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The Sorrows of Young Werther Paperback – March 26, 2009
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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.Read more ›
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?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I feel this is a good representation of romantic literature and even though I knew how it would end I was very interested how it got to the point.Published 4 months ago by Matt Kusmack
I found this book on my friend's bookshelf. He read it in college. He warned me that it might be a tough book because it is about a difficult, narcissistic and moody teenager. Read morePublished 4 months ago by James Chan
This was a novel assigned to me in college, decades and decades ago. Inspirational then, overly flowery romantic today.Published 4 months ago by Robert Richter
Written by Johann Vulfgang Von Goethe. I read the book to get a feel for the appeal of the time. Goethe was one of the German greats.Published 6 months ago by Anderson
This is really one of the classics. Not a book to read because of the story, since we all are familiar with the story, but to enjoy the language and the feeling the language... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Lotte Ben Gal
Such a famous book, often cited in literature. And so short. Kind of ends abruptly. I don't know why it's achieved its fame but it has. Read morePublished 8 months ago by michael halle