Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 -1832)
In many ways, Goethe was an exceptional writer: He lived through and defined 3 literary periods ('Sturm und Drang', German Classicism and early Romanticism).
His early epistolary novel 'The Sorrows of Young Werther' ('Die Leiden des jungen Werther') led to instant fame. Goethe's repeated travels to Italy fired his interest in classical ideals and inspired his refined poetry, prose and drama.
This great poet was also an accomplished scientist, his observations on animal bones greatly influenced Charles Darwin and his treatise on colour and light ('Zur Farbenlehre') is still frequently read.
'Faust' is generally considered to be his masterpiece. The Faustian pact between the scholar and devil has entered the domain of the proverb.
'Erlkönig' is possibly his best known piece of poetry.
Today, Germany's official cultural representation is named after this great poet: Goethe-Institute promotes German language and culture in 77 countries all over the world.