The Sorrows of Young Werther (Paperback)

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Item: 9780199583027


The Sorrows of Young Werther (Paperback)
By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, translated by David Constantine

One of the world’s first bestsellers, this tragic masterpiece attained an instant and lasting success upon its 1774 publication, catapulting the author to the forefront of the German literary movement known as Sturm ung Drang. A burst of parodies, operas, poems, and plays based on The Sorrows of Young Werther rapidly ensued, along with the cult-like following of young romantics across Europe.

Composed almost entirely of letters written by Werther to his friend Wilhelm, The Sorrows of Young Werther is a heartbreaking narrative about a doomed love. Werther, a young artist driven more by the heart than by reason, is already enraptured with the elusive Charlotte when she marries another man better suited to her class. To keep Charlotte near, Werther befriends her husband – a bid that becomes a torturous reminder of all he’s lost. Then, out of sincere pity, Charlotte can think of only one way to help free Werther from his self-destructive passion – but he has a different plan of escape.

Translated by the award-winning author David Constantine, this new edition captures the novel's lyric clarity and powerful immediacy. In addition, Constantine's critical introduction sheds light on the autobiographical background, the novel's epistolary form and structure, and Werther's reception and afterlife. The explanatory notes illuminate contemporary allusions, literary references, and the parallels with Goethe's life.

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (May 4, 2012)
  • Dimensions: 5” W x 0.4” D x 7.6” H


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