Sunday, June 8, 2014

Interesting Goethe connections

August Kestner
A fun thing about this blog is that it attracts many correspondents. Recently I was contacted by someone interested in the subject of Goethe and inflation. Unfortunately, he knows no German, so that Bernd Mahl's volume (Goethes ƶkonomisches Wissen) could not be recommended. Looking into the matter a little further I discovered, via Binswanger's small volume on money and magic in Faust, that Goethe had been introduced to the writings of Adam Smith by Herder and, further, by Georg Friedrich Sartorius (Freiherr v. Waltershausen), whom Binswanger calls a good friend of Goethe's. According to the correspondence index of the Weimar edition of Goethe's works, Goethe wrote Sartorius forty-three letters between October 1801 and December 1825. I have not consulted the correspondence yet, although I am curious to see if it contains something on inflation.

Looking a little further, I discovered that Sartorius' son Wolfgang Sartorius von Waltershausen was Goethe's godson and in fact had been named for Goethe. The drawing of Wolfgang Sartorius at the left is by August Kestner, son of Johann Christian Kestner and Charlotte Buff. Small world.

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