Generally considered Germany's greatest literary figure, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) produced a large body of fine literary work that includes novels, plays, stories, scientific treatises, travel accounts, and much other prose. Perhaps at his greatest as a poet, he was the author of numerous exceptionally fine lyric poems, ballads, and elegies.
This convenient dual-language edition, spanning a wide range of styles, forms, and moods, allows readers to savor a rich selection of the poet's verse in the original German — from "An den Sclaf" ("To Sleep"), written when he was 18, to his last great poem, "Vermächtnis" ("Legacy"), written when he was 80. Several poems from the 1819 volume West-östlicher Divan (Occidental-Oriental Divan) are presented. Excellent line-for-line English translations on facing pages accompany such masterworks as "Prometheus," typical of the Sturm and Drang (storm and stress) period; "Rastlose Liebe" ("Restless Love") and "An den Mond" ("To the Moon"), lyric pieces of intense beauty; and the narrative ballads "Der Fischer" ("The Fisherman") and "Erlkönig" ("Elf King"). Included among the 96 other works are these poems: "Auf dem See" ("On the Lake"); "Zigeunerlied" ("Gypsy Song"); "Jägers Abendlied" ("Huntsman's Evening Song"); "Grenzen der Menschheit" ("Limitations of Humanity"); "Der Zauberiehrling" ("The Sorcerer's Apprentice"); and "An Werther" ("To Werther").
For this edition, translator Stanley Appelbaum has provided an informative introduction and a commentary on each poem, which will prove invaluable to students, teachers, and general readers.