Johann Wolfgang Goethe was an extremely influential

German Romantic poet.  His works range from poems to

plays and short tales to novels, but one of his most popular

forms of artistic expression was the ballad.  Artists have

continuously revisited one of his ballads, “Der Erlkönig”.

They have reinterpreted the work in many forms including

music, paintings, and short films.  After being introduced

to the poem, it is easy to see why it has remained so


I heard Franz Schubert’s musical translation of this

Goethe poem last year and have never forgotten it.  The

combination of Goethe’s haunting narrative and Schubert’s

thrilling music yield a simultaneously creepy and

fascinating work of art.  I am taking this opportunity in

English Romanticism to further research “Der Erlkönig”,

Goethe, Schubert, and how they fit into the Romantic idea.