Italian Journey: 1786–1788

(Nonfiction; Penguin Classics, 1992)


Twelve years after the debut sensation of The Sorrows of Young Werther, Goethe, dissatisfied with literary celebrity and possessed of a broadly ambitious mind, traveled incognito to Italy, where he spent two years touring, researching, painting, and writing. He had begun drafting Faust, which would become his masterpiece, but the work was incomplete, and, in his late thirties, he was at a vocational crossroads, thinking he might become a visual artist instead.

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