The Sorrows Of Young Werther

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Overview

The Sorrows of Young Werther is a loosely autobiographical novel by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, first published in 1774. It was Goethe's first major success, turning him from an unknown into a celebrated author practically overnight. ---
The majority of the novel is presented as a collection of letters written by Werther, a young artist of a highly sensitive and passionate temperament, and sent to his friend Wilhelm. In these letters, Werther gives a very intimate account of ...
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The Sorrows of Young Werther

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Overview

The Sorrows of Young Werther is a loosely autobiographical novel by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, first published in 1774. It was Goethe's first major success, turning him from an unknown into a celebrated author practically overnight. ---
The majority of the novel is presented as a collection of letters written by Werther, a young artist of a highly sensitive and passionate temperament, and sent to his friend Wilhelm. In these letters, Werther gives a very intimate account of his stay in the fictional village of Wahlheim (based on the town of Garbenheim, near Wetzlar), where he meets and falls in love with Lotte, a beautiful young girl who is taking care of her siblings following the death of their mother. Lotte is, however, already engaged to a man named Albert. Despite the pain this causes Werther, he spends the next few months cultivating a close friendship with both of them. Every day serves as a torturing reminder that Lotte will never be able to requite his love...*
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781934648964
  • Publisher: Norilana Books
  • Publication date: 9/29/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 136
  • Sales rank: 992,201
  • Product dimensions: 0.32 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 20 )
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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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...

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  • 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.

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