, das Werk ist eher für Goethe-Begeisterte zu empfehlen. Reine Italien- und Reiseliteratur-Faszination reicht m. E. nicht. Man muss die Ausschweifungen und Schwurbeleien des späteren Geheimrates schon irgendwie mögen. ;)
Profile Image for hayatem.
670 reviews169 followers
November 21, 2017
غوته شاعر وكاتب مخضرم عاش في القرنين الثامن عشر والتاسع عشر. ترك بصمة صارخة في الحياة الشعرية والأدبية والفلسفية . وإرثاً أدبياً -ثقا��ياً للمكتبة الألمانية والعالمية، لا يستهان به. من أشهر أعماله: "مسرحية فاوست " ملحمة شعرية من جزأين تعج بالصور والأخيلة الأثيرة بالتراجيديا الممسوسة بجسد الخرافة والفلسفة. ورواية " آلام فرتر" التي تصوغ أنّاته الجريحة .

اعتبرت هذه اليوميات بما تحويه من نصوص وشوارد ثقيلة المعنى، من أعظم الآثار الأوروبية في هذا اللون من الأدب .

عابراً ل كثافة الحياة الهائلة، متأملاً في المذاهب البشرية بتنوعها الديمغرافي واللغوي واللهجي ، مترجماً الحياة بوسائله الفنية الخاصة ، بما يكتنفها من إشكال حضاري -إنسي ؛خالقاً وحياً بشرياً شاهداً على عصره، في رحلة تبدأ حين تنتهي!

الكتاب رائع للمهتمين بأدب الرحلات.
Profile Image for Michael Finocchiaro.
Author 3 books5,533 followers
December 10, 2019
I cannot read German and therefore I am relegated to reading Goethe in either French or English translation, so it is hard to appreciate the text as it is appreciated in Deutschland. In any case, the translation was rather dry. Seeing 18-19th C Italy through Goethe's eyes was certainly interesting - particularly his trip to Venice. But, one also perceives the somewhat grumpy, hautain personality of the grand writer descending to talk to us mortals and this grated on my a bit.
Profile Image for Janez.
92 reviews10 followers
March 4, 2014
I really enjoyed Goethe's Italian Journey, a combination of a diary and letters to his friends. His vivid descriptions of nature reminded me of Rousseau's Reveries and Senancour's Obermann!!
Profile Image for Ana Carvalheira.
252 reviews65 followers
November 4, 2017
Foram apenas a minha admiração por Goethe e a minha paixão por Itália que fizeram com que levasse esta aborrecida narrativa até ao fim … tive muita dificuldade em apropriar-me das impressões de Goethe, cuja viagem a Itália decorreu entre setembro de 1786 e junho de 1787, muito por força das entediantes descrições das paisagens italianas no que respeita à sua morfologia, geologia, mineralogia, orografia, botânica e outros tantos pontos que se afiguram sem qualquer tipo de interesse para o meu espírito ...

Mesmo os aspetos artísticos, excetuando a notável descrição que faz da fonte da Praça Pretória, em Palermo, que tive a felicidade de conhecer, ficam a jusante das expectativas criadas; por exemplo, a passagem por Florença não lhe incentivou qualquer tipo de comentário o que, numa obra designada como “Viagem a Itália” teria de, no mínimo e a meu ver, fixar as suas impressões sobre a magnífica cidade dos Médicis.

Escrita em forma de diário, variando, de quando em vez, para o método epistolar, o que não difere muito em termos de estrutura narrativa, esta “Viajem a Itália” desilude principalmente para quem conhece o roteiro. Sinceramente, esperava mais, Herr Goethe … se não se tivesse perdido em minucias que, para o comum mortal nada acrescenta e se se tivesse debruçado sobre os verdeiros tesouros italianos, na sua arquitetura no seu enorme, inesgotável e universal valor pictórico, talvez este livro nos trouxesse algo mais do que bocejos …

As três estrelas vão inteiras para o apêndice onde o autor descreve em pormenor o carnaval em Roma. A melhor parte do livro, sem dúvida, onde o Goethe consegue captar, de forma extraordinariamente gráfica e brilhante a azáfama da festividades, transportarmo-nos para um momento particular da vivência social de cultural de Roma.
Profile Image for Joe.
194 reviews19 followers
May 25, 2015
Having struggled badly with Faust I was a little wary of this, but needn’t have worried. Made up of diary entries and letters, and translated by W.H. Auden, it turned out to be a very smooth and enjoyable read. Suffering a mid-life crisis (we’re not really told what this is) he flees to Italy for a year and half to find himself and become the tourist par-excellence.

The English had largely pioneered tourism in Italy, but they were much younger and usually very rich. In theory they were there to finish their education, but in reality most were not particularly interested in the art and antiquities on offer and spent more time drinking and gambling with their fellow countrymen before getting laid in Venice (the courtesans were famous).

Goethe on the other hand (although something of a womaniser) is there to do things properly and embarks on a series of studies of art, architecture, sculpture, mineralogy, Vulcanology etc whilst also working on his own plays. He spends most of his time in Rome, but there are significant stays in Naples (meets Emma Hamilton) and Sicily.

The book was written up some years after the trip which makes the text rather more harmonious than the original diary entries and letters may have been. This was a very pleasurable read and Goethe still makes an excellent 18th century companion if you are on holiday in Italy. In the end I was also left rather envious; this seemed to be about as good a life (self-cultivation and socialising in a beautiful setting) to lead as I can think of.
Profile Image for Charles  Beauregard.
62 reviews53 followers
May 13, 2015
This is one of those I-picked-it-up-randomly-at-the-library-and-got-very-lucky sort of incidences. I had not read any Goethe before I read this book but I knew his name sounded familiar so when I walked past the Travel section in my library this huge hardcover version of this book was hanging out and that caught my eye.I opened it up and thought the first few lines were pretty clever and when I got home I was taken on a Journey through late 18th century Italy by a pretty clever dude. It was both insightful and full of knowledge that I likely would not have gotten for many years to come if I had not read this book when I did. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for christina.
176 reviews21 followers
December 1, 2019
There is a sweetness to Goethe that imbues this diary of his travels through Italy. In many ways, despite not being a young man anymore (as he claims) many of his experiences are that of a child looking at the world anew. His pleasures of the banality and sublime beauty that exist in tandem in daily life and human achievement continue to astound him as he moves from one town to another.

One of the interesting things about reading travelogues of earlier periods is how a tourist acted; for example, it is clear from Goethe's diary entries that he did not care to cultivate any connection with the people of the areas he was visiting -- he was perfectly happy admiring their history and making remarks about their character without ever, seemingly, engaging in any discourse with them. However, as a bonafide -- and embracing it -- tourist, Goethe is able to share a very touristy, yet totally enchanting, story of the possible origin of the gondola songs and how he experienced the reverberations of the plaintive expression as he travelled up the Grand Canal. The inverse is true as well though, being a tourist invariably means to some extent, Goethe is looking from the outside and therefore seeing the people and its objects as 'other' from him and so even the Garisenda Tower, as interesting as it is, Goethe makes a passing remark that perhaps people were just tired of "upright" towers and wanted to be interesting instead by making them lean.

In all, the tiny diary gives good insight into Goethe's view of himself and the world as well as how a person of privilege in 18th century Europe conducted himself in more "exotic" parts of the continent: an enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Barbara.
214 reviews19 followers
August 7, 2019
Goethe set out for the land where the lemon trees grow* in September 1786 and returned from his Italian journey after almost two years of emotional and artistic enrichment and education. He visited the Republic of Venice and Naples under the Bourbons, both in their last days. His adventures in beautiful Sicily made me long to visit it.

It was wonderful to have access to the great man's generous and honest insights and judgements in a translation polished by another great poet. It helped that I enjoy reading about rocks! I kept thinking how Goethe would have been thrilled to learn of the tectonic forces that created the Alps and gave Italy her varied and lovely landscapes (not to mention Vesuvius, which pelted him with them when he dared to climb to its crater.)


Seen tonight from the Molo. The moon lighting up the edges of the clouds, its reflection in the gently heaving sea, at its brightest and most lively on the crest of the nearest waves, stars, the lamps of the lighthouse, the fire of Vesuvius, its reflection in the water, many isolated lights dotted among the boats...

...the splendour of the objects by which I am surrounded makes me forget myself and carries me as far and as high as my innermost being permits. There is only one Rome in the world. Here I feel like a fish in the water....

I have never been so happy in my life as now.

*en route, he gave a lift to a harper's young daughter.
Profile Image for Inês.
33 reviews9 followers
June 7, 2020
É um livro maravilhoso! Senti me a viajar simultaneamente no tempo e no espaço. Aprendi sobre todas as áreas do conhecimento:história,arte, botânica, geologia, sociologia etc.
Confesso q por vezes neste século XXI peguei no telemóvel para espreitar um ou outro monumento ou quadro descrito pelo autor ainda que na maioria das vezes me tenha simplesmente deixado levar tentando ver os mundos com os olhos dele.. Ainda nao tive a oportunidade de ler as maiores obras de a Goethe mas adivinho já um extraordinário humanismo e um espírito incrivelmente moderno para o seu tempo.
E para os europeus, este e um livro que explica muito bem todas as assimetrias e dicotomias norte/sul flagelo deste tempo em que so unidos sobrevivemos.
Profile Image for gill.
96 reviews179 followers
May 21, 2021
Last month I was placing an order and I was lucky enough to find Goethe's Italian Journey for 3.44 pounds, and I couldn't not buy it. It is a collection of his diaries after a journey in Italy in the late 1700's ; as a romantic wanderer he writes down poignant observations of the contrast between beauty and terror Italy represented during that period. He's such a well educated gentleman, I also appreciated some Latin quotes Goethe added into his diaries.
Profile Image for Bhaskar Thakuria.
Author 1 book16 followers
July 3, 2020
The presence of works of art, like those of Nature, makes us restless. We wish to express our feelings and judgements in words, but before we can do that, we must first recognize, by intuition and understanding, what we are looking at; so we begin to identify, classify, differentiate. But then we find that this, too, if not impossible, is very difficult, so in the end we return to a wordless beholding.
- Goethe, Italian Journey

If one were to ask me my top ten favourite Penguin classic editions that I have in possession then I cannot help but consider this single volume by Goethe as among the first five titles that I would recommend. I will just try and list all the then volumes that came to my mind after I finished reading this essential classic.

10. Laurence Sterne The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman/ Herman Melville Moby-Dick or, the Whale
09. Boccaccio The Decameron
08. Oscar Wilde De Profundis and Other Prison Writings
07. Stendhal The Red and the Black
06. Nikolai Gogol Dead Souls
05. The Portable Dante
04. Jane Austen The Complete Novels of Jane Austen
03. Goethe Italian Journey
02. D.H.Lawrence The Complete Poems
01. Montaigne The Complete Essays

I understand that this list is far from complete and that I am missing quite a few indispensable classics but I still decide to let this list stand as some of the few essential things that I would take with myself if I were to be going on a one month long vacation in a desert island. Some other honourable mentions I must mention are The Idiot, Anna Karenina, Sentimental Education, and a few others that I have read but do not come to mind at this moment. I also needed to mention Blake's complete poetry The Complete Poems and Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel but sadly I do not own these titles.

Goethe's Italian Journey with all its polemics and beauty of description, with all its reflections into art and painting, and with all its lively discussions into the nature of art and architecture, and with its discursive notes on the culture of a foreign land and civilization shall stand the test of time as a seminal work of travel writing; and in fact one of the very first and finest works of its genre taking into account the modern world. On retrospection I cannot help but feel that this is one classic that could have been conjured up only by a polymath and autodidact of Goethe's stature in search of a personal and artistic quest and to find relief from his responsibilities and the agonies of unrequited love.
Profile Image for Sarah Hörtkorn.
100 reviews4 followers
June 12, 2022
Als Reisebegleitung wahnsinnig bereichernd und interessant, jedoch mit deutlichen Längen.
Profile Image for Sher.
535 reviews3 followers
November 8, 2018
This Italian Journey was written during a two year period when Goethe traveled across and lived in Italy. He went to see and study the great works of art and also to procure replicas of the great works, which was a very popular practice at the time. And, of course he wrote plays, poetry, and he painted. He had interesting travel companions, and he met so many characters he immortalizes in his captivating prose. This travelogue was written before _Faust_, and one gets hints here and there of the themes coming later in _Faust_. Each town, city, and village in Italy is presented in such lively ways; I felt as though I was traveling with Goethe. Goethe's voice is magnificent. This work does not seem like the 18th century - his impressions and observations about humankind are timely and poignant. Truly a favorite read for me!
Profile Image for Muthanna.
17 reviews1 follower
March 17, 2018
ربما بسبب شغفي بكل ماهو ايطالي، وجدت هذا الكتاب واحدا من أجمل كتب أدب الرحلات التي قرأتها لحد الآن وأكثرها امتاعا. أبدع غوته في يومياته هذه بتصوير كل ما وقعت عليه عيناه من مدن ومناظر طبيعية وآثار وفنون، واجاد بوصف عادات وأمزجة الشعب الايطالي، كما وأسهب بالحديث عن اعماله الادبية، ماجعلني متشوقا
لقراءتها في المستقبل القريب. ادرك الآن كم كان هذا الرجل عبقريا وكيف تسنى له ان يترك اثرا ادبيا وفلسفيا متميزا ليس للمكتبة الالمانية فحسب بل للعالم أجمع.
Profile Image for Burak Uzun.
176 reviews65 followers
February 20, 2019
Çocukluğu, babası vaktiyle İtalya'da bulunduğu için o dönemden kalan eşyalarla dolu bir evde geçen Goethe bir gün seyahat için İtalya'ya kaçar. İş bu kitap o seyahatin günlüğü işte.

Tabii okumakla İtalya'yı görmüş kadar olunmuyor. Hatta Goethe de kitapta bazı yerlerde okumanın yetersiz olduğu, dünyayı anlamak için gezmek görmek gerektiğini savunuyor. Mesela Napoli kısmında Homeros tasvirlerini gördükten sonra, “işte ancak şimdi Odysseia benim için canlı bir kelimedir.” diyor.

Hasılı İtalya'yı görmeden bu okuduklarım, meşhur bir yazarın alelade gezi günlüğü olarak kalacaktır. Kim bilir belki bir gün bu kitabın eşliğinde bir İtalya seyahatine çıkarım da bu günlük gözümde daha bi değerlenir.
Profile Image for Taylor.
133 reviews5 followers
January 10, 2014
Excellent book. But specific. I'm not sure I've met anybody I would recommend this book to. It's a lot like Thoreau's Walden, but less directly philosophical/quotable. Like Walden, there's a lot of stuff to weed through that is not immediately interesting. Lots of notes about the topography of the land from Germany to Italy. Very readable though, he doesn't use big words (maybe because it is translated from German?).

Like Walden, this is Goethe's summary of a 2 year trip where he left to confront the essential facts of life. To live deliberately.

Probably my favorite quote from the book is the following:

"Now let me also say that a thousand times, ay, at all times, do I think of you in the neighborhood of these objects which I never believed I should visit alone. It was only when I saw every one bound, body and soul, to the north, and all longing for those countries utterly extinct among them, that I resolved to undertake the long solitary journey, and to seek that centre toward which I was attracted by an irresistible impulse….Friends and country have once more become right dear to me, and the return to them is a wished-for object…I feel convinced that I bring with me too many treasures for personal enjoyment for private use, but such as through life may serve others, as well as myself, for edification and guidance."

Maybe if you're on some kind of Walden/Italian Journey esque part of your life, I'd recommend it. Or if you want to go further into what inspired those New England Transcendentalists. That's why I read it.

Lots of notes on art criticism here, some unexpected notes on Goethe's protestantism, I am compelled by many of his comments when he is in both the Italian catholic settings and nature.

Since I've finished this one, I've begun The Sorrows of Young Werther, which is what Goethe wrote as a 24 year old that propelled him into fame. Napoleon carried it in his coat when he was conquering nations! Thomas Carlyle called it a perfect tragedy I believe. Carlyle said the sequel, Wilhelm Meister's apprenticeship, was the best expression of humanity he knew of. Werther is a novel that most people agree is pretty autobiographical. More interesting than Italian Journey probably, and shorter.
Profile Image for Marisa Fernandes.
Author 6 books41 followers
October 17, 2016
"Viagem a Itália. 1786-1788" trata-se de uma obra que engloba cartas e diários, enviados por Johann Wolfgang von Goethe aos seus amigos, durante a viagem que este fez a Itália, partindo de Karlsbad e regressando no final a Weimar. No final consta igualmente um apêndice escrito pelo autor sobre o Carnaval Romano.
Com efeito, Goethe partiu, na época, de forma escondida, dando um nome ficticio, já que se por um lado gostava de ser conhecido pelo sucesso da sua obra "Die Leiden des jungen Werthers" [Os sofrimentos do jovem Werther] de 1774, por outro gostava de manter um certo anonimato.
Até porque o autor realiza esta viagem não só com o propósito de conhecer directamente as obras de arte do Renascimento e da Antiguidade (Goethe quer conhecer Roma, de que muito ouvira falar através do pai), como também com o objectivo de estudar a paisagem, as plantas, os minerais e o clima do Sul, tão diferentes do Norte (algo característico deste período, em que se começam a realizar viagens para conhecimento do espaço e a geografia como ciência começa a dar os primeiros passos, com nomes como Alexander von Humboldt, de quem Goethe era amigo), e ainda fazer uma viagem ao interior de si mesmo, reconstruindo-se.
No que respeita à escrita, a obra é densa e se vão para a ler depressa, desistam. Não é dificil, mas requer algum tempo e sobretudo atenção e dedicação. Abundam nela as descrições, ao mesmo tempo que várias reflexões de Goethe sobre si próprio. E, portanto, "Viagem a Itália. 1786-1788" é, de igual modo, uma obra importante para conhecer um pouco melhor o pensamento do autor, que dá o nome ao Instituto de língua e cultura alemã no mundo.
Gostei muito e Goethe está definitivamente na minha lista de preferências de autores alemães!
"Uma coisa é certa: seria melhor não regressar, se não fosse para regressar renascido." (p.244)
Profile Image for Jan.
41 reviews1 follower
August 12, 2013
As an Italian resident dreaming of the Grand Tour this book had been on my to-read list for many years. I had read extracts and select chapters but I decided to undertake the effort to spend precious time with good old Johann.

Goethe is a humorous and prolix author who delves deep into the nature of everything and everyone he encounters during his travels.

His Sicilian letters accompanied on my travels to my ancestral island and reading of his stay in my region (Frascati - Castel Gandolfo - Velletri) was incredibly moving, as it created a strong connection between the authors' words and the landscape that unfolds before me and that I live in, in my own age.

We may be over 200 years apart, but Johann and I could have been good pals ... if only ...
Profile Image for Laurent.
44 reviews5 followers
August 11, 2012
A bit boring when he starts to talk about every type of rock an mineral he comes by on during his journey.
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