Abstract
My original enthusiasm for the invitation of the city of Frankfurt to deliver the commemorative address on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Goethe's death soon gave way to a state of depression. I thought of Walter Benjamin who, exactly fifty years ago, on the 100th anniversary of Goethe's death, wrote: “Every word about Goethe spared this year is a blessing.” I then came across Thomas Mann's caustic remark made on the 200th anniversary of Goethe's birth in 1949, in his address “Goethe and Democracy”: “I have nothing new to say to you.” And as if this were not enough, Leo Kreutzer only recently told us that “there is no longer any idea connected with Goethe which might still be capable of playing any significant role.”
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DOI 10.3817/0684060146
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