Goethe’s classic story of tormented love and destruction
Told through lyrical and impassioned letters to his friend Wilhelm, this novel follows the ardent young Werther to the German countryside, where he delves into artistic pursuits and basks in the simplicity of village life. But Werther’s tranquility is shattered when he meets the captivating Charlotte at a ball in a nearby town. Every bit his equal in temperament and intellectual interests, Charlotte quickly becomes Werther’s singular obsession. He falls inextricably in love despite her engagement to another man. Overtaken by his affection for Charlotte and unable to extricate himself from the unrequited love, Werther must make peace between his artistic temperament and the harsh realities of the world.
Among the first—and most notable—examples of Germany’s Sturm und Drang movement, The Sorrows of Young Werther was enormously influential upon its publication in 1774, creating a cult of personality around the tragic figure of Werther and causing a sensation in Europe’s literary community.
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A classic of world literature, Goethe’s Faust is a philosophical and poetic drama full of satire, irony, humor, and tragedy. Martin Greenberg re-creates not only the text’s varied meter and rhyme but also its diverse tones and styles—dramatic and lyrical, reflective and farcical, pathetic and coarse, colloquial and soaring. His rendition of Faust is the first faithful, readable, and elegantly written translation of Goethe’s masterpiece available in English. At last, the Greenberg Faust is available in a single volume, together with a thoroughly updated translation, preface, and notes.
“Greenberg has accomplished a magnificent literary feat. He has taken a great German work, until now all but inaccessible to English readers, and made it into a sparkling English poem, full of verve and wit. Greenberg's translation lives; it is done in a modern idiom but with respect for the original text; I found it a joy to read.”—Irving Howe (on the earlier edition)
Goethe’s masterpiece and perhaps the greatest work in German literature, Faust has made the legendary German alchemist one of the central myths of the Western world. Here indeed is a monumental Faust, an audacious man boldly wagering with the devil, Mephistopheles, that no magic, sensuality, experience, or knowledge can lead him to a moment he would wish to last forever. Here, in Faust, Part I, the tremendous versatility of Goethe’s genius creates some of the most beautiful passages in literature. Here too we experience Goethe’s characteristic humor, the excitement and eroticism of the witches’ Walpurgis Night, and the moving emotion of Gretchen’s tragic fate.
This authoritative edition, which offers Peter Salm’s wonderfully readable translation as well as the original German on facing pages, brings us Faust in a vital, rhythmic American idiom that carefully preserves the grandeur, integrity, and poetic immediacy of Goethe’s words.
Prometheus. Ich will nicht, sag es ihnen! Und kurz und gut, ich will nicht! Ihr Wille gegen meinen! Eins gegen eins, Mich dünkt, es hebt sich! Merkur. Deinem Vater Zeus das bringen? Deiner Mutter? Prometheus. Was Vater! Mutter! Weißt du, woher du kommst? Ich stand, als ich zum erstenmal bemerkte Die Füße stehn, Und reichte, da ich Diese Hände reichen fühlte, Und fand die achtend meiner Tritte, Die du nennst Vater, Mutter.
In Elective Affinities Goethe conducts an experiment with the lives of people who are living badly. Charlotte and Eduard, aristocracts with little to occupy them, invite Ottilie and the Captain into their lives; against morality, good sense, and conscious volition all four are drawn into relationships as inexorably as if they were substances in a chemical equation. The novel asks whether we have free will or not; more disturbingly, it confronts its characters with the monstrous consequences of their repression of any real life in themselves. Goethe wrote Elective Affinities when he was sixty and long established as Germany's literary giant. He remained an uneasy and scandalous figure, none the less, and readers of Elective Affinities were profoundly disturbed by its penetrating study of marriage and passion. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
The Sorrows of Young Werther (Die Leiden des jungen Werthers) is an epistolary and loosely autobiographical novel by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, first published in 1774; a revised edition of the novel was published in 1787. Werther was an important novel of the Sturm und Drang period in German literature, and it also influenced the later Romantic literary movement.
Eduard and Charlotte are an aristocratic couple who live a harmonious but idle life in their estate. But the peace of their existence is thrown into chaos when two visitors - Eduard's friend the Captain and Charlotte's passionate young ward Ottilie - provoke unexpected attraction and forbidden love. Taking its title from the principle of elective affinities - the theory that certain chemicals are naturally drawn to one another - this is a penetrating study of marriage and adultery. Inspired by Goethe's own conflicting loyalties as he battled to maintain his relationship with his wife and control his feelings for a younger woman, Elective Affinities is one of the greatest works of the romance era: a rich exploration of love, conflict, and the inescapable force of fate.
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