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In Germany in the late Enlightenment, there was widespread engagement with the colonial restructuring of the world. This is to be found in virtually all of the major writers of this time, and they related it directly to the problem of modernization. Experiences of European colonialism fed into some of the central concepts of this time, such as Bildung, mobility, morality, aesthetics, and commerce. One writer who brought European narratives of colonialism and expansionism to bear on these concepts was Goethe. In this paper I show how colonialism plays an important role in some of his major works.