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Conversations of Goethe with Johann Peter Eckermann Paperback – August 22, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (August 22, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306808811
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306808814
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #527,205 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German

Customer Reviews

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As noted above, for those interested in Goethe's works I would highly recommend this book.
Andy Hahn
I love Goethe's creative works and his scientific theories, but most of all I love this book.
Martha Ann Kennedy
In this book, Goethe is revealed to be a elder genius imparting his wisdom to a young poet.
Andrew Ribeiro

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Ramon Kranzkuper on January 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
For those who do not know anything about Goethe at all, 'Conversations' may not be a good place to start - but for those who are a little familiar with Goethe, 'Conversations of Goethe' makes for fascinating reading.
Very rarely do we have the life of a genius so well and closely documented. This book is not a record of formal interviews; it is a record by Eckermann, Goethe's good friend, who took the trouble to write down the great man's words almost every day, it seems. The book reads like a diary of Eckermann's, filled with Goethe - there is one entry for almost every day for a few weeks, then a break, and so on.
Eckermann seems to have written down almost everything he remembered from his conversations - and some of what Goethe said here may be edifyong, some not so much; but all of it is significant for one trying to get an insight into Goethe's mind - how it worked, how he thought, how he did things - right from the grand projects down to the simple pleasures.
One comes away from this book with an "insiders glimpse" of the Goethe's mind and world - and that really helps when reading his works.
The idea of Goethe as the complete, the perfect man, the universal genius - sticks with the reader years after reading this book. We live in an age when the really good things do not matter; Goethe reminds us of all the things that can, and do matter - and those things that can refresh, change, and enliven.
Nietzsche called this "the greatest book in German there is".
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Martha Ann Kennedy on December 4, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love Goethe's creative works and his scientific theories, but most of all I love this book. I travel with it, look in it for advice and conversation. As an artist Goethe was incomparable; as a scientist he was curious, alive, observant, questioning -- but as a man who lived a life with a conscious intention to make his life a work of his own mind and heart he is the master and that master is found in the pages of this book. When I need a wise friend, I turn here and find, beside the wisdom, a silly person who thought spectacles were an affectation, an attempt on the part of someone to be something he was not. . .
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Bob on January 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
Here Goethe shares his opinions on drama, poetry, music, painting, philosophy, and prominent figures of the day.
What makes this book so much better than a mere interview is that instead of getting a load of useless answers in response to imbecilic questions, we get impromptu pearls of wisdom, straight from the master, interspersed among stretches of his daily life.
Eckermann is a master biographer here, because he's close enough to the subject to elicit candor, but not so close that he is oblivious to the subject's flaws. Furthermore, he was adept enough to get the old man to speak at length with almost no questioning at all!
I won't say any more, because words just can't do it justice.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By K. D Kirk on December 5, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
J.P. Eckermann meets J.W. von Goethe, while the Great Poet is in his 70's thought still spry in mind and producing some of the world's greatest poems (West-Eastern Divan) and, of course, Part II of Faust. Eckermann is to Goethe as Boswell was to Dr. Johnson. He chronicles his conversations with the German sage, who in these wondrous pages, reveals his mind-blowing, jaw-dropping multi-disciplinary genius...the likes of which has not been known since his death...and the lack of which may be leading us all to ruin.
It is a delightful book, which unfortunately due to our provincial focus on all things in English, has very limited popular appeal. Nevertheless, I encourage any with an interest in a grander time when men discussed, without ridicule art, architecture, drama, and les belles lettres, to read Eckermann's conversations with Goethe. After learning from Eckermann about this great man, you may consider the motto, that I often invoke...What Would Goethe Do?
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By irick on September 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
While in graduate school in Australia I happened in a pub (which is not extraordinary in itself) and got to talking with the bar-tender. It turns out that he was a student at the Univ. of Queensland too and was getting his MA in German. I told him how much I enjoyed Nietzche, who was the focus of his thesis, and eventually we got around to Eckermann's Coversations. I told him it was one of the best books that I had ever read: so quaint and yet probing. The reader sits in the drawing room and hears the most extrodinary discussions. In this way it reminds me of Sherlock Holmes and Watson. It is so civilized that it is almost nostalgic--but far too potent for that due to the genuis involved (Eckermann's mind ain't to shabby either). The newly made friend expressed amazement that an English major happened on this book; he said that I had been the only person outside the German dept that he had met that had ever read the book, or even heard of it (and this in a much more literate country than here). This is truely a shame we agreed. Ease-drop on a better time when scholars were gentleman, and in search of the truth not some PC BS, and were enamored with ideas. Goethe's Maxims is also highly recommended--as Faust and his other better known works. A Western classic, like the subject.
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