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The Sorrows of Young Werther by [Von Goethe, Johann Wolfgang]
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The Sorrows of Young Werther Kindle Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 409 KB
  • Print Length: 125 pages
  • Publisher: Start Publishing LLC (1 Nov. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00ABDI3EG
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #202,086 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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?
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Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Is this really a work of genius as has traditionally been proclaimed? I think it is very well crafted, bit by bit showing the state of mind of a young man ever more lost in romantic notions. The trouble with it is, it's so ridiculously over-the-top and becomes so devoid of any real love, other than a self-centred egotism that I think the only way it can really be called great literature is if it was intended in part as a parody and satire. Yet it seems to have been written in all earnestness.

I'm reminded of Keats, another twenty-something Romantic writer with great potential, but who only ever really wrote teenage emotion, albeit elegantly. In Goethe's novel, Werther is such an idiot really, and there are such obvious flaws and unbalanced self-regard in his logic, whether talking about suicide, or love, or God - that if this was intended as serious literary reflection it's quite pathetic. (Spoiler) As an insight into the unbalanced mind of someone who kills themselves it is very good; as literature with anything worthy to say it is useless.

I haven't read his other works, and perhaps this is just his 'young' novel and not the reason for all the 'Goethe Institutes' that were spread around the world. I hope his later works had something deeper to say about life and love.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
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.
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