The Sufferings of Young Werther

Overview

“Corngold’s new translation is of the very highest quality, punctiliously faithful to Goethe’s German and sensitive to gradations of style in this extraordinary, trail-blazing first novel.”
—J. M. Coetzee, New York Review of Books
A masterpiece of the European imagination, The Sufferings of Young Werther is the classic strum und drang tale of youthful angst and tragedy. The acclaimed translator Stanley Corngold brings passion and precision to Goethe’s timeless novel of obsessive love and madness in this ...

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Overview

“Corngold’s new translation is of the very highest quality, punctiliously faithful to Goethe’s German and sensitive to gradations of style in this extraordinary, trail-blazing first novel.”
—J. M. Coetzee, New York Review of Books
A masterpiece of the European imagination, The Sufferings of Young Werther is the classic strum und drang tale of youthful angst and tragedy. The acclaimed translator Stanley Corngold brings passion and precision to Goethe’s timeless novel of obsessive love and madness in this magnificent new rendition. The text is accompanied by the translator’s introduction and is fully annotated.
Goethe’s themes of unrequited love, the pain of rejection, deepening despair, and their tragic consequences are as relevant today as when the work was first published in 1774. This hugely influential novel was immediately bought, printed, read, exported, and imitated throughout Europe, and what Goethe called the novel’s “fire rockets” have continued to blaze through the centuries, influencing, among many others, Thomas Mann and Franz Kafka. The reader’s understanding and appreciation are enhanced by the Norton Critical Edition’s inclusion of a rich selection of Goethe’s letters and diary entries as well an autobiographical excerpt and lampoons.
“Criticism” brings together seven of the most influential essays written about The Sufferings of Young Werther over the last fifty years. Contributors include Harry Steinhauer, Roland Barthes, R. Ellis Dye, David Wellbery, Hans Rudolf Vaget, Dirk von Petersdorff, and Christiane Frey and David Martyn.
A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are also included.

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Editorial Reviews

Times Literary Supplement (London)
A highly readable, sensitive, and lively Werther. Corngold is both faithful to the German and true to the demands of a modern English text. The translator is to be congratulated on having produced a Werther in which both the substance and the tone of the original shine through. It is to be hoped that this new version will win Goethe’s book many new friends.— Jeremy Adler
The New Republic
Corngold’s translation is earthy and precise, with language belonging to a young man who is capable of both elation and despair.— Rachel Shtier
Jeremy Adler - Times Literary Supplement (London)
“A highly readable, sensitive, and lively Werther. Corngold is both faithful to the German and true to the demands of a modern English text. The translator is to be congratulated on having produced a Werther in which both the substance and the tone of the original shine through. It is to be hoped that this new version will win Goethe’s book many new friends.”
Rachel Shtier - The New Republic
“Corngold’s translation is earthy and precise, with language belonging to a young man who is capable of both elation and despair.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393935561
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/26/2012
  • Series: Norton Critical Editions Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,019,682
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) perhaps comes as close as any man to deserving the title of universal genius. Poet, dramatist, critic, scientist, administrator and novelist, he was born at Frankfurt-am-Main in 1749, the son of well-to-do parents with intellectual interests; and he studied at the University of Leipzig and at Strassburg, where he wrote a play which initiated the important Sturm und Drang movement. During the next five years he practiced law in Frankfurt and wrote The Sorrows of Young Werther, a remarkable novel autobiographical of one side of Goethe's nature. In 1775 he went to visit the court of the young Duke of Weimar, and, except for an extended journey to Italy a decade later, stayed there the rest of his life, filling at one time or another all the major posts in the Weimar government. Here a close friendship with Schiller developed, and here he conducted important scientific experiments and published a steady stream of books of the highest order and in many different forms. He became the director of the Weimar Theatre in 1791 and made it the most famous in Europe. His life held a number of ardent loves, which he celebrated in lyrics that are compared to Shakespeare's, and in 1806 he married Christiane Vulpius whom he had loved for many years. In later life Goethe became a generous patron of younger writers, including Byron and Carlyle. In 1790 he published the first version of his life work as Faust, a Fragment, but Part I of the completed Faust did not appear until 1808, while Part II was finished and published only a few months before Goethe's death in 1832.

Stanley Corngold is a professor emeritus of German and comparative literature at Princeton University and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His highly acclaimed translations include Kafka's Selected Stories. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

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