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The decade in which Goethe turned 60 was marked by tremendous upheaval at home and abroad as well as extraordinary productivity in Goethe’s own life. In this war-torn period, bracketed by the battles of Austerlitz (1805) and Waterloo (1815), Goethe experienced the plundering of Weimar, met personally with Napoleon, and witnessed a rising wave of patriotic, militaristic fervor among a younger generation of German poets and intellectuals. This period is also of course defined by the death of Schiller in 1805. From the decline of the Classical project in the wake of Schiller’s death to the nascent development of the Divan in 1814-15, Goethe engaged in far-ranging cultural, scientific, and intellectual exploration and experimentation.
Organized by the Goethe Society of North America, the conference features more than twenty panels and two keynote lectures by distinguished scholars: Ulrich Gaier (University of Konstanz), author of numerous books on and editions of Goethe’s Faust and President of the Hölderlin Society, and Robert J. Richards (University of Chicago, Morris Fishbein Professor of Science and Medicine, Professor of History, Philosophy and Psychology), author of The Romantic Conception of Life: Science and Philosophy in the Age of Goethe.
We are grateful for the generous support of the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pittsburgh, the DAAD, and the DFG.