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Selected Works (Everyman's Library) Hardcover – May 30, 2000


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Product Details

  • Series: Everyman's Library
  • Hardcover: 1248 pages
  • Publisher: Everyman's Library (May 30, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375410449
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375410444
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 2.2 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Goethe’s greatness is singular: it is difficult to think of any parallel to his achievement . . . At every stage of a long and inwardly turbulent life he rediscovered, or reinvented, himself through his writing, and yet he never significantly repeated himself. For each of the ages of man, which he experienced in his own person, he found a new poetry.”
—from the Introduction by Nicholas Boyle

About the Author

Before he was thirty, Goethe had proven himself a master of the novel, the drama, and lyric poetry. But even more impressive than his versatility was his unwillingness ever to settle into a single style or approach; whenever he used a literary form, he made of it something new.

Born in 1749 to a well-to-do family in Frankfurt, he was sent to Strasbourg to earn a law degree. There, he met the poet-philosopher Herder, discovered Shakespeare, and began to write poetry. His play Götz von Berlichingen (1773) made him famous throughout Germany. He was invited to the court of the duke of Sachsen-Weimar, where he quickly became a cabinet minister. In 1774 his novel of Romantic melancholy, The Sorrows of a Young Werther, electrified all of Europe. Soon as he was at work on the first version of his Faust, which would finally appear as a fragment in 1790.

In the 1780s Goethe visited England and immersed himself in classical poetry. The next decade saw the appearance of Wihelm Meister's Apprenticeship, his novel of a young artist education, and a wealth of poetry and criticism. He returned to the Faust material around the turn of the century and completed Part 1 in 1808.

The later years of his life were devoted to a bewildering array of pursuits: research in botany and in a theory of colors, a novel (Elective Affinities), the evocative poems of the West-Easters Divan, and his great autobiography, Poetry and Truth. In his eighties he prepared a forty-volume edition of his works; the forty-first volume, published after his death in 1832, was the send part of Faust.

Goethe's wide-ranging mind could never be confined to one form or one philosophy. When asked for the theme of his masterwork, Faust, he could only say. “From heaven through all the world to hell”; his subject was nothing smaller.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Comeau on July 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I picked up a copy of this book at the local library when I recently become interested in Goethe, and as an introduction to his life and work I found it really useful. The book's Introduction is written by Goethe's biographer (who has currently published two volumes of a planned three volume biography) and it helps establish the context of Goethe's life and legacy. Of all the texts, I found 'The Italian Journey' to be amazing as well as some the selections from Goethe's letters.
I find Goethe to be a fascinating figure and as an excellent writer, he was able to articulate the dynamism and the changing societal forces of the times he lived through - having been born into the era of wigs and knee breeches, he died in the 1830s wearing pants in a Europe revolutionized by Napoleon. Anyone seeking to understand the differences between the 18th Century and the 19th, or even the 20th and the 21st Centuries could gain some valuable insight from reading Goethe's works.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Leatherbags Reynolds on February 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Perhaps the single best thing about this book is the collection of works in it; they're all indispensable. The book itself feels nice in your hand and the typefaces are comfortable too. Now; are the translations the best? There are no "best" translations of Goethe; are there any "best" performances of Bach's "St. Matthew Passion"? No, that's why I have three sets of Bach's masterwork. But I can tell you that after reading much of about eight different translations of "Faust," the one here ain't too shabby. Perhaps the translation of the great "Italian Journeys" is the "best" here, but the translator didn't have to make it rhyme or anything like that. So if you like Goethe, you should have this one. Full recommendation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By JfromJersey on November 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover
For those to whom the literary experience could not be deemed complete without
an appreciation of Goethe, there will be little to quibble about in this volume of
the German master's most significant writings. Werther, Elective Affinities, Italian
Journey, Faust, and selected poems and letters, pretty much covers all the bases.
Of course Goethe was not only a major figure in world literature (Bloom cites him as
one of it's greatest creative geniuses), but an important philosopher, theologist,
scientist, and art historian. His Italian Journey highlights many of these diverse
talents in an engrossing reminiscence and reflection of a journey he took as a younger
man. This work alone, inspired many young artists and writers to travel to Italy in
search of culture and inspiration. Faust (I and II) are remarkable achievements, but
my personal favorite is Elective Affinities, a novel that explores the complex and
volatile relationship between the mind and the heart. Goethe's poetry didn't strike
a chord with me, but his letters were interesting, and helped form a more complete
picture of the man's ideas, beliefs, and intentions.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R. J. Marsella on October 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The works included in this volume include short novels, plays, essays and letters. It is a wonderful introduction to Goethe for those who haven't read him before and a fine collection for sampling of the wide ranging style of his particular genius. My personal favorite is his Italian Journey , a travelogue that is fascinating for it's description of geography, people and culture in straight forward language that has a casual reflective pace drawing the reader in to specific scenes as if there. This is a book to keep on the shelf or bedside table to be picked up again and again with pleasure. Great translations make all the selections accessible in English. Great stuff.
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