Goethe was a 72-year-old widower when he fell in love with 17-year-old girl named Ulrike von Levetzow.
The famous Johann Wolfgang von Goethe died on this day in Weimar, aged 82. Namely, besides being a famous poet, writer, scientist, and artist, Goethe was also a high-ranking politician at the court in Weimar – the capital of the German duchy of Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach. This duchy was in Goethe’s time an independent state with hundreds of thousands of residents. Goethe was chief adviser and minister of Duke Karl August, whose court in Weimar was regarded as one of the most cultured in Europe.
The width of Goethe’s intellectual interests is amazing. He undertook poetry, drama, literature, botany, anatomy, geology, mineralogy, and even the theory of colors. Goethe was married only once, although he fell in love many times during his life. Interestingly enough, he fell in love at an old age as a widower, when he was already 72, with a 17-year-old girl named Ulrike von Levetzow. He wanted to propose to her through an intermediary, but was rejected in advance.