Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Italienische Reise [Italian Journey]

(2744 words)

Goethe is one of a long line of pilgrims from the cold Germanic North to balmy Italy – ancient Goths and Cimbers followed centuries later by Albrecht Dürer, Heinrich Heine, and the brothers Heinrich and Thomas Mann. “Italiensehnsucht” (the longing for Italy) is memorably expressed in Mignon’s song to Wilhelm Meister:

Knowest thou the land where lemon blossoms grow,
And oranges like gold in rich, dark foliage glow,
A gentle breeze across the landscape sighs,
The myrtle bows, and high the laurels rise?
Knowest thou it then?
‘Tis there! ‘Tis there,
With thee, my beloved, I long to go!
(after Carlyle’s translation)

“He had carried a …

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Dye, Ellis. "Italienische Reise". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 January 2008
[, accessed 08 July 2015.]

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