For cultured people in the 18th century, a journey to Italy represented both the completion of their education and a ritual of initiation. Goethe was 37 years old when he was able to fulfil that dream. When he returned, his perception, his writing, his entire personality had changed dramatically. In a wide narrative arc, Miller depicts Goethe's travels and offers the reader interesting excursions into different fields of art: to the famous landscape painters that Goethe met, to antiquity and the renaissance, to Goethe's early poems and his later works. Taking the Roman Elegies and Venetian Epigrams as examples, Miller demonstrates the deep impact of the Italian experience on Goethe's writing. Amongst the illustrations: contemporary paintings and drawings by painter friends, from Tischbein to Angelika Kauffmann, and by Goethe himself. A book for lovers of Italy as well as for connoisseurs of literature and art.
For generations, Goethe's Italian Journey has been regarded as one of the most important travel books and autobiographies of all time. Now the work has found its own biographer in Norbert Miller.