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The Sorrows of Young Werther Paperback – January 8, 2013

4.1 out of 5 stars 164 customer reviews

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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 124 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (January 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1481934015
  • ISBN-13: 978-1481934015
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (164 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,055,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on November 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
I always find it sad that more people do not read Goethe for pleasure alone. Yes, he was a "scholarly" writer but his works, although profound, are written in an easily understandable style. I think too many people have been needlessly scared off by Goethe's monumental intelligence and his philosophy. This is too bad. His books revolve around themes that are universal, subjects to which all of us can relate: romantic love, nature, God, beauty.
Eighteenth-century German literature was propelled by a revolution in romanticism, and writers such as Goethe celebrated their most cherished ideals in as ornate and eloquent a manner as possible. While the tendency of American and British writers to ignore the sublime and the romantic in favor of stark realism does have its place, that does not mean that the sublime and the romantic should be casually tossed aside.
The Sorrows of Young Werther is not Goethe at this best (you need to read Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship for that) but it the best introduction to Goethe anyone could find and a lovely novella in its own right. The Sorrows of Young Werther opens more amazingly than any book I have ever read and it is not overstating things a bit to say that Goethe gives us something profound and beautiful on each and every page.
The Sorrows of Young Werther is comprised, for the most part, of letters written by a hopelessly romantic young man named Werther to a friend named Wilhelm. These letters not only detail Werther's doomed love for the beautiful Charlotte, they also contain the most beautiful meditations on just about everything important in life: love, beauty, nature, philosophy, art, religion.
In Werther, Goethe clearly shows us the problems inherent in loving and idealizing something a bit too much.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am looking for the best translation of this novel for my students. This translation of Catherine Hutter is utterly incompetent. Example: "I have spoken to my aunt and must say that I didn't find her to be the dreadful vehement woman with the kindest of hearts." The German reads: "Ich habe meine Tante gesprochen und bei weitem das boese Weib nicht gefundet, das man bei uns aus ihr macht. Sie ist eine muntere, heftige Frau von dem besten Herzen" = "I have spoken to my aunt and found her to be not at all the dreadful woman she is made out to be among us. She is a cheerful, energetic woman with the best of hearts."
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Format: Paperback
We tend to think of our era as unique when we descry the impact that the media has on our young people's behavior. Well the same thing happened 200 years ago when this book was first published. Impressionable young readers who identified so completely with Werther went out and committed suicide by the droves. Werther is the prototypical Romantic male, who "feels" more deeply than the rest of humanity. Unlike Heathcliffe, who settles on revenge as an answer to his thwarted designs, Werther takes it out on himself. Of course, there's a great deal of self-destruction at work in Heathcliffe's persona too. I would recommend this to a reader who is just getting to know Goethe. I read it when I was about eighteen and it definitely struck a nerve with me at that time. It made me want to read everything by Goethe I could find in translation. Read it, and if you like it, as I am sure you will, go on to Goethe's two great Romantic novels, Elective Affinities and Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship. I found in my earlier readings that I never went wrong with what used to be referred to as Penguin Classics (now Vintage) translations. They're normally all top-notch, whether Greek, Latin, French, German, Russian, etc. PS: If you're a young reader, please don't take Werther too much to heart. It's only a novel, ok?
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Format: Paperback
What is it about this particular novella which inspired a series of youthful suicides throughout Europe soon after its publication? Why did Napoleon insist on keeping the French translation with him during his campaign in Egypt? How did Goethe succeed in capturing the poignancy of the human heart, while fascinating a jaded but "enlightened" 18th century public? The young German author touched a universal chord with this slender volume, in which he offers tender insight on such diverse Romantic subjects as Love, Religion, Nature and Man's relationships with God and his fellow men. Why do critics consider it a classic of both German and World Literature?
Presented in a quaint literary style, this story consists of confidential diary entries and letters to a trusted friend, Wilhelm, by a senstitive protagonist, with the addition of editorial notes. (The latter results from the inveitable drawbacks of first-person narratives.) The plot unfolds as Werther, a young nobleman who interests himself in the daily activities of the peasantry, is enjoying an extended holiday in a scenic area of Germany. Free to savor the magnificent natural beauty around him, Werther is soon dazzled by the numerous charms of the delightful Charlotte--daughter of a local town dignitary. This paragon of feminie virtue and attraction appears more sensual and maternal than truly sexual.
Alas, the incomparable Lotte is already engaged to absent Albert, due home soon. Is she too naive to understand that in Werther she has acquired an ardent admirer? Is she aware of his easily-inflamed fascination, or the violent depths of his stifled emotions? Is she oblivious or heartless to his passionate despair once her fiance has returned?
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