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The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774)

by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Other authors: Matthew Bell (Editor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,3451081,035 (3.62)240
A major work of German romanticism in a translation that is acknowledged as the definitive English language version. The Vintage Classics edition also includes NOVELLA, Goethe's poetic vision of an idyllic pastoral society.
  1. 21
    White Nights by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (haraldo)
    haraldo: Both are extremely romantic stories about a platonic love.
  2. 00
    A Sad Affair by Wolfgang Koeppen (bluepiano)
    bluepiano: A more easily swallowed and more closely autobiographical German tale of unrequited love, from the late 1930s.
  3. 00
    Last Words from Montmartre by Qiu Miaojin (Cecrow)
  4. 00
    Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Wilhelm Meister appears in 'Werther'.
  5. 00
    The New Sorrows of Young W by Ulrich Plenzdorf (bluepiano, JuliaMaria)
    bluepiano: A very fetching modern variation of Goethe's novel.
  6. 00
    Last Letters of Jacopo Ortis by Ugo Foscolo (roby72)
  7. 01
    I ragazzi che amavano il vento. Testo inglese a fronte by Percy Bysshe Shelley (cometahalley)

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» See also 240 mentions

English (78)  Spanish (7)  German (6)  Dutch (3)  Catalan (3)  French (2)  Italian (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (2)  Swedish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (107)
Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
The pain of loving in vain taken to the extreme! Young Werther’s profound expressions of deep anguish are even more heart wrenchingly dramatic when read aloud. As someone well acquainted with unrequited love, I could not help but be moved. ( )
  dale01 | Mar 20, 2022 |
Most of The Sorrows of Young Werther, a story about a young man's extreme response to unrequited love, is presented as a collection of letters written by Werther, a young artist of a sensitive and passionate temperament, to his friend Wilhelm. These give an intimate account of his stay in the fictional village of Wahlheim, whose peasants have enchanted him with their simple ways. There he meets Charlotte, a beautiful young girl who takes care of her siblings after the death of their mother. Werther falls in love with Charlotte despite knowing beforehand that she is engaged to a man named Albert, eleven years her senior.

The novel turned Goethe, previously an unknown author, into a literary celebrity almost overnight. Napoleon Bonaparte considered it one of the great works of European literature, having written a Goethe-inspired soliloquy in his youth and carried Werther with him on his campaigning to Egypt. It also started the phenomenon known as the "Werther Fever", which caused young men throughout Europe to dress in the clothing style described for Werther in the novel. ( )
  Marcos_Augusto | Jan 20, 2022 |
This was my 298th read from the 1001 Books To Read Before You Die list (which is actually closer to 1300 books now with all the updates). Obviously, since I am 68, I am never going to read all the books on the list but I do attempt to read 10 to 12 books from the list every year. There have been some duds but, all in all, I can see why the books were picked. As one of the oldest books on the list this book I suspect that this one made the list as one of the first examples of an epistolary novel.

This is the account of a fervent love affair from the point of view of a young German man. Werther was sojourning in the countryside trying to escape a romantic entanglement when he met Charlotte, the daughter of a man he had met. Although Charlotte was as good as engaged Werther fell in love with her and constantly sought her presence. When her soon-to-be fiance returned he and Werther became quite friendly but Werther continued to pine for Charlotte. When it became clear she was going to marry this man, Werther left abruptly to take up a position in court. When that proved unsatisfactory he returned to the area where Charlotte and her husband now lived. Charlotte appears to have had some feeling for Werther but she was devoted to her husband and her marriage. Seeing the futility of his passion, Werther committed suicide.

Goethe, we learn from the introduction by the translator David Constantine, was involved in two love triangles and, although he didn't commit suicide, he knew another young man who did. Goethe did a great job of showing the decline in Werther's mental state through the medium of letters that he wrote. Who of us hasn't experienced the heartbreak of thwarted love? It is a universal story. ( )
  gypsysmom | Jan 3, 2022 |
To our cynical, postmodern sensibilities, Werther may well come across as an arrogant, pompous and misguided young fool who is likely displaying the symptoms of bipolar disorder. However, anybody with a passing interest in the Romantic Movement should read this seminal novel. Given the bland, aseptic world we live in, perhaps we need a few messy, idealistic characters like the protagonist. ( )
1 vote JosephCamilleri | Jan 1, 2022 |
Goethe’nin en güzel romanıdır. Yazarın başından geçen acı bir aşk macerasının verdiği ilhamla yazılan bu eser nesiller boyunca bütün gençlerin duygularını belirten eşsiz bir roman olarak kalmıştır.
  Cagatay | Dec 16, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
The legend that it generated a teenage-suicide epidemic across Europe is dubious, but the novel’s international popularity two hundred years ago can’t be overstated. ... Werther’s sorrows didn’t look petty to Goethe or to his original audience, and they ought to feel even more familiar to us.

» Add other authors (451 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang vonAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bell, MatthewEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alavedra, JoanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Auden, W. H.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Baioni, GiulianoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beutler, ErnstAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chodowiecki, Daniel NikolausIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Corngold, StanleyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garagorri, PaulinoPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Große, WilhelmKommentatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hulse, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hutter, CatherineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kilpi, VolterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leroux, PierreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maisak, PetraAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Michels, HermannCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morgan, Bayard QuincyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pike, BurtonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Steinhauer, HarryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Trunz, ErichHerausgebersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weigand, Hermann J.Forewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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I have diligently collected everything I have been able to discover concerning the story of poor Werther, and here present it to you in the knowledge that you will be grateful for it.
On 30th October 1772, Legation Secretary Karl Wilhelm Jerusalem in Wetzlar hot and killed himself with a pistol borrowed from J. C. Kestner, a friend of Goethe. (Introduction)
Sie ist mir heilig. Alle Begier schweigt in ihrer Gegenwart. Ich weiß nie, wie mir ist, wenn ich bei ihr bin; es ist, als wenn die Seele sich mir in allen Nerven umkehrte.
Wenn wir uns selbst fehlen, dann fehlt uns doch alles.
[Charlotte] was holding a loaf of rye bread and cutting a piece for each of the little ones about her.
Solitude in this terrestrial paradise is a genial balm to my mind, and the young spring cheers with its bounteous promises my oftentimes misgiving heart. Every tree, every bush, is full of flowers; and one might wish himself transformed into a butterfly, to float about in this ocean of perfume, and find his whole existence in it.
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A major work of German romanticism in a translation that is acknowledged as the definitive English language version. The Vintage Classics edition also includes NOVELLA, Goethe's poetic vision of an idyllic pastoral society.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary
An alpine meadow / Sweet scent of grass and flowers / Below - the abyss. (KangarooRat)
An artist doomed,
Consumed by helpless longing,
He needed Prozac.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 014044503X, 0141023449

W.W. Norton

An edition of this book was published by W.W. Norton.

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