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Goethe’s Italian Journey

September 4, 2011


Italian Journey is an autobiographical account of an intellectual’s experiences. In the case of southern Italy, it reflects conditions then existent in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.

Goethe travelled through much of Italy, spending March, April and May 1787 in Sicily, and his memoir was published  in 1817 as Italian Journey. Goethe was viewed as a complicated man, a quality reflected in his work. The focus of Goethe’s Italian stay was the south, with much time spent in and around Naples and Rome, though he did visit Venice and other northern cities. This was logical, as Naples was then the largest, wealthiest and most populous of the Italian cities.

 The portrait shown here represents Goethe during the time of his Italian trip, as rendered by Wilhelm Tischbein, who was with him in Naples.


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