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The Sufferings of Young Werther: A New Translation by Stanley Corngold Hardcover – 13 Jan 2012

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (13 Jan. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393079384
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393079388
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 1.8 x 21.8 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,044,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


The translator is to be congratulated on having produced a Werther in which both the substance and the tone of the original shine through --Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

Stanley Corngold is a professor emeritus of German and comparative literature at Princeton University. His highly acclaimed translations include Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis and Kafka's Selected Stories.

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Great story, great translation 25 Mar. 2015
By Wife of Worcester - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had tried to read this book before, in a different translation, but it felt very stiff and hard to get into. This modern translation feels so much more natural, engaging the modern reader, but yet feels native to its time period.

As for Goethe's story itself:
"Sometimes I tell myself: Your fate is unique; count the others fortunate—no one else has ever been so tormented.—Then I read a poet from ancient times, and it seems as if I were looking into my own heart." --Goethe, The Sufferings of Young Werther, trans. Corngold.

That passage how I often felt reading Werther, which was written nearly 2 1/2 centuries ago (not exactly "ancient times", but still).
Most of the story is first-person narration in the form of letters (there is some filling-in by the "editor"), and Werther shows himself to be a highly intelligent young man who experiences emotions intensely. Unfortunately, he falls for a young lady who is spoken for, and he doesn't get over it, he becomes obsessed. Goethe really nails the emotional experience of unrequited love and despair--he was drawing from experience, and wrote Werther so as not to become Werther.

Technical issue with the kindle edition:
I also had the problem with several pages turning into a hyperlink (blue text, underlined), and accidentally bumped it a few times, where it went to a footnote. Then I tapped the footnote to go back, and it went to the beginning of the blue underlined passage, far from where I actually had been in the book. For me, it was a minor inconvenience, but if it hasn't been fixed already, please fix it.
Werther an excellent read 28 Jan. 2015
By J. Spirit - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This work was exactly what I expected. Beautiful. Werther cannot help but win your heart. He is so sincere about how he feels, even if it is to the detriment of his happiness. A sweet tribute to the time period also.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Easy to read 22 Feb. 2013
By Sydnie Hilburn - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Loved the translation. It was easy to use in class, easy to read, and much better than a paper back.
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Uni-students note: Kindle glitch makes highlighting impossible 3 Mar. 2014
By katherine munro - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I often buy classic works of literature for my kindle so that I can highlight great quotes, historical references, unknown words and so on. Having bought this text for university, I needed this functionality even more so. However at about 40% through, the text transformed in to one long hyperlink which lasted the rest of the book. This meant I couldn't make my own highlights any more, and had to create notes instead saying 'good quote' or 'look this phrase up for reference' etc. It was also very frustrating to read chapter upon chapter of underlined text.
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Serviceable translation 23 Feb. 2013
By Writing Teacher - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This new translation is accessible to contemporary American college students. The introduction provides a context for the novel. There is not as much biographical information and parallels as in some other versions. The Kindle version has major problems with font changes.
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