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Goethe (1749-1832) adapted in his West-östlicher Divan (1819) a Pre-Islamic Arabic ode by Taʾabbaṭa Šarran without mentioning either the Arab poet or the source. However, we know that Goethe revised his adaptation in 1818, with the help of Johann Gottfried Ludwig Kosegarten (1792-1850), on the basis of Johann David Michaelis’ (1717-1791) Arabische Grammatik (1771) and Wilhelm Friedrich Freytag’s (1788-1861) dissertatio (1814). Mommsen (1988) believes that Goethe’s first source may have been a translation by Anton Theodor Hartmann (1774-1838), published in 1807. Heinrichs (2006) counted seven Latin and German translations of the poem before Goethe’s adaptation. Among these, an anonymous one – dated 1798 –, and another one by Ernst Friedrich Karl Rosenmüller (1768-1835) – published in a textbook in 1799. In this paper it is argued that also the 1798 translation should be attributed to Rosenmüller, and that the translation appeared in a work which may have been of interest to Goethe. Moreover, several coincidences and indices suggest that the 1798 translation may have been Goethe’s first source.

Goethe et Taʾabbaṭa Šarran, une fois encore

in Arabica




Albert SchultensThomae Erpenii Grammatica Arabica Cum Fabulis Locmanni. Accedunt Excerpta Anthologiae Veterum Arabiae Poetarum Quae Inscribitur Hamasa Abi TemmamLeydeLuchtmans1748. Il en existe une seconde édition de 1767 que j’ai pu consulter : le texte arabe et sa traduction juxtalinéaire en latin accompagnées de nombreuses notes se trouvent sous le n° 12 p. 416-47.


Ernst Friedrich Karl RosenmüllerArabisches Elementar- und Lese-Buch. Mit einem vollständigen WortregisterLeipzigJohann Ambrosius Barth1799 p. 83-104.


Hans RuppertGoethes Bibliothek. KatalogWeimarArion Verlag1958. L’ouvrage de Hartmann n’y figure pas non plus. Merci aux collègues de Bayreuth Jonathan Owens et Smaranda Grigore qui ont bien voulu vérifier dans l’exemplaire que détient la bibliothèque de leur Université.


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