Customer Reviews


18 Reviews
5 star:
 (10)
4 star:
 (4)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Little Novel that Caused a Huge Sensation
We tend to think of our era as unique when we descry the impact that the media has on our young people's behavior. Well the same thing happened 200 years ago when this book was first published. Impressionable young readers who identified so completely with Werther went out and committed suicide by the droves.
Werther is the prototypical Romantic male, who "feels"...
Published on 1 Dec 2002 by Bruce Kendall

versus
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very poor digitisation ruins this edition
Buyer beware.

Dozens of transcription errors make reading this edition far more of a chore than it ought to be. Wrongly digitised letters, whole incorrect words, and occasional meaningless repetitions, as well as footnotes which do not reflow when the font is scaled, but are truncated.

Very poor quality from such a reliable publisher. Choose any...
Published 16 months ago by J Fisher


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Little Novel that Caused a Huge Sensation, 1 Dec 2002
By 
Bruce Kendall "BEK" (Southern Pines, NC) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
We tend to think of our era as unique when we descry the impact that the media has on our young people's behavior. Well the same thing happened 200 years ago when this book was first published. Impressionable young readers who identified so completely with Werther went out and committed suicide by the droves.
Werther is the prototypical Romantic male, who "feels" more deeply than the rest of humanity. Unlike Heathcliffe, who settles on revenge as an answer to his thwarted designs, Werther takes it out on himself. Of course, there's a great deal of self-destruction at work in Heathcliffe's persona too.
I would recommend this to a reader who is just getting to know Goethe. I read it when I was about eighteen and it definitely struck a nerve with me at that time. It made me want to read everything by Goethe I could find in translation.
Read it, and if you like it, as I am sure you will, go on to Goethe's two great Romantic novels, Elective Affinities and Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship. I found in my earlier readings that I never went wrong with Penguin Classics translations. They're normally all top-notch, whether Greek, Latin, French, German, Russian, etc. PS: If you're a young reader, please don't take Werther too much to heart. It's only a novel, ok?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, it really touched a part of my soul., 22 Aug 2009
The sorrows of young Werther is, in my humble opinion, one of the best stories I have read.

The majority of the narrative is written in the words of Werther himself in the form of letters to his brother Wilhelm and it starts slowly but I would urge the reader to be patient as the story blossoms.

I found myself sympathising with Werther and his unrequieted love for Lotte having been there more than once in my life and feeling the same pain and elation in the same heart beat, the uncertainty and the joy. I found Goethe's text mirroring real life, I later discovered that it is based on his own unrequieted love and so was an out pouring of his feelings.

On the whole I really enjoyed this book and it was my first Goethe and I am looking forward to reading more and would urge anyone who has felt the same pain or has an interest in classic literature to read this.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A journey alongside genius, 28 July 2010
Two true stories woven together so as to provide a tragic love story and a direct insight into Goethe's mind. Simple, poetic, tragic and thoughtful. A journey alongside genius.

When Napoleon met Goethe he is reported to have said, "There is a Man!" Napoleon was a big fan of Goethe and read this book no less than seven times. Perhaps not surprisingly, because its semi-autobiographical nature makes it an almost direct insight into Goethe's genius.

The story is based on two separate but related true stories. First Goethe's own stay in the village of Wetzlar in 1771 when he was 23. He met Charlotte Buff who was engaged to Christian Kestner and seems to have fallen in love with her and possibly her with him, but neither acted on their feelings out of respect and possibly love for Kestner. The second concerns a mutual friend, Wilhelm Jerusalem, who shot himself over his love for Elisabeth Herd, a married woman. Much is known of the actual facts of these two stories and Goethe's synthesis of himself and Jerusalem into the fictional Werther follows the facts remarkably closely so that it seems when he talks about Werther's feelings he is describing his own.

Goethe has that clarity and simplicity of thought that defines genius and he has sufficient self-confidence in his own abilities so as not to need to display his cleverness. Instead he plainly and simply sets out the story and his/Werther's thoughts and emotions about what is happening. He tries to be a fine human being against the tide of his emotions, and there is much to appreciate in his relationships with others and in his observations about the simple pleasures in life. The reader is left with the strong impression that Goethe would have been a good and interesting friend; and the fact of his having a powerful and creative mind would never have interfered with that position.

As Werther falls further in love with Charlotte his situation becomes hopeless and, like Jerusalem, he decides to shoot himself using Albert's (Christian's) guns. The ending is gory and ghastly but, in Werther's mind, glorious because in death he will get to wait for Charlotte who he is certain loves him and not Albert.

The book was a sensation on publication and Werther mania swept Europe, including guided tours of Wetzlar and Jerusalem's grave. Suicide was said to have become a fashion amongst the young and they adopted Werther's (Jerusalem's) trademark dress of blue frock-coat, buff leather waistcoat and breeches.

For modern readers it is a remarkable and poignant love story, but also a chance to spend some hours in the company of a great and gentle mind.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The storm and urge of young Goethe, 31 Dec 2012
By 
Peter Reeve (Thousand Oaks, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Werther was an important and influential novel of the Sturm und Drang period. Goethe was 26 when he wrote it. It was his first novel and brought him instant fame. It is something of a young person's novel, overbrimming with emotional drama. In later life, Goethe distanced himself from it somewhat.

I found the early part too overheated for my taste (a bit too much of a Sturm in a teacup) but Werther's obsessive passion becomes more authentic and compelling later in the story. And, some way through the book, there are very fine descriptive passages. The ending is extraordinary - dark, dramatic, disturbing. It is difficult now to understand the impact the novel had at the time, as it was so perfectly suited to the zeitgeist, so different from our own.

I read the Modern Library Classics edition, translated and introduced by Burton Pike. I have not read other editions, so cannot compare them, but I can tell you that this one is excellent. Werther presents a particular challenge to the English translator, because it includes a sizeable extract from The Songs of Ossian, by James Macpherson, translated into German. So does the translator attempt a translation of Goethe's German version, which is rather more passionate and free-flowing than the original, or is it better to simply revert to the original English version? Pike chooses the latter course, wisely in my opinion, and adds an explanatory footnote. He also discusses the issue in the Introduction.

If you want to get to know Goethe's work (and if you enjoy good literature, you should) then this first novel is a logical place to start, but be assured that his more mature work is far better.
[PeterReeve]
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very poor digitisation ruins this edition, 24 Dec 2012
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Buyer beware.

Dozens of transcription errors make reading this edition far more of a chore than it ought to be. Wrongly digitised letters, whole incorrect words, and occasional meaningless repetitions, as well as footnotes which do not reflow when the font is scaled, but are truncated.

Very poor quality from such a reliable publisher. Choose any other edition.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars The beginning of Romanticism, 26 Feb 2012
The Sorrows of Young Werther, by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, is an exciting read for anyone interested in the Romantic period. Written in 1774, some critics have considered the publishing of the short novel as the beginning of Romanticism. Although academics vary on the dates they attribute to the period, it is undeniable that Werther is fundamental to fundamental aspects of it, particularly its influence in the cult of sensibility and the European cult of celebrity. Following its release, the novel was banned in Italy due to the numerous suicides of young men who felt they identified with Werther. In this story of unrequited love, one finds some of the most hyperbolic and lyrical writing of the period. It anticipates the confessional thread which ran through later Romantic works, and provides a study of obsessive manic love of which an elevated mind of reason has no control. In this sense, it is not unlike Hazlitt's Liber Amoris. Madame de Stael widened readings of Werther, politicizing it, suggesting that Werther would not have become suicidal if it wasn't for his occupational failings. All in all, The Sorrows of Young Werther is an under-appreciated book. Its influences on the Romantic period were far-reaching and it should be delved into by those with a love of Romanticism.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars a great story, 5 Feb 2011
the sorrows of young werther is a story of deep love and how it can affect a person in the most terrible ways if the feeling is not mutual. i cant really do the book much justice by writing a review all i can say is that it is a book that you wont regret reading!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Be on your guard...", 30 Mar 2004
"...and take care not to fall in love!" Truly the first, and still the greatest, pieces of 'confessional' writing on the up's and down's, the trials and tribulations, that come with that awe-inspiring feeling we know as "love".
Whilst a previous reviewer noted this book is not for the recently heart broken, I would say the contrary. Anyone who has experienced both the passionate and romantic conditions of love, and has been affected in all aspects of their life as a result - hint: if you haven't then chances are you have not actually experienced love in its entirity! - simply MUST own a copy of this classic!
It is actually of great comfort in many resepcts, inasmuch as you can relate so directly with the feelings described, so to make the reader aware of the fact that you are not the first nor the last to have simultaneously enjoyed and endured such feelings.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound - but not for everyone, 13 May 2009
I read this book as part of my English degree, and turned out to be the only person in class to really enjoy it. It's from the Romantic era, and so focuses on Nature and emotions, so if that doesn't interest you, avoid. Some of the passages really gripped me, as if thoughts I'd struggled to put in words were right there, on the page. If you want to read something unique, fascinating, and very short, buy this.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tragic Love Story, 20 Mar 2002
By A Customer
This book is possibly the most moving account of a young mans love. The words are so beautifully written and with such poignancy the reader is left with a heavy heart aching for the tragic young Werther.
I personally found reading this book to Beethovens Moonlight Sonata created a mood suited to the occasion. Not for the recently broken hearted
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First
ARRAY(0xb2f31cc0)

This product

The Sorrows of Young Werther (Modern Library)
The Sorrows of Young Werther (Modern Library) by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Hardcover - 1 Feb 2004)
Used & New from: 8.82
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews