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.
The 1774 publication of the epistolary novel The Sorrows of Young Werther transformed its 24-year-old author, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, into a world-renowned literary sensation virtually overnight. The story centers on Werther, a highly sensitive artist who has channeled his passionate temperate into his unrequited love for Lotte, a beautiful young lady who is still reeling from the aftermath of her mother's death. Regarded as a masterpiece of the Romantic era, this lyrical meditation on love and loss will resonate with anyone whose affections have been spurned.
For more than two centuries the very title of this book has evoked the sensitivity of youth, the suffering of the artist, the idea of a hero too full of love to live. When it was first published in Germany, in 1774, The Sorrows of Young Werther created a sensation. Banned and condemned but embraced—especially by the young—it has continued to captivate.
Now Burton Pike’s startlingly new translation expresses as never before all the anguish, ideas, and ardor of this seminal, iconic novel. And his Introduction reveals both Goethe’s inspirations and his influence—on works ranging from Madame Bovary to Frankenstein and beyond.
Here is the classic story of Werther, a young man “seeking the infinite” in an art he cannot master and a woman he cannot have—the prototype of the Romantic hero in a work that anticipated the Romantic Age. Here is a bold new look at a masterpiece that has changed lives and, like its beloved hero, will never grow old.
A major work of German romanticism in a translation that is acknowledged as the definitive English language version. The Vintage Classics edition also includes NOVELLA, Goethe's poetic vision of an idyllic pastoral society.
'I have so much and my feeling for her devours everything, I have so much and without her everything is nothing.' The Sorrows of Young Werther propelled Goethe to instant fame when it first appeared in 1774. Goethe drew on his own unhappy experiences to tell the story of Werther, a young man tormented by his love for Lotte, a tender-hearted girl who is promised to someone else. Overwhelmed by his feelings, Werther begins to see only one way to escape from his anguish. Goethe's story of a sensitive young artist alienated from society channelled the Romantic sensibility of the day and led to a wave of imitations. Werther's searching introspection and the passionate intensity with which he bares his soul have an immediacy that is all the more powerful for being expressed in letters; charting the course of his emotions, they give added drama to the unfolding account. David Constantine's new translation captures the novel's lyric clarity, and his introduction and notes illuminate Goethe's achievement. 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.
You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.
eReaders and other devices
To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.