Goethe’s Roman Elegies, originally titled Erotica
Romana, were composed during the period between the autumn of
1788 and April 1790, following his two-year sojourn in Italy.
Except for the “Thirteenth Elegy” (No. XIV in the manuscript),
which had appeared separately in the Deutsche
Monatsschrift, July 1791, the poems initially
circulated only among friends and were first published in 1795 in
Friedrich Schiller’s journal Die
Horen [The Horae, goddesses of the seasons],
which title, quipped Johann Gottfried Herder, deserved thereafter
to be spelled with a “u” (“Huren” = whores).
After ten years of …
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