Quotes from Elective Affinities

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ·  272 pages

Rating: (5.6K votes)


Niemand ist mehr Sklave, als der sich für frei hält, ohne es zu sein.

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, quote from Elective Affinities


“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, quote from Elective Affinities


“There is nothing in which people more betray their character than in what they find to laugh at.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, quote from Elective Affinities


“We lay aside letters never to read them again, and at last destroy them out of discretion, and so disappears the most beautiful, the most immediate breath of life, irrecoverably for ourselves and for others.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, quote from Elective Affinities


“Artists and artisans both demonstrate with perfect clarity that a person is least able to appropriate for himself those things which are most peculiarly his. His works leave him as birds do the best in which they were hatched.

In this respect an architect's fate is the strangest of all. How often he employs his whole intellect and warmth of feeling in the creation of rooms from which he must exclude himself. Royal halls owe their splendor to him, and he may not share in the enjoyment of their finest effects. In temples he draws the line between himself and the holy of holies; the steps he built to ceremonies that lift up the heady, he may no longer climb; just as the goldsmith worships only from afar the monstrance which he wrought in the fire and set with jewels. With the keys of the palace the architect hands over all it's comforts to the wealthy man, and has not the least part in them. Surely in this way art must little by little grow away from the artist, if the work, like a child provided for, no longer teaches back to touch its father.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, quote from Elective Affinities



“But there are times," said Charlotte, "when it is necessary and an act of friendship to write nothing rather than not to write.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, quote from Elective Affinities


“Fortunately a human being can comprehend only a certain degree of unhappiness; anything beyond it destroys him or leaves him cold. There are situations in which fear and hope become one and the same, cancel one another out, and lose themselves in a dark insensateness. How else could we know the people we love best to be in continual danger and yet go on with our daily lives as usual?”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, quote from Elective Affinities


“Oh, I envy you!" he cried. "You are still nourished by yesterday's alms, but yesterday's happiness no longer nourishes me.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, quote from Elective Affinities


“It is such an agreeable feeling to be busy with something one is only half-competent to do that nobody should criticize the dilettante for taking up an art he will never learn, or blame the artist who leaves the territory of his own art for the pleasure of trying himself in a neighbouring one.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, quote from Elective Affinities


“Even people who are entirely strange and indifferent to one another will exchange confidences if they live together for a while, and a certain intimacy is bound to develop.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, quote from Elective Affinities



“No one can walk beneath palm trees with impunity, and ideas are sure to change in a land where elephants and tigers are at home.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, quote from Elective Affinities


“So all in their different fashions pursued their daily lives, thoughtfully or not; everything seemed to be following is usual course, as is the way in monstrously strange circumstances when everything is at stake: we go on with our lives as though nothing were the matter.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, quote from Elective Affinities


“We are never content with portraits of people we know. For that reason I have always felt sorry for portrait painters. We rarely ask the impossible of anyone, but of them we do. They are required to get everybody's relationship with the subject, everybody's affection or dislike, into the picture; and not merely represent their own view of a person but what everybody else's might be too.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, quote from Elective Affinities


“How many new discoveries does not a person make when on some high point he ascends but a single story higher.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, quote from Elective Affinities


“Few people are capable of concerning themselves with the most recent past. Either the present holds us violently captive, or we lose ourselves in the distant past and strive with might and main to recall and restore what is irrevocably lost.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, quote from Elective Affinities



“O viață fără iubire, fără vecinătatea celui iubit nu e decât o comédie à tiroirs, o proastă comedie cu sertărașe. Le tragi afară unul după altul și le împingi iarăși la loc, trecând în grabă la celălalt. Tot ce se petrece, fie chiar bun și însemnat, abia dacă se înlănțuie. Trebuie pretutindeni s-o iei de la început și ai vrea pretutindeni să termini.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, quote from Elective Affinities


“Schönheit ist überall ein gar willkommener Gast.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, quote from Elective Affinities


“Wir haben nicht verschuldet, unglücklich zu werden; aber auch nicht verdient, zusammen glücklich zu sein.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, quote from Elective Affinities


“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, quote from Elective Affinities


“E s'abituava a disfarsi di tutto, per non aver più niente da perdere.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, quote from Elective Affinities



“Amiamo tanto guardare al futuro perché desideriamo volgere a nostro favore, con desideri silenziosi, l'incertezza che in esso si muove.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, quote from Elective Affinities


About the author

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Born place: in Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Born date August 28, 1749
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