The tradition of the German novel, before the emergence of its 'classic' writers in the first half of the twentieth century (Thomas Mann, Kafka, Hesse, Musil), does not have an assured place in the canon of European literature. Not that it has wanted for spirited advocates; but, despite all efforts, it has remained firmly on the periphery. The one signal exception is Goethe's novel Die Leiden des jungen Werthers usually rendered as 'The Sorrows of Young Werther'. Werther was an extraordinary and immediate bestseller both in Germany and abroad.
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