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Maxims and Reflections

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  215 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Throughout his long, hectic and astonishingly varied life, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) would jot down his passing thoughts on theatre programmes, visiting cards, draft manuscripts and even bills … Goethe was probably the last true ‘Renaissance Man’.

Although employed as a Privy Councillor at the Duke of Weimar’s court, where he helped oversee major mining, road-b
Paperback, 208 pages
Published August 27th 1998 by Penguin Classics (first published 1833)
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Vaishali Joglekar
Aug 13, 2016 Vaishali Joglekar rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-improvement
Thoughts and quips from Germany's most prolific polymath - 590 in all - plus a bonus section of wonderful reflections on Mother Nature. Also features critiques on writers from Kalidas to Shakespeare.

Very difficult to cull these faves :

9. Unqualified activity, of whatever kind, leads at last to bankruptcy.

12. Our plans and designs should be so perfect in truth and beauty, that in touching them the world could only mar. We should thus have the advantage of setting right what is
Mar 06, 2011 Rick rated it really liked it
Goethe is a combination Emerson, Whitman, James, Franklin, and whoever might be America’s best playwright. He is the kind of artist for whom the adjective Renaissance was invented: poet, playwright, novelist, scientist, philosopher, and engineer. He probably did windows and could parallel park a coach pulled by six horses as well. This slender volume is filled with aphorisms, observations, maxims, and various other nuggets of wisdom. Witness some randomly pulled examples: “Error is continually r ...more
Rosa Ramôa
Jun 22, 2015 Rosa Ramôa rated it it was amazing
"Igualdade não é Liberdade

Todos os homens são iguais em sociedade. Nenhuma sociedade se pode fundamentar noutra coisa que não seja a noção de igualdade. Acima de tudo não pode fundamentar-se no conceito de liberdade. A igualdade é qualquer coisa que quero encontrar na sociedade, ao passo que a liberdade, nomeadamente a liberdade moral de me dispor à subordinação, transporto-a comigo.
A sociedade que me acolhe tem portanto que me dizer: «É teu dever ser igual a todos nós». E não pode acrescentar
Arthur Cravan
Sep 25, 2014 Arthur Cravan rated it liked it
Shelves: german, philosophy
Nah, I don't know. This book irked me. I got a lot of neat sayings from it - I'll type them up later & add some, if I remember - but it's just not me. It had little spurts of things that resembled sweet pathways to me, but a lot of it felt like a slog. I think the big difference is that Goethe was an old man, & I am a young man. Also, I think it's fair to say I much more enjoyed the maxims than the reflections. Some of them being broken apart made no sense to me - they literally don't wo ...more
Jul 26, 2010 Joe rated it liked it
The introduction makes an excellent accidental case that this is a printout of Goethe's Facebook status updates:

"Goethe probably regarded his reflections as miniature creative language events to be shared with his readers, reflecting the time- and life-sequence of his personal reactions."

So, you have wonderful little maxims like this:

"How could a man claim to be a master of his subject if he has taught nothing that's unnecessary!"


"Bonus vir semper tiro."

And you also have head scratchers and
Eustacia Tan
Aug 03, 2016 Eustacia Tan rated it liked it
Shelves: nlb-ereads
I'm not sure why I decided to borrow this book, but I did. Basically, it's a collection of Goethe's passing thoughts, which is really strange because I don't think I've read Goethe before (I know, I'm terrible. I should probably remedy that soon).

Maxims and Reflections is basically a book of quotes. Some, I really liked, such as:
"Books, we find, are like new acquaintances. To begin with, we are highly delighted if we find an area of general agreement, if we feel a friendly response concerning so
Mar 27, 2011 §-- rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
While I usually don't like aphorisms or the aphoristic style of writing, I've been reading a lot of them lately simply because my schedule has been too crazy for me to sustain concentration on anything. Goethe's maxims are not, as the translator claims, the greatest in world literature--most are truisms or generalities without context (and hence meaning)--but there are some good insights in here.

It's worth noting here that there are some maxims in here which give insight into Goethe's other work
Sep 08, 2010 Pedro rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: trabalho
Espero que isto me ajude a desenvolver melhor a segunda etapa de minha pesquisa.

Algumas hipóteses:

1. O fenômeno originário é a particularidade elevada de Burckhardt.
2. O movimento histórico é um movimento de metamorfose.

“Fenômeno originário: ideal, real, simbólico, idêntico.
Empiria: crescimento ilimitado do mesmo; daí esperança de ajuda, desespero quanto à perfeição.
Fenômeno originário:
Ideal enquanto o derradeiro cognoscível,
Real enquanto conhecido,
Simbólico porque compreende todos
Alex Kartelias
Some of his thoughts were inspiring and noteworthy, but others were sexist and cliche. Regardless, he's an amazing polymath who is someone I look up to.
Apr 04, 2015 Fatma rated it it was amazing
İ love this reflections book- İ read it and read it since 15 years and can't get enough of it- it is so rich with moving thoughts
Come Musica
Mar 04, 2015 Come Musica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tante frasi da leggere in piccole dosi, su cui soffermarsi a riflettere e poi tradurre in azione.
Oct 04, 2015 Andy rated it it was amazing
This isn't a book that one reads start to finish, but some great observations to take in.
Jan 10, 2009 Darkwhispersdale rated it it was ok
I didn't particulary enjoy this book. It could have used more notes to explain Goethe's thoughts on the topics he covers. While there are plenty of notes about people that are mentioned in his reflections, there wasn't anything to explain what he was thinking of about optics, phenomenoms, etc. Perhaps if I had studied thought during this era and had a philosophy background I could have understood the book better.
Mar 31, 2010 Sarah rated it did not like it
Shelves: could-not-finish
I wish there was an option to give a book "0" stars. I just don't believe that one man is responsible for 1413 maxims and reflections that all seem to be cleverly obvious. I couldn't finish this, but it's possible I will since Experiment #6 for Creative Non-Fiction Workshop has to be influenced by one of these. There's got to be a few good ones...
Aug 26, 2008 P! rated it it was amazing
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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer. George Eliot called him "Germany's greatest man of letters... and the last true polymath to walk the earth." Goethe's works span the fields of poetry, drama, literature, theology, humanism, and science. Goethe's magnum opus, lauded as one of the peaks of world literature, is the two-part drama Faust. Goethe's other well-known literary works include h ...more
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