Maxims and reflections

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Details, maxims and reflections : Title page of the first compilation

Maximen und Reflexionen is a collection of sayings by the poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe , which was published posthumously in 1833 by Johann Peter Eckermann and Friedrich Wilhelm Riemer in the last edition of Goethe's at Cotta'schen Buchhandlung. In 1840 the collection was expanded again by Eckermann and Riemer and published under the title Sprüche in Prosa . However, this title has not prevailed over maxims and reflections .

The collection presents wisdom in the form of aphorisms , sentences , aperçus , punch lines , reflections , parables and quotations or idioms .

Structure of the "maxims"

Maxim and Reflections is divided into 8 subject areas and contains a total of 1390 sayings:

  • God and nature
  • Religion and christianity
  • Society and history
  • Thinking and doing
  • Knowledge and science
  • Art and literature
  • Literature and language
  • Experience and life

Individual evidence

  1. JW Goethe: Maximen und Reflexionen , dtv 2006. Pages 4 and 241. See under literature



  • Ferdinand Tönnies , (1936 discussion of the Löperschen edition of 1870 [!]), In: Ferdinand Tönnies Gesamtausgabe , Volume 22, Berlin / New York 1998, pp. 503–511 (Tönnies' last publication, at the same time a summa of the attitude towards life of von the 80-year-old founder of German sociology persecuted by the Nazis)