More notes at http://tanguay.info/learntracker
C O U R S E 
Masterpieces of World Literature
Martin Puchner, Harvard University
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
Goethe and Eckermann
Notes taken on March 17, 2017 by Edward Tanguay
Castle of Weimar
center of Goethe's social and work life
the duke had brought Goethe to Weimar as a budding writer
Goethe began to assume more and more public functions
founded an amateur theatrical troupe and turned it into a professional theater company
Minister of Finance
sent on diplomatic missions
Goethe's garden house
here 39-year-old Goethe met 23-year-old Christian Vulpius
he had just returned from Rome
had little formal schooling
came from a working class background
when the relationship was made public, the court was scandalized
the Duke, to which Goethe owed so much, essentially banished him to live in this garden house
lived there for three years before he was allowed to move back to town
it was here that he spent wonderful years with Christiane
here their only son to survive was born
Goethe wrote the Roman Elegies here
a homage both to their relationship and to Rome
Johann Peter Eckermann (1792-1854)
grew up in poverty
studied law at the Universtiy of Göttingen
wrote literature and poetry instead
a friend recommended he read Goethe
dropped out of Law School to write a book about Goethe
in 1832 sent his manuscript to Goethe entitled "Reflections on Poetry"
Goethe was 73
Eckermann did not wait passively for a response
walked to Weimar for two weeks
spent the rest of his life
wrote down his conversations with Goethe
Goethe was now living in a large house with many rooms
Goethe was very welcoming
Eckermann was looking for a master of sorts, and Goethe was looking for an all-purpose assistant
spent 9 years with Goethe before Goethe died
helped him publicized his terms
free of charge
did tutoring to earn enough money to pay for food and rent
never asked Goethe for a proper salary
he was happy to be making acquaintance of distinguished writers and intellectuals in Goethe's circle
Conversations with Goethe
Eckermann realized Goethe was someone very influential
Goethe told Eckermann to wait before publishing them
Eckermann waited until Goethe died to publish them
they read like interviews in which Eckermann prompts Goethe to say interesting, provocative and profound things
Eckermann is not entirely passive in the conversations
responds incredulously
but mostly agreeing
sometimes puzzled and asks follow-up questions
Goethe talked of the influence of Samuel Richardson on his work
Goethe said he had read a Chinese novel
Eckermann said it must have been very strange
Goethe said it was much less strange than one thinks
they were more decent than the French
Eckermann said that this Chinese novel must be unusual, the exception to the rule
Goethe said nothing could be further from the truth
the Chinese have thousands of them and them, and they had them when our ancestors were still living in trees
the time has come for the epoch of world literature, and everyone must seek to accelerate it