‘Dort ewig bleibt mein Osten’. Goethes Hinwendung zu China in den Chinesisch-Deutschen Jahres- und Tageszeiten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In 1830, Goethe’s ‘Chinese-German Book of Seasons and Hours’ — a collection of poems written in 1827 in which he combines motifs from Chinese, German and even Persian literature — was published in the Berliner Musenalmanach. In the wake of his ‘West-Eastern Divan’ (1819), Goethe once again turns, in this text, towards the orient. But in comparison with the traditional topoi of Rococo poetry, the ‘Chinese’ now appears to be far less exotic. A careful reading of the poem cycle shows that Goethe is using the ‘Chinese’ here to create a close relation to a spatial distance, which in turn, and when viewed aesthetically, appears surprisingly near to us. This concept of a ‘close distance’ can be regarded as a poetic programme in Goethe’s late work.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-130
Number of pages12
JournalPublications of the English Goethe Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017 May 4



  • aging in literature
  • China
  • exoticism
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • Max Kommerell
  • poetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory

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