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Erotic Poems (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – November 11, 1999


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Editorial Reviews

Review

`welcome the new additions to the finest and widest-ranging library of great writing (at accessible prices too), OUP's World's Classics series ... Goethe's Erotic Poems ... this is the first readily available version of the uncensored Elegies' Oxford Times

About the Author

David Luke was a Student (Fellow) and Tutor in German at Christ Church, Oxford, until 1988. He translated and edited the prize-winning World's Classics editions of Faust Part One and Part Two. Hans Rudolf Vaget is Helen and Laura Shedd Professor of German Studies and Comparative Literature at Smith College (Northampton, Mass.). He has published extensively on Goethe, Wagner and Thomas Mann.
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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (November 11, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019283939X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192839398
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.4 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,499,817 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ashtar Command on January 29, 2011
Format: Paperback
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is widely considered to be one of the greatest writers ever. Apart from being a poet, play write and novelist, he also studied the natural sciences and served as privy councillor to duke Karl August of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach. Politically, Goethe was arch-conservative, opposed the French revolution and supported the Holy Alliance.

And then, there's the other Goethe...

The other Goethe, the Goethe with an uneducated mistress, the Goethe who spend years at a "sex clinic" in Rome, the Goethe who some people suspect was bisexual. And, of course, the Goethe who wrote pornographic poetry!

"Erotic Poems" is a translation of Goethe's sexually laden poetry, some of which was censored for almost a century after the great man's death. Reading it, I can see why. The selections from the "Venetian Epigrams" are particularly shocking, considering the fact that this man was a Paleo-Con pillar of Throne and Alter. Was Goethe an early Alan Bloom, I wonder, who preached conservatism outwardly, while following quite another law in private?

Probably.

Still, the fact that Goethe's pornographic and blasphemous statements might offend some prudish little conservative somewhere, does make me smile. The epigrams leave little to the imagination, and Amazon's filters would stop any attempt from my part to quote the most explicit contents. So I must rest contented with quoting the blasphemy: "I'm not surprised that our Lord Jesus Christ liked consorting with sinners and with whores, after all, that's just what I fancy too.".

Or what about the following: "'Show us the parts of the Lord!' shrieked, blind with hysterical frenzy, an unfortunate girl: `Show us the parts of our god!'.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Flippy on December 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
Is it me or is there a troubling, double-standard in the world of literature, especially when it comes to such greats as Shakespeare and Goethe? In Germany, Shakespeare is widely read and available in numerous translations. A German professor once told me it was a pleasure to read the great Bard's plays in German as opposed to English because of the delicate and beautiful work done by such translators as Schlegel and Tieck. ("Sein oder Nichtsein" I guess has a special way of rolling off the Germanic tongue).

So why is it in the English speaking world, we don't have the same love and respect for Goethe as the Germans for Shakespeare? W.H.Auden has tackled Goethe. We certainly don't lack for talented translators. Goethe just doesn't seem to have the same audience as "Deutsche-fied" Shakespeare.

Maybe because there is less mystery around Goethe, especially now and especially with this book. If you think Goethe is just the antiquated author of Faust and a series of near-forgotten novels, plays and autobiographies (in the Anglo-American world that is) then think again. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a man of multiple talents. His poems became the basis for many a German lieder by such composers as Schubert, Wolff and Schumann. He was deeply admired by contemporaries in his own time. His Werther was perhaps the greatest Continental bestseller of the late 18th century and the novel's influence wrecked havoc on the minds of romantic youths across Europe.

The Erotic Poems, one might say has the same passion and intensity as Werther though written later. Whereas Werther is young and immature, the narrator of the Roman Elegies (the major poems making up this volume) has a broader awareness of the world.
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By Swan Crest Ridgerunner on February 2, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is what it says it is. Good poems, good translations. I have since learned there are several editions
of the works these poems were taken from. For both specialist and player alike.
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By Gerhard Austin on December 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent introduction by Hans Vaget and an excellent translation, complementing the image of Goethe whose achievements many people have forgotten.
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By Spiritual Man on November 3, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Had to throw this book out. It's junk. No class at all. Save your money.
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