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.
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.
In his little hut by the great river, which a heavy rain had swollen to overflowing, lay the ancient Ferryman, asleep, wearied by the toil of the day. In the middle of the night, loud voices awoke him; he heard that it was travellers wishing to be carried over. Stepping out, he saw two large Will-o'-wisps, hovering to and fro on his boat, which lay moored: they said, they were in violent haste, and should have been already on the other side. The old Ferryman made no loitering; pushed off, and steered with his usual skill obliquely through the stream; while the two strangers whiffled and hissed together, in an unknown very rapid tongue, and every now and then broke out in loud laughter, hopping about, at one time on the gunwale and the seats, at another on the bottom of the boat.
"The boat is keeling!" cried the old man; "if you don't be quiet, it'll overset; be seated, gentlemen of the wisp!"
At this advice they burst into a fit of laughter, mocked the old man, and were more unquiet than ever. He bore their mischief with silence, and soon reached the farther shore.
Most of The Sorrows of Young Werther is presented as a collection of letters written by Werther, a young artist of a sensitive and passionate temperament, to his friend Wilhelm. He meets Charlotte, a beautiful young girl who takes care of her siblings after the death of their mother. Werther falls in love with Charlotte despite knowing beforehand that she is engaged to a man named Albert eleven years her senior. Despite the pain it causes him, Werther spends the next few months cultivating a close friendship with them both.
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