Charlotte von SteinCharlotte von Stein (house in Weimer)
German socialite Charlotte von Stein (1742-1827), and her house in Weimer, Germany, whose affections Goethe in 1775 tried to win, although already married with seven children and seven years his senior—she is the main person behind the Charlotte character of Goethe's 1809 Elective Affinities.
In Elective Affinities, Charlotte is the marriage partner, in a dulling marriage, to Eduard, whom from, at one point, he breaks away traveling incognito about the world; she is renowned for her aplomb in difficult social situations; she diffuses conflict and smooths over unpleasantness. Previously she tried to fix Ottilie for marriage with Eduard.

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Charlotte Buff (1753-1828) – Wikipedia.
Charlotte von Stein (1742-1827) – Wikipedia.
Charlotte von Lengefeld (1766-1826) – Wikipedia.

Charlotte von Stein
It is the general opinion of scholars that the character Charlotte is based on German high society lady Charlotte von Stein (1742-1827), whom in 1774, although seven years his senior and the mother of seven children, Goethe attempts to win her favor.

After arriving in Weimar, he was soon captivated by the charm of lady Charlotte von Stein (1742-1827), the main person behind the character Charlotte; for more than ten years Charlotte von Stein was his constant companion, and by her bright and genial nature and friendship she stimulated his efforts and assuaged his cares. In a January 1775 by Johann Zimmermann on Charlotte von Stein, he comments: [1]

"You want me to speak to you of Goethe ... One who visited me the other day made ​​me the following account of Goethe: 24 years old, lawyer, good lawyer, connoisseurs and readers of the ancients, especially the Greeks, poets and writers, orthodox, heretics, Poss driver, musician stands, striking, etched in copper pours in plaster, wood cuts in the - in short, he is a great genius, but a terrible human being. A woman of the world who saw him often, told me that Goethe was the most beautiful, the liveliest, the most original, most ardent, impetuous, at once gentle, seductive, short of the most dangerous for a woman's heart man she met in her entire life."
Charlotte von Stein (drawn by Goethe)Stein family
A depiction of Goethe and Charlotte von Stein reading or discussing with each other (drawn by Goethe). [2]Silhouette of Frau von Stein's family: her father stands behind her, while she plays chess with her brother.

In a 1775 letter from Goethe to Charlotte von Stein: [1]

"Oh, I was wrong, once I had a lot of playmates, because I know you, I am almost alone."

On Goethe's return from Italy in 1788 the previous intimate relations between them were relaxed, and the poet's connection with the younger Christiane Vulpius (1765-1816) still further estranged them.

See also
Goethe’s affinity table
Goethe timeline

1. Goethe and Charlotte von Stein (German → English) –
2. In: Reinhard Lindenhahn, Weimar Classicism, Berlin 1996, p.60.

External links
Charlotte von Stein –
Charlotte von Stein (German → English) – Wikipedia.

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