Sento che io e Goethe non diventeremo mai amici»: Charlotte von Stein e l’educazione sentimentale di Goethe a Weimar

Paola Paumgardhen


Charlotte von Schardt was the eldest daughter of Weimar’s master of court ceremonies. At the age of sixteen she became lady-in-waiting to the duchess Anna Amalia, mother of the Duke of Saxe-Weimar Carl August, and later married Friedrich, Freiherr von Stein. Goethe, who arrived in Weimar in 1775, was soon captivated by the charm of this lady, and their subsequent spiritual union deeply influenced his life and work. For eleven years Charlotte von Stein was Goethe’s constant companion, and the letters the poet sent her represent one of the most interesting volumes of his correspondence. This article aims to illustrate – through Goethe’s letters and poems – their intimate friendship and the poet’s sentimental education. After Goethe’s return from Italy (1788), his relationship with Christiane Vulpius, whom he later married, caused a break in the friendship. In the long run Stein and Goethe achieved some reconciliation, but Charlotte was no more his muse.


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