The The Sorrows of Young Werther Sorrows of Young Werther [NOOK Book]

Overview

Celebrated as a leading figure of the German literary movement known as Sturm und Drang ("storm and stress"), Goethe made his reputation with this short novel, originally published in 1774. Its tale of a sensitive young man's self-destructive passion for a lover who ultimately rejects him was based in part on the author's own experiences, and the story's tragic resolution inspired a wave of suicides among young romantics throughout Europe. Goethe's portrayal of Zerrissenheit, "the state of being torn apart," in ...
See more details below
The The Sorrows of Young Werther Sorrows of Young Werther

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$0.99
BN.com price
Marketplace
BN.com

All Available Formats & Editions

Overview

Celebrated as a leading figure of the German literary movement known as Sturm und Drang ("storm and stress"), Goethe made his reputation with this short novel, originally published in 1774. Its tale of a sensitive young man's self-destructive passion for a lover who ultimately rejects him was based in part on the author's own experiences, and the story's tragic resolution inspired a wave of suicides among young romantics throughout Europe. Goethe's portrayal of Zerrissenheit, "the state of being torn apart," in which a character struggles to reconcile his artistic sensibilities with the demands of the objective world, proved tremendously influential to subsequent writers, and The Sorrows of Young Werther continues to speak to modern readers.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780486120485
  • Publisher: Dover Publications
  • Publication date: 2/28/2012
  • Series: Dover Thrift Editions
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 544,013
  • File size: 505 KB

Read an Excerpt

The Sorrows of Young Werther


By JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, Nathan Haskell Dole, Thomas Carlyle, R.D. Boylan

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 2002 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-12048-5



CHAPTER 1

BOOK I

MAY 4.

HOW HAPPY I am that I am gone! My dear friend, what a thing is the heart of man! To leave you, from whom I have been inseparable, whom I love so dearly, and yet to feel happy! I know you will forgive me. Have not other attachments been specially appointed by fate to torment a head like mine? Poor Leonora! and yet I was not to blame. Was it my fault, that, whilst the peculiar charms of her sister afforded me an agreeable entertainment, a passion for me was engendered in her feeble heart? And yet am I wholly blameless? Did I not encourage her emotions? Did I not feel charmed at those truly genuine expressions of nature, which, though but little mirthful in reality, so often amused us? Did I not—but oh! what is man, that he dares so to accuse himself? My dear friend I promise you I will improve; I will no longer, as has ever been my habit, continue to ruminate on every petty vexation which fortune may dispense; I will enjoy the present, and the past shall be for me the past. No doubt you are right, my best of friends, there would be far less suffering amongst mankind, if men—and God knows why they are so fashioned—did not employ their imaginations so assiduously in recalling the memory of past sorrow, instead of bearing their present lot with equanimity.

Be kind enough to inform my mother that I shall attend to her business to the best of my ability, and shall give her the earliest information about it. I have seen my aunt, and find that she is very far from being the disagreeable person our friends allege her to be. She is a lively, cheerful woman, with the best of hearts. I explained to her my mother's wrongs with regard to that part of her portion which has been withheld from her. She told me the motives and reasons of her own conduct, and the terms on which she is willing to give up the whole, and to do more than we have asked. In short, I cannot write further upon this subject at present; only assure my mother that all will go on well. And I have again observed, my dear friend, in this trifling affair, that misunderstandings and neglect occasion more mischief in the world than even malice and wickedness. At all events, the two latter are of less frequent occurrence.

In other respects I am very well off here. Solitude in this terrestrial paradise is a genial balm to my mind, and the young spring cheers with its bounteous promises my oftentimes misgiving heart. Every tree, every bush, is full of flowers; and one might wish himself transformed into a butterfly, to float about in this ocean of perfume, and find his whole existence in it.

The town itself is disagreeable; but then, all around, you find an inexpressible beauty of nature. This induced the late Count M——to lay out a garden on one of the sloping hills which here intersect each other with the most charming variety, and form the most lovely valleys. The garden is simple; and it is easy to perceive, even upon your first entrance, that the plan was not designed by a scientific gardener, but by a man who wished to give himself up here to the enjoyment of his own sensitive heart. Many a tear have I already shed to the memory of its departed master in a summer-house which is now reduced to ruins, but was his favourite resort, and now is mine. I shall soon be master of the place. The gardener has become attached to me within the last few days, and he will lose nothing thereby.


MAY 10.

A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in the exquisite sense of mere tranquil existence, that I neglect my talents. I should be incapable of drawing a single stroke at the present moment; and yet I feel that I never was a greater artist than now. When, while the lovely valley teems with vapour around me, and the meridian sun strikes the upper surface of the impenetrable foliage of my trees, and but a few stray gleams steal into the inner sanctuary, I throw myself down among the tall grass by the trickling stream; and, as I lie close to the earth, a thousand unknown plants are noticed by me: when I hear the buzz of the little world among the stalks, and grow familiar with the countless indescribable forms of the insects and flies, then I feel the presence of the Almighty, who formed us in his own image, and the breath of that universal love which bears and sustains us, as it floats around us in an eternity of bliss; and then, my friend, when darkness overspreads my eyes, and heaven and earth seem to dwell in my soul and absorb its power, like the form of a beloved mistress—then I often think with longing, Oh, would I could describe these conceptions, could impress upon paper all that is living so full and warm within me, that it might be the mirror of my soul, as my soul is the mirror of the infinite God! O my friend—but it is too much for my strength—I sink under the weight of the splendour of these visions!


MAY 12.

I know not whether some deceitful spirits haunt this spot, or whether it be the warm, celestial fancy in my own heart which makes everything around me seem like paradise. In front of the house is a fountain,—a fountain to which I am bound by a charm like Melusina and her sisters. Descending a gentle slope, you come to an arch, where, some twenty steps lower down, water of the clearest crystal gushes from the marble rock. The narrow wall which encloses it above, the tall trees which encircle the spot, and the coolness of the place itself,—everything imparts a pleasant but sublime impression. Not a day passes on which I do not spend an hour there. The young maidens come from the town to fetch water,—innocent and necessary employment, and formerly the occupation of the daughters of kings. As I take my rest there, the idea of the old patriarchal life is awakened around me. I see them, our old ancestors, how they formed their friendships and contracted alliances at the fountain-side; and I feel how fountains and streams were guarded by beneficent spirits. He who is a stranger to these sensations has never really enjoyed cool repose at the side of a fountain after the fatigue of a weary summer day.


MAY 13.

You ask if you shall send me books. My dear friend, I beseech you, for the love of God, relieve me from such a yoke! I need no more to be guided, agitated, heated. My heart ferments sufficiently of itself. I want strains to lull me, and I find them to perfection in my Homer. Often do I strive to allay the burning fever of my blood; and you have never witnessed anything so unsteady, so uncertain, as my heart. But need I confess this to you, my dear friend, who have so often endured the anguish of witnessing my sudden transitions from sorrow to immoderate joy, and from sweet melancholy to violent passions? I treat my poor heart like a sick child, and gratify its every fancy. Do not mention this again: there are people who would censure me for it.


MAY 15.

The common people of the place know me already, and love me, particularly the children. When at first I associated with them, and inquired in a friendly tone about their various trifles, some fancied that I wished to ridicule them, and turned from me in exceeding ill-humour. I did not allow that circumstance to grieve me: I only felt most keenly what I have often before observed. Persons who can claim a certain rank keep themselves coldly aloof from the common people, as though they feared to lose their importance by the contact; whilst wanton idlers, and such as are prone to bad joking, affect to descend to their level, only to make the poor people feel their impertinence all the more keenly.

I know very well that we are not all equal, nor can be so; but it is my opinion that he who avoids the common people, in order not to lose their respect, is as much to blame as a coward who hides himself from his enemy because he fears defeat.

The other day I went to the fountain, and found a young servant-girl, who had set her pitcher on the lowest step, and looked around to see if one of her companions was approaching to place it on her head. I ran down, and looked at her. "Shall I help you, pretty lass?" said I. She blushed deeply. "Oh, sir!" she exclaimed. "No ceremony!" I replied. She adjusted her head-gear, and I helped her. She thanked me, and ascended the steps.


MAY 17.

I have made all sorts of acquaintances, but have as yet found no society. I know not what attraction I possess for the people, so many of them like me, and attach themselves to me; and then I feel sorry when the road we pursue together goes only a short distance. If you inquire what the people are like here, I must answer, "The same as everywhere." The human race is but a monotonous affair. Most of them labour the greater part of their time for mere subsistence; and the scanty portion of freedom which remains to them so troubles them that they use every exertion to get rid of it. Oh, the destiny of man!

But they are a right good sort of people. If I occasionally forget myself, and take part in the innocent pleasures which are not yet forbidden to the peasantry, and enjoy myself, for instance, with genuine freedom and sincerity, round a well-covered table, or arrange an excursion or a dance opportunely, and so forth, all this produces a good effect upon my disposition; only I must forget that there lie dormant within me so many other qualities which moulder uselessly, and which I am obliged to keep carefully concealed. Ah! this thought affects my spirits fearfully. And yet to be misunderstood is the fate of the like of us.

Alas, that the friend of my youth is gone! Alas, that I ever knew her! I might say to myself, "You are a dreamer to seek what is not to be found here below." But she has been mine. I have possessed that heart, that noble soul, in whose presence I seemed to be more than I really was, because I was all that I could be. Good heavens! did then a single power of my soul remain unexercised? In her presence could I not display, to its full extent, that mysterious feeling with which my heart embraces nature? Was not our intercourse a perpetual web of the finest emotions, of the keenest wit, the varieties of which, even in their very eccentricity, bore the stamp of genius? Alas! the few years by which she was my senior brought her to the grave before me. Never can I forget her firm mind or her heavenly patience.

A few days ago I met a certain young V——, a frank, open fellow, with a most pleasing countenance. He has just left the university, does not deem himself overwise, but believes he knows more than other people. He has worked hard, as I can perceive from many circumstances, and, in short, possesses a large stock of information. When he heard that I am drawing a good deal, and that I know Greek (two wonderful things for this part of the country), he came to see me, and displayed his whole store of learning, from Batteaux to Wood, from De Piles to Winkelmann: he assured me he had read through the first part of Sultzer's theory, and also possessed a manuscript of Heyne's work on the study of the antique. I allowed it all to pass.

I have become acquainted, also, with a very worthy person, the district judge, a frank and open-hearted man. I am told it is a most delightful thing to see him in the midst of his children, of whom he has nine. His eldest daughter especially is highly spoken of. He has invited me to go and see him, and I intend to do so on the first opportunity. He lives at one of the royal hunting-lodges, which can be reached from here in an hour and a half by walking, and which he obtained leave to inhabit after the loss of his wife, as it is so painful to him to reside in town and at the court.

There have also come in my way a few other originals of a questionable sort, who are in all respects undesirable, and most intolerable in their demonstrations of friendship. Good-bye. This letter will please you: it is quite historical.


MAY 22.

That the life of man is but a dream, many a man has surmised heretofore; and I, too, am everywhere pursued by this feeling. When I consider the narrow limits within which our active and inquiring faculties are confined; when I see how all our energies are wasted in providing for mere necessities, which again have no further end than to prolong a wretched existence; and then that all our satisfaction concerning certain subjects of investigation ends in nothing better than a passive resignation, whilst we amuse ourselves painting our prison-walls with bright figures and brilliant landscapes,—when I consider all this, Wilhelm, I am silent. I examine my own being, and find there a world, but a world rather of imagination and dim desires, than of distinctness and living power. Then everything swims before my senses, and I smile and dream while pursuing my way through the world.

All learned professors and doctors are agreed that children do not comprehend the cause of their desires; but that the grown-up should wander about this earth like children, without knowing whence they come, or whither they go, influenced as little by fixed motives, but guided like them by biscuits, sugar-plums, and the rod,—this is what nobody is willing to acknowledge; and yet I think it is palpable.

I know what you will say in reply; for I am ready to admit that they are happiest, who, like children, amuse themselves with their playthings, dress and undress their dolls, and attentively watch the cupboard, where mamma has locked up her sweet things, and, when at last they get a delicious morsel, eat it greedily, and exclaim, "More!" These are certainly happy beings; but others also are objects of envy, who dignify their paltry employments, and sometimes even their passions, with pompous titles, representing them to mankind as gigantic achievements performed for their welfare and glory. But the man who humbly acknowledges the vanity of all this, who observes with what pleasure the thriving citizen converts his little garden into a paradise, and how patiently even the poor man pursues his weary way under his burden, and how all wish equally to behold the light of the sun a little longer,—yes, such a man is at peace, and creates his own world within himself; and he is also happy, because he is a man. And then, however limited his sphere, he still preserves in his bosom the sweet feeling of liberty, and knows that he can quit his prison whenever he likes.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Sorrows of Young Werther by JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, Nathan Haskell Dole, Thomas Carlyle, R.D. Boylan. Copyright © 2002 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Contents

Title Page,
Copyright Page,
Introduction,
PREFACE,
BOOK I,
BOOK II,
THE EDITOR TO THE READER.,

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 20 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(13)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2004

    One Of the Best

    J.W. Von Goethe's the sorrows of young werther is a prime example of classic romantic poetry. Anyone with compassion or Passion of any kind will certainly enjoy this piece.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Beautiful, touching... sorrowful...

    Anyone with a heart will love Werther. I did not(could not)put down the book, once I began reading it. Some moments are so thrilling and others so heart breaking... I hope more people could discover and enjoy this story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2006

    Life Changing

    I don't even know where to start. This book is so well written that you no longer feel like a reader but a part of Werther. All the way through the book I felt as Goethe intendended me too. This was an amezing experience... I walked around for two days hardly saying a word after I finished it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2002

    the ignominy that comes with indomitable passion

    When Werther meets Lotte, she is already unattainable, so readers will never know if his drive came from its intangibility. Yet, Goethe feeds the idea that Werther's life became Lotte because he finally found 'something to live for.' When a lover possesses both, it can only be excitingly dangerous, and unshakeable. Expectations have screwed up everyone's lives at one time or another; only here, I believe the passionate Romantic can not be ultimately understood unless the reader has also felt that the sun only shines when a certain someone is around. So, wrestle and escape it all with Kawika.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Obsessive Love

    I went into this book knowing virtually nothing about it. I remembered a vague reference to it from reading Frankenstein last year (the monster discovers and reads this book and relates strongly to Werther) but beyond that, and the general "sorrow" of the central character, I hopped in blind.

    The book is written in epistolary style with each letter being sent from Werther to his friend Wilhelm (a couple of the letters seemed addressed to his brother as well?). We never read any responses written to Werther but can sometimes infer the reactions from Wilhelm. Still, the core of the story is told in Werther's letters themselves.

    Because of the epistolary style, the narrative is a little 'jumpy' as it skips over time in between letters.sometimes a day or two, sometimes weeks or more. Some of the letters are very lengthy and pour out large segments of plot and action. Others are very short segments of exclamation or emotion. Sometimes even the longer letters don't advance the "plot" so much as provide insight into the thoughts and emotions of Werther.
    The presentation of love versus obsession is very interesting here and is very well done. You get a very good sense of the turmoil that Werther's going through.of the pain he's feeling as well as the desire he has but cannot fulfill. After reading the book, I looked up some info on it and found that it is actually fairly autobiographical. Apparently Goethe fell in love with his own Lotte who refused him and married another. He was obsessed for some time and found it hard to work or concentrate. There was a quote I read where Goethe indicates that he actually used Werther (and particularly the ending) to save himself [Goethe].

    The story itself is intriguing though not particularly entrancing. It's really the presentation of the mental anguish of Werther that makes this noteworthy to me. Getting into his head and participating in the psychology of obsessive love was really interesting. A lot of his language was actually very romantic and, had it been spent on someone more receptive, could have been very powerful in enhancing a romantic relationship. Parts of the read were a bit slow, but overall, it was a good read.

    ****
    4.5 out of 5 stars

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    beautifully tragic

    The Sorrows of Young Werther is a beautiful piece of tragic literature. It's written mostly as a series of letters from Werther to his friend Wilhelm detailing his love of Lotte and how that leads to his eventual suicide.

    Right from the get go Werther knows of the impending marriage between Lotte and Albert but he can't control his emotions and the love he feels for Lotte. And when he meets Albert, who is a genuinely nice guy, he can't help but like him. The letters go from being full of excitement and elation at the beginning of his acquaintance with Lotte to slowly turning very dark as Werther slips further and further into depression. Deep depression. In fact, his emotions go to such extremes throughout the book, I'd say poor Werther is manic depressive with his thoughts of suicide and murder. He says towards the end of the book, "One of us three must go, so let it be me!" He's had thoughts of killing Albert and even Lotte herself but can't bring himself to harm either of them. So he takes himself out of the equation in hopes that Lotte and Albert can live happily ever after.

    The Sorrows of Young Werther is beautifully written but very sad. It's heartbreaking to read as poor Werther's euphoric happiness slides slowly to despair. He says a couple of days after his first introduction to Lotte, "My days are as happy as any God sets aside for his saints; and, whatever the future may have in store for me, I cannot claim I have not enjoyed the pleasures in life, the very purest of pleasures."

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Simply Inspired

    The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Goethe is a book I must have been side-stepping for years. It seems like someone I know would have recommended it to me at some point as a "you need to read this... it's so you" suggestion. But alas, I'm left to wonder where this story has been all my life.

    The basics: Boy meets Girl. Boy can't have Girl. Boy kills Self. Sure, I'm over-simplifying a bit, but that's the basic gist. As with all truly touching books, the plot is fairly basic at its core and the details are therefore allowed to emerge to the forefront and push you along in a tremendously heart-breaking way. (complete review at whatrefuge.blogspot)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 8, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Goethe is an excellent author from the Romantic Age of literature.

    I heard about this book after taking a Literature and Science class at college in which two of the assigned books were Elective Affinities by Goethe and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Honestly, I was a little disappointed with The Sorrows of Young Werther after reading the two aforementioned books and hearing so many positives about Werther. I admit that Romanticism is not my favorite style, although I do consider Frankenstein to be one of my favorite books. Frankly, Werther is a bit of a "drama king" for me, and his overreactions seemed silly and overdramatized, especially when he was criticized about his work. Even so, Goethe is an excellent writer and Werther is a classic from the Romantic Age. It's also interesting to see why the monster in Frankenstein got so worked up after reading this book. Overall, it's an interesting book and worth a read, especially considering the price, length, and writing style. It's an intellectually stimulating read as well.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2002

    The Sorrow of Loving Too Much

    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. I think many readers will have a problem with the character of Werther. He is simply too romantic to be real. And then there will be those who will wonder how a man who is capable of uttering the most gorgeous and flowing words about beauty, art and nature can fall so hopelessly in love with one woman that he seems to forget all else that he holds dear. Well, Werther, in the best romantic tradition, has invested all the emotion he feels for art, beauty, religion, etc. in Charlotte. Once readers realize this, I think the ending of this novella will make sense to them. Yes, Werther is an extreme but once you come to understand him, he does make perfect sense. As I said, this isn't Goethe at this best or his most sublime or even, believe it not, his most romantic, but this is certainly the best place to begin if you are just beginning your study of this monumental author or of German romanticism in general.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2001

    A Classic for the Ages

    Goethe strove for universality in understanding and affirmation, amenability to experience of whatever kind, reckless realism, reverence for everything factual. A spirit thus emancipated stands in the midst of the universe with a joyful and trusting fatalism, in the faith that only what is separate and individual may be rejected, that in the totality everything is redeemed and affirmed-he no longer denies...

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2000

    Tragic romance then, mentally disturbed now.

    Being a history major in college I found the book interesting, but I was more interested in Werther's fascination with nature than with Lotte. His unique ability to notice the beauty and truth of nature made the book more interesting. It's not a very good read I often found myself zoning off and had to reread a few sentences just to find I didn't miss anything.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)