The famous standard work of Goethe research was launched in the 1950s by the German Academy of Sciences (East Berlin). Based on all accessible materials ‑ letters, diary entries and so on ‑ it reconstructs the genesis of Goethe’s works chronologically and thus enables unique insights into the origin of the works and the mental processes ‘behind’ the works and the period in which they were written. Volumes I and II were published in the Akademie Verlag in 1958. However, the erection of the Berlin Wall and historical developments made it impossible to continue the project. It was not until after the reunification of Germany and the opening of the Weimar Archives that it became conceivable to resume the project. The work will comprise 18 volumes.