special exhibition

"Poetic pearls" from the "tremendous stuff" of the Orient

19 Apr - 21 Jul 2019

200th anniversary of the West-Eastern Diwan

Goethe’s West-Eastern Diwan was first published in 1819 – and made history. By far the largest collection of poems in Goethe’s oeuvre, this work still speaks to readers today as it exemplifies cross-cultural dialogue manifested through poetry.

Visitors can experience how the diwan poems – the “poetic pearls” – were created, how Goethe formed them from the “tremendous stuff” of the Orient and interwove them with his “own poetic vision” – a Western one. Based on 16 selected poems, the exhibition reveals how Goethe fell in love with Persian and Arabian literature and culture, engaged in a poetic competition with the Persian poet Hafis and conducted intensive studies on the Orient. Materials from his estate and Goethe’s affection for Marianne von Willemer, with whom he exchanged poems, allow us to understand the fascinating genesis of this work.

The poems of the West-Eastern Diwan mirror one another to create an East-Western and West-Eastern oscillation, in which languages, literatures and cultures engage in dialogue. In this respect, the West-Eastern Diwan is more topical than ever – especially today.

The curator of the exhibition, Prof. Anke Bosse, is also the author of the accompanying book of the exhibition, published by the Wallstein Verlag.

Opening times

Mon – Fri, 8:30 am – 6 pm
Sat, Sun & public holidays, 11 am – 4 pm


read more

Projects of the Klassik Stiftung Weimar are funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Free State of Thuringia, represented by the State Chancellery of Thuringia, Department of Culture and the Arts.

The website of Klassik Stiftung Weimar uses cookies in order to provide you with an optimal service. By using this website, you agree. to Data protection