Goethe’s Path to Creativity provides a comprehensive psycho-biography of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, a giant of modern German and European literary, political, and scientific history. The book brings this influential work by Rainer Matthias Holm-Hadulla to the English language for the first time in a newly elaborated edition.

Goethe’s path to creativity was difficult and beset by a multitude of crises, beginning with his birth, which was so difficult that he was initially not thought to have survived it, and ending with an infatuation that left him, at the age of 74, toying with the same kind of suicidal thoughts he had entertained as a 20-year-old. Throughout his long life, he suffered bitter disappointments and was subject to severe mood swings. Despite being a gifted child, a widely recognized poet, and an influential scientist and politician, he spent his entire life loving and suffering; nonetheless, he had the exceptional ability to endure emotional pain and to transform his sufferings creatively. The way in which he mined his passions for creative impulses continues to inspire modern readers. Readers can apply the lessons they have learned from his life and use Goethe’s strategies for their own creative art of living.

Goethe’s Path to Creativity: A Psycho-Biography of the Eminent Politician, Scientist and Poet will be of great interest to all engaged in the fields of creativity, literature, psychoanalysis, psychology, psychotherapy, and personal growth.

chapter |3 pages


Goethe’s path to creativity

part I|2 pages

Goethe’s life and work

chapter Chapter 1|27 pages

Childhood and youth

7Frankfurt, 1749–1765

chapter Chapter 2|8 pages

Crises during his student days

Leipzig, 1765–1768

chapter Chapter 3|7 pages

Return to the family home

Frankfurt, 1768–1770

chapter Chapter 4|10 pages

Flight from love

Strasbourg, 1770–1771

chapter Chapter 5|5 pages

Refuge at home again

Frankfurt, 1771–1772

chapter Chapter 6|6 pages

Passion and renunciation

Wetzlar, 1772

chapter Chapter 7|23 pages

Period of genius

Frankfurt, 1772–1775

chapter Chapter 8|14 pages

Early dramas

Reflection of Goethe’s emotional conflicts

chapter Chapter 9|22 pages

Period of maturity

Weimar, 1775–1786

chapter Chatper 10|6 pages

Rebirth in Italy, 1786–1788

chapter Chapter 11|21 pages

His great love and public influence

Weimar, 1788–1805

chapter Chapter 12|11 pages

Political changes and new passions


chapter Chapter 13|8 pages

Love in old age and late creativity


part II|2 pages

Creativity, art of living, and illness

chapter Chapter 14|23 pages

Life as creative self-realization

177The Wilhelm Meister project

chapter Chapter 17|10 pages

Goethe’s creative bipolarity and “healthy illness”

part III|2 pages

Goethe’s legacy

chapter Chapter 18|9 pages

Goethe’s late poem Legacy

chapter Chapter 19|3 pages

Goethe’s final letter

chapter Chapter 20|5 pages

Goethe’s “inner fairytale”

The psychological messages of Faust II