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Goethe's early poetry

‘Sesenheimer Lieder’



Love/Nature poetry

Õ Sturm und Drang phase (1771-1775)
(cf. Term 1 Lecture 3)




'Mit einem gemalten Band’ (1771)
'Mailied’ (1771)

'Willkommen und Abschied’ (1771)
cf. Term 1, Lecture 3 (Powerpoint Presentation) and Tutorial Week 3



April 1770–August 1771: studies law at Straßburg

Straßburg = centre of Sturm und Drang movement. (NB. Gothic cathedral)

October 1770: meets Friederike Brion in Sesenheim Õ intense love affair;

8 August 1771: last visit to Friederike Brion; August returns to Frankfurt


  • images of nature - but almost always used to reflect aspects of human life/love
  • landscapes of the imagination (both inner and outer)
  • emphasis on feelings, often forceful expression
  • love no longer a game (as in anacreontic poems), but an expression of an inner vitality
  • corresponding lack of emphasis on rationality