The Sorrows of Young Werther

The Sorrows of Young Werther

by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, R.D. Boylan

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This is Goethe's first novel, published in 1774. Written in diary form, it tells the tale of an unhappy, passionate young man hopelessly in love with Charlotte, the wife of a friend - a man who he alternately admires and detests. 'The Sorrows of Young Werther' became an important part of the 'Sturm und Drang movement, and greatly influenced later 'Romanticism'. The work is semi-autobiographical - in 1772, two years before the novel was published, Goethe had passed through a similar tempestuous period, when he lost his heart to Charlotte Buff, who was at that time engaged to his friend Johann Christian Kestner

Product Details

BN ID: 2940161453438
Publisher: BlackBox Books
Publication date: 04/09/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer. George Eliot called him "Germany's greatest man of letters... and the last true polymath to walk the earth." Goethe's works span the fields of poetry, drama, literature, theology, humanism, and science. Goethe's magnum opus, lauded as one of the peaks of world literature, is the two-part drama Faust. Goethe's other well-known literary works include his numerous poems, the Bildungsroman Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship and the epistolary novel The Sorrows of Young Werther.

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The Sorrows Of Young Werther 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
haven't read it, seems like a cool book cover art is a bit lacking but yea i couldnt get into it but not sure cause i havent read it but goethe seems like a g so yea i guess i could get behind it
Yung_dog_werther_dog More than 1 year ago
I fownd this very sad... to sad actually. I’ve red 3/19ths of it tho. Sometimes I wunder wat it’s like to be a yung werther. Was he popular at school and is that why he decided to... well you know.... yikes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
JohnZelazny More than 1 year ago
Before I was halfway through this book I had already connected with it on a deep level. I didn’t know what was going to happen in the end but I knew Goethe was telling my story and the opposite of my story at the same time. Ten years later I published my first novel, The Sorrows of Young Mike, which is a parody of this great tale. I can only be grateful to Goethe and encourage everyone to read The Sorrows of Young Werther. Also, if you like it enough or even if you hate it — you should check out my parody.
Francesca_frolicking More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
sfisk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best tales of unrequited love I've ever readTruly a masterpiece and often overlooked
Katie_H on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For being written in 1774, this German novella is a timeless classic. It is often described as a romance or tragic love story, but I'd have to disagree with that description. What I experienced was a case study in severe depression and angst, not "love." But that's just semantics. Goethe wrote the book as a series of letters from Werther to his friend Wilhelm. Werther finds himself "in love" (obsessed) with a girl, Charlotte, who is engaged to another man, Albert. He is consumed with complex and extreme emotions, loneliness, frustration, and constant thoughts of death. The majority of the time, he comes across as overly dramatic and extremely whiny, and the reader finds herself wishing that he would just "get a grip." Forshadowing of the climax begins on the first page and continues frequently throughout the text. Even though Werther comes across as pathological, anyone who has ever experienced a broken heart or a situation of unrequited love will be able to relate to his experience. This is one of the must read fictional masterpieces, but be warned that it is very dark and very disturbing and probably isn't a good choice post break-up.
joririchardson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I couldn't quite bring myself to enjoy this short tragedy by Goethe. It wasn't even 200 pages, but it took me longer than I had been expecting to get through it.It is the story of a young man in 1700's Germany named Werther. He falls in love with a young woman named Lotte, but she is already engaged to another man. Even after she is married, Werther continues to love her, and they form a friendship, which is both heavenly and torturous to the despairing Werther. The main thing that I disliked here was that I just wanted Werther to grow up and get over it. Reading the paragraph above, I must admit it is relatively sad, but really now. It doesn't even sound like the plot of a tragedy, just perhaps an unfortunate sub-plot. Werther sees negativity in everything, and is constantly wishing he was dead and dwelling on suicide and weeping over his letters / journal. I have to admit that sometimes, the idea of a tragic, heartbroken man braving the sorrows of life can be appealing in some strange way. But rather than suffer in silence and gather his strength, Werther suffers loudly and wants everyone to know it. Rather than gathering strength from his ordeals, he lets them weaken him into a weepy fool. I couldn't like him or feel any sympathy for him.This book would have been utterly atrocious if not for Goethe's skillful brilliance. He is, of course, one of the greatest writers of all time, and even in a book I can't particularly say I liked, he still manages to write beautifully and evocatively. His prose is majestically awe inspiring at times, though it does tend to ramble on a bit and sometimes wander and become pointless. I noticed while looking for quotes to collect here that I found plenty of gorgeous paragraphs, but couldn't seem to spot a single sentence or short phrase that caught my eye. And I'm not writing down a whole paragraph on my bookmark.I wasn't familiar with the story of "Sorrows of Young Werther" at all coming into it, and as I tend to start imagining possible directions a book could go as I'm reading it, it somehow became set in my mind that Werther should become a poet.Goethe's beautiful writing is here attributed to his character, since the book is Werther narrating in the form of letters he is writing. So the man's letters prove he can write, and I can certainly imagine him turning his sorrows into great material. He even loves poetry, and is a fan of Ossian (who is mentioned quite a few times). Just a thought.I couldn't say I liked this book, despite the author.
AustereAdam on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary:Johann Wolfgang von Goethe¿s The Sorrows of Young Werther is not so much a tale of love and romance, as it is a chronicle of mental health; specifically, it seems, Goethe is tackling the idea of depression and even (though the term would not have existed then) bi-polar depression. Werther spends his days feeling everything in extremes. When he is happy in something, even something seemingly miniscule, he is overjoyed by it. His ¿cup overfloweth¿ and he radiates a sun-like magnitude of warmth and well-being to everyone around him. When he is saddened by something (or someone), he is inconsolable. Each disappointment pushes him nearer and nearer to the edge, of which Werther himself seems to be aware and almost welcoming. The crux of Werther¿s Joys and Sorrows is, of course, a woman ¿ a love which cannot be reconciled. Ultimately, each encounter with Werther¿s love-interest, Lotte, becomes more detrimental to Werther¿s fragile state-of-mind and, with one final visit (one which Lotte had expressly forbidden), Werther reaches his limit. The Good:Though this has been criticized by some, I appreciate the epistolary structure of this novel. I also like that to each of Werther¿s letters, a response must be guessed or imagined, because none of the letters Werther received are included. I have a difficult time deciding why I like that we only get access to Werther¿s side of the conversation but, I think, it is because ¿ really ¿ no other character has much to do with what is going on inside Werther¿s head. In fact, even Lotte, the reason Werther ¿sacrifices¿ himself in the end, is only an excuse for the sacrifice and not the actual, root cause of Werther¿s sorrow. Also, something I found particularly irksome throughout the first half of the novel, but which ultimately I find pleasing, is the lack of any type of characterization, even for those characters who play a larger role, such as Lotte and her husband Albert. At first, I found it difficult to engage with the novel because of this but, upon reflection, I realize the necessity. After all, this novel is about Werther¿s state of mind, so the development of any other character would largely detract from the work¿s purpose. In addition to this distraction, one must also realize that Werther is a rather arrogant, self-centered person, who is not very concerned about anybody else (even Lotte, when it comes down to it). Werther is entirely engrossed in his own pleasures, his own happiness, and his own despairs; thus, to focus even for a moment on anyone else¿s personality or achievements would decrease the importance that Goethe had been placing on Werther¿s own self-involvement. The Bad:The novel closes by introducing a rather omniscient ¿Narrator,¿ who is not to be mistaken for Goethe¿s narrator (this can also be a bit tricky throughout the novel, when ¿narrator comments¿ are footnoted). The Narrator seems to be viewing things from the outside, to be evaluating Werther¿s life and letters as a bystander, a researcher; however, he does also seem to have some connection to the characters, some insight into their emotions and actions. Does this make him unreliable? Perhaps. I also find the act of introducing a portion of the book as belonging to the Narrator, and including that Narrator suddenly into the plot-line not just unreliable but also distracting. While having the Narrator there to explain some of Werther¿s actions and emotions, to guide the reader through Werther¿s final days, rather than have Werther write them in letters per usual (and this may have seemed more appropriate to Werther as, when one is ending one¿s life, does one really write a letter about all the actions he is taking, all the steps covered, tasks completed? ) is probably necessary, I found it a harsh break from the rest of the novel and, at the point where I would most liked to have been connecting with the main character, I felt most separated. I did also find the many pages devote
theokester on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.Through the letters, we follow Werther as he moves to the country and encounters a young girl named Lotte. He is immediately transfixed by her and professes undying love. She coyly allows his advances and it seems as though a romance may appear between them. Quickly we learn that Lotte is betrothed to another man named Albert. Werther is taken aback by this, but still persists in being close to Lotte with the hope of perhaps persuading her to love him. When the time comes, Lotte does marry Albert, much to Werther's dismay, but the three of them remain friendly. Werther visits them frequently and seems to hover incessantly over Lotte. He grows more and more jealous of Albert, which creates some tension in the group and Albert begins to leave the room when Werther comes to visit.Werther's obsession with Lotte grows more and more intense as time goes on. He battles with himself over the emotions he feels and writes his friend for advice, although it is very clear that Werther does not feel able to (nor does he desire to) make a break from Lotte and strive to love another. He does finally move away from Lotte and spends some time trying to move on with his life. He becomes more and more discontent in his work and more and more obsessed with returning to her. He finally does move back to live by them again. Albert is more offstandish and put off by Werther's presence. Werther continues to be insistent in his own mind (and sometimes to Lotte or Wilhelm) that there must be a way for her to love him. At the same time, he is emotionally conflicted because he knows she "belongs" to another man and he does not feel it is right to try and take her from him. She eventually tells Werther that he needs to stop coming around so often (he'd been visiting almost daily) but says that he's still a friend and should come by for Christmas as she's made him a gift.*** SPOILER ***Shortly after (the day after) Lotte tells Werther to back off a bit, he finds Lotte alone one night and again professes his love and pushes on her and kisses her passionately. She forces him off and tells him how wrong he's behaving. He's again in turmoil but does leave, though he announces (somewhat veiled) that she won't see him again¿ever. He returns home and writes a few more notes in preparation of his suicide. He sends a note to Lotte and Albert to borrow their pistols for "a trip he's taking." Lotte realizes what's going on, but sends the pistols anyway. He shoots himself in the middle of the night and dies the next morning. He's buried without clergy, graveyard or cemetery.*** END SPOILER ***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
lesserlady on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is spectacular. The prose of Goethe is stunning and the depth of emotion is amazing. Do not read this book if you are in a melancholy mood; it will intensify those emotions and may pull you from melancholy to despair. Despite that negativity it is a stellar exploration of human love, affection, friendship and emotion.
proteus147 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've read this book being aware of the fact that immediately after it was published in 1774 a "Werther" crisis began.Suicidal acts,broken hearts,painting,dressing styles.Everything was pointing toward Goethe's novel.It was very exiting to go through a such harrowing love story written in a masterfully style.Like all other classical texts it made me anxious and eager to find out what the next page had to offer.I remember even crying out loud a couple of times so in my case it was by no means a boring lecture.I'd recommend this book to anyone who thinks loving is easy and "pink".Take a look at love from a other(probably disturbing) point of view.
DavidHenry on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I feel a little phoney writing a review for a classic. But anyway...I first read Werther when I was about seventeen and I have to say that it went completely over my head. Alas, I thought it was dull. I reread it recently and thought it was brilliant!Werther is a love and loss story. The odd thing about it is that the main protagonist (Werther) falls in and out of love with life, whilst the relationship with the love interest, Lotte, remains constant. The novel takes the form of a briefmarken, allowing the reader acquaint his or herself with Werther's ruminations (predominantly ethical and aesthetic), which become increasingly despairing as the novel progresses, and the development of his affections toward Lotte.Werther is a disaffected youth, lofty and sincere - a romantic - who struggles to come to terms with the rather uninspired world of petite-bourgeois aspirations and conventions he encounters throughout the novel. Goethe's depiction of Werther's descent from a loftly-minded pollyanna to a disaffected outsider is subtle, poignant and thought provoking.
Staramber on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I find it hard to properly review a book that says `classics¿ on the cover so I¿ll only add that I liked reading about the destructive nature of passionate, one-sided love. It¿s a perfect remedy to love can conquer all writing when you can see the pain and violence that often goes hand in hand with love.
soylentgreen23 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I did not enjoy 'The Sorrows' as much as, I believe, the likes of Byron did. It is a romantic book, but so over-the-top by modern standards that I couldn't really get to grips with it very well. I'm just glad it didn't go on too long, or I might have struggled with a narrator obsessed with himself and with his passionate feelings.
joshrothman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I didn't love this - until the end, when it becomes amazing. Advice: don't read this translation, get a newer one. And read Trilling's Sincerity and Authenticity.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book, Goethe is a master. Definitely worth studyig to understand the romanticism of the period, even though Goethe later disowned the book. Highly recommended.
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