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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) was one of Germany's greatest intellectuals. He exerted enormous influence in many fields, through works ranging from literature, linguistics and philosophy to the theory of colours and the biological sciences. Goethe's poetry and plays inspired music and opera as well as later writers, and his thought influenced philosophers including Nietzsche and Jung. Darwin himself referred to Goethe's botanical studies. The British philosopher and literary critic G. H. Lewes (1817-1878) carried out research for this hugely successful two-volume biography during a trip to Berlin and Weimar in 1854. First published in 1855, and reissued here in the second, 1858 edition, it draws on personal letters and recollections provided by Goethe's closest friends, family and colleagues to construct a portrait of this polymath, and assess how his personal relationships shaped his legacy to the world. Volume 1 focuses on Goethe's early life until 1779.