Goethe: Poetry

Goethe’s poems include:

Willkommen und Abschied; Welcome and Farewell (written 1771, published 1775, revised 1789)

Mahomets Gesang; Muhammad’s Song (written 1772-73, published 1774)

Ganymed (written 1774, published 1789)

Prometheus (written 1774, unauthorised publication 1785, authorised publication 1789)

Der König in Thule; The King in Thule (written 1774, published 1800)

Auf dem See; On the Lake (written 1775, published 1789)

Warum gabst du uns die tiefen Blicke; Why did you give us deep insights (written 1776, published 1848)

Wandrers Nachtlied; Wanderer’s Night Song (written 1776, published 1780)

Ein Gleiches; Another One [Wandrers Nachtlied II] (inscribed 1780; published 1815)

Der Erlkönig; The Erl King (written and published 1782)

Das Göttliche; The Divine (written 1783, published 1785)

Römische Elegien; Roman Elegies (written 1788-90, published 1795)

Venezianische Epigramme; Venetian Epigrams (written 1790, published 1796)

Reineke Fuchs; Reynard the Fox (1794)

Hermann und Dorothea (1798)

Dauer im Wechsel; Permanence in Change (written 1803, published 1804)

Urworte. Orphisch; Primordial Words. Orphic (written 1817, published 1820)

West-östlicher Divan; West-Eastern Divan (1819)

Eins wie’s andre; One like the other (undated, first published 1832-1842)

Please click on the above titles for further information.

English Translations

Goethe, Selected Verse, trans. by David Luke (London: Penguin, 1986)

Goethe, Erotic Poems, trans. by David Luke, intro. by Hans Rudolf Vaget (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999)

Further Reading

Goethe, Selected Poems, ed. by T. J. Reed (London: Bristol Classical Presss, 1999), includes a useful ‘Note on metre’ and good notes on individual poems

Eric Blackall, The Emergence of German as a Literary Language 1700-1775 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1959), Chapter 15: ‘The Golden Touch’, pp. 482-585

Barker Fairley, Goethe as Revealed in His Poetry (London: Dent, 1932)

Charlie Louth, 'Goethe's Sonnets', Publications of the English Goethe Society 72 (2003), 15-24

T. J. Reed, ‘Poetry and the Shape of Experience: The Poet as Nature’, Oxford German Studies 15 (1984), 3-25

T. J. Reed, ‘Rhyme and Reason: Enlightenment by other means’, Publications of the English Goethe Society 67 (1998), 1-16

T. J. Reed, ‘Replacing Ancient Gods. Weimar Classicism and After’ in The Reception of Classical Antiquity in German Literature, ed. by Anne Simon and Katie Fleming, London German Studies XIV (Munich: Iudicium, 2013), pp. 64-81

David E. Wellbery, The Specular Moment: Goethe’s Early Lyric and the Beginnings of Romanticism (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1996)

Elizabeth M. Wilkinson, ‘Goethe’s Poetry’, German Life and Letters 2 (1949), 316-29

Elizabeth M. Wilkinson and L. A. Willoughby, Goethe: Poet and Thinker (London: Edward Arnold, 1962)