Goethe's career was an unusually long and productive one: he became a literary celebrity in the 1770s and remained so until his death in 1832. The distinguishing feature of his last works is their self-consciousness, their preoccupation both with the business of writing and with personal development. In the first cross-genre study of this period of Goethe's work, Charlotte Lee traces the theme in his last major poems and autobiographical writings, before turning to the two 'giants', 'Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre' and 'Faust II'. All these works share a tendency to allude subtly to earlier moments from Goethe's own literary output, but to fashion them into writing which is quite new - even though (or perhaps because) he himself is old. This book seeks to understand the unique perspective of one nearing the end of a long life.