Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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A young Goethe portrait

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (born 28 August 1749 – died 22 March 1832) was a German poet, playwright, novelist, scientist, statesman, theatre director, and critic. He is widely regarded as the greatest and most influential writer in the German language, his work having a profound and wide-ranging influence on Western literary, political, and philosophical thought from the late 18th century to the present day.

Best known for the play Faust, Bullough (1990, p. 72)[1] lists Goethe as a historical example of minor attraction:

It was not only girls who were involved in such relationships but boys, as well. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote of both boys and girls: “I like boys a lot, but the girls are even nicer. If I tire of her as a girl, she’ll play the boy for me as well” (Goethe, 1884).

Goethe defended pederasty (Goethe, 1950, p. 686; English translation from Howard’s Corydon)[2]:

Pederasty is as old as humanity itself, and one can therefore say that it is natural, that it resides in nature, even if it proceeds against nature. What culture has won from nature will not be surrendered or given up at any price.

See also


  1. Bullough V.L. (1990). “History in adult human sexual behavior with children and adolescents in Western societies”, in Pedophilia: Biosocial Dimensions (Jay R. Feierman, ed.). New York: Springer-Verlag Publishers.
  2. Goethe J.W. (1950). Gedenkausgabe der Werke, Briefe und Gespräche, 28. August 1919, Volume 23. Artemis-Verla.