In honour of the German writer’s literary and cultural impact on poetry and philosophy
Abu Dhabi, 29 February 2020: The 30th Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), has named the late, famed German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe as its Focused Personality. Taking place from 15 to 21 April 2020 at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, the fair has chosen Goethe in recognition of the profound and lasting literary and cultural impact made by the legendary novelist, statesman, poet and philosopher.
The Focused Personality plays a key role in the cultural programme of the fair each year, recognising influential Arab and international figures that have greatly impacted culture and human development.
This year, the DCT Abu Dhabi pavilion will host a dedicated audiovisual corner at the fair that will display a highlight reel of Goethe’s life and achievements. A series of activities and lectures will explore Goethe’s cultural and intellectual dimensions and honour his status as one of Germany’s most celebrated literary talents.
Goethe had strong ties to the Arabic literary canon. As a result of thoroughly studying the Islamic Sharia’a, Arab poetry and epics, his work was influenced by poets such as Abu Tamman and his Al-Muʿallaqāt, and Al Mutanabbi. Goethe’s most widely-known masterpiece, Faust, even featured some of Al Mutanabbi’s poems.
“Goethe’s writings greatly impacted Arabic, Western, and international literature and thought, in such a significant way that we believe it is more than fitting to recognise this phenomenal German writer as the Focused Personality for the 30th edition of Abu Dhabi International Book Fair,” said Abdullah Majed Al Ali, Acting Executive Director, Dar Al Kutub Sector at DCT Abu Dhabi. “Having been influenced by numerous classic Arabic works, his legacy is a shining example of Arab-German cultural exchange. We are proud to have the opportunity to highlight his accomplishments and intellect.”
As Goethe wrote: “Even the stones that have been placed in one's path can be made into something beautiful.”
A writer and a philosopher, Goethe’s works included novels, plays, poems and philosophical tracts. As a German icon, Goethe has inspired the name of the most famous institution for the promotion of German culture in the world, the Goethe-Institut.