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The Sorrows of Young Werther

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  33,572 ratings  ·  1,405 reviews
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' ...more
Paperback, 149 pages
Published February 8th 2005 by Modern Library (first published 1774)
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The Metamorphosis by Franz KafkaThe Trial by Franz KafkaAll Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria RemarqueFaust by Johann Wolfgang von GoethePerfume by Patrick Süskind
Best German/Austrian Literature
8th out of 520 books — 500 voters
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan SwiftRobinson Crusoe by Daniel DefoeCandide by VoltaireThe Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von GoetheLes Liaisons Dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
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4th out of 135 books — 438 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Eric
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hans
This is s dangerous book. For anyone who has suffered from unrequited love that burns like a fever will be able to relate uncannily well with this book. Unfortunately the ending is such that it inspired many people to use it like a template for their own lives when faced with a similar situation. While finishing up this book I wondered whether Goethe was ever aware or thought about the painful actions his book inspired.

This is a fictionalized autobiography of Goethe's own experience of being in
...more
Fionnuala

It’s taken me well over a year to get through the saga of Young Werther’s love for his Lotte even though it’s quite a short little book. I plead mitigating circumstances. I didn’t plan to read this novel, a work which Goëthe distanced himself from in later life, but having come across a character called Goëthe and another called Lotte in Christine Brooke-Rose’s Textermination last year, I went in pursuit of their real-life story and found a trail which led to a fictional version of the same stor
...more
Renée
May 29, 2007 Renée rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: favourites
Most beautiful book I've ever read. Goethe's style and prose is incredible. I'm not sure how well it translates to English, having read it in Dutch and German, but I'm sure there are many competant translators out there. Anyone who's not read this is really, really missing out as it's of an unequalled beauty.
Nidhi
I am proud of my heart alone, it is the sole source of everything, all our strength, happiness and misery. All the knowledge I possess everyone else can acquire, but my heart is all my own.


If one doesn’t drown oneself in its indulgent water, sorrow can deepen, can humanize and connect a person to humanity. Werther realizes this idea at different levels of self-indulgence, self-destruction and emotional dissipation. He is dreamy, sensitive, emotional, vulnerable, very romantic, made for love, to
...more
Salma
رواية رومانسية كلاسيكية شاعرية حزينة من تأليف جوتة عن الشاب فارتر الذي أحب حبا مستحيلا
يقال أن كثير من الشباب تأثروا بها في ذاك الزمن و انتحروا على إثرها
يبدو لي أن شباب أيام زمان كانوا مرهفين زيادة و يحبون بكيانهم كله، السؤال هو لماذا انقرضت هذه النوعية من الشباب هذه الأيام
:/
بأية حال الرواية لا بأس بها، و أظن أنها ستعجب كثيرا أؤلئك الذين يحلقون مع الكلام الجميل الشاعري
و أحمد حسن الزيات ترجمته شعرية و جميلة، مع أنها ترجمة للمعنى و ليست دقيقة
الطبعة طبعة مصرية عتيقة مصفرة الأوراق مهترئة منزوعة الغلا
...more
Clare
Jul 04, 2007 Clare rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who love beautiful things
I picked this up with some trepidation, assuming that it would be full of stolid German angst and that I would give up after a couple of pages. However, it's a perfect psychological portrait! I loved it. Werther isn't an entirely sympathetic character (he has the odd Kevin the Teenager moment) but you are entirely drawn into his world and feel the same responses as him very keenly. It's only upon finishing that you realise how Goethe has managed to completely draw you into the concerns and belie ...more
David Gallagher
"The things I know, anyone can know - but my heart is mine and mine alone."

This has got to be one of my all-time favorite books. Haunting, devastating, soul-stirring, a fist to the stomach. All the tragedy of true love in a Goethe masterpiece. The descriptive majesty of the book is beyond comprehension. A truly amazing book, one that I am happy to have read in my lifetime and one I would suggest to everyone, especially those who have loved someone more than themselves.
K.D. Absolutely
Jul 30, 2014 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hopeless Romantics
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books and 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006, 2008, 2010)
Shelves: 1001-core, 501, classics
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bea
It's definately a masterpiece of its age, but I can't count how many times throughout the book I wanted to shake Werther by the arm or better so, slap him it the face. The characters are just unbelievablly stupid. I know that the times were different, but still they should know better. And the fact that the book caused a lot of people to commit suicide doesn't help at all.
I can't believe Goethe wasted his talent on such a wortless novel.
Shovelmonkey1
Nov 05, 2011 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 1001 book readers and stalkers in training
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list
Oh Werther, Werther, Werther. Someone got a little bit fixated didn't they? Taking a leaf straight out of Shakespeare's lover-lorn rule book (see Ophelia as example number one of a tragedy waiting to happen) Werther turns loving friendship into a full blown stalker obsession.
Here's a handy Werther style guide to obsession;
1. Meet a friendly young lady.
2. Be forewarned that she is already betrothed to another, and then pay no heed.
3. Write, think and talk about nothing else apart from the object
...more
Forrest
OK, so the story is trite. I get it. Werther is the original emo. Check. Books that end in suicide are no longer PC. Alright.

Put that all aside and read the work in German. I can't even say if the book is good or not in English, as I've never read it in English. In its Muttersprache it is beautiful and poetic. Beutler, in his afterword to the 1987 Reclam edition, claims that Die Leiden des jungen Werther is the first modern novel. I'm not enough of an expert on literary history to know if his cl
...more
Casey
I couldn't help but imagine young Werther as a high school, tweeting about all his troubles to the ether. So, without further ado, I present to you: The Tweets of Young Werther.



This is the kind of book that high school teachers should be making self-absorbed teenagers read. They can totally relate, both to the intense feelings of emotion and the complete conviction that no one in the world has ever felt the same way before. I couldn't relate that well, because really Werther just needs to man up
...more
Michael
The Sorrows of Young Werther is an epistolary novel that has influenced the Romantic Movement. Often known as the original ‘emo’, a term that I hate, this novel is a semi-autobiographical novel that brought huge success to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The novel is a collection of letters written by Werther to his friend Wilhelm. These letters are an intimate account of his attraction towards the beautiful Lotte; a young woman he meets in the village of Wahlheim. Despite knowing that she is alread ...more
Laala Alghata
It’s a slip of a book, a mere 150 pages, so I didn’t think it would take long.

Wrong. The books makes you stop and think so often, and if you’ve ever been heartbroken it tugs at your heart so much that you have to take breaks from it. I read it in three big chunks, but I loved Werther and his insane passion from the start, before he met Lotte and was describing his love of nature. What I love — and I mean, really love — about it is that it is not graphic at all, there is sexual attraction but not
...more
Carmo Santos
Considerado um dos expoentes máximos do romantismo,ainda hoje, Werther continua a comover a maioria das pessoas que o lê.
Não foi o meu caso.

Mesmo não perdendo de vista que o livro foi escrito em 1770 e que a escrita é compatível com a época e os costumes sociais vigentes, mais não fez que desinquietar-me a paciência e despertar-me o bocejo.
De amores impossíveis que conduzem ao suicídio está a história da literatura cheia, e algumas delas são lindas e intemporais. O que não gostei no Werther, foi
...more
Katie Abbott Harris
For being written in 1774, this German novella is a timeless classic. It is often described as a romance or tragic love story, but I'd have to disagree with that description. What I experienced was a case study in severe depression and angst, not "love." But that's just semantics. Goethe wrote the book as a series of letters from Werther to his friend Wilhelm. Werther finds himself "in love" (obsessed) with a girl, Charlotte, who is engaged to another man, Albert. He is consumed with complex and ...more
Namrirru
The story reminds me a little of dearly beloved Dostoevsky; poor sod in a love fit over a girl. Dosotevsky distracts this story line with depth, but Goethe does the opposite. Werther, pathetic and pitiful. Just get over it! But he doesn't.

Goethe was before the advent of psychology, and I'm surprised no one quotes this book. Werther is fixated, not in love. She's a tool in his puer complex. He cannot face reality, so she's a safe excuse to commit suicide.
David
I am too in love to live,
I've too much heart to give,
Goodbye Lotte, please forgive
me, this heart's a sieve.

I hope you won't think me pert
Loving your dear wife, Albert.
It was foolish of me to flirt
with fate: which now, I desert!

Dear Wilhelm, dearest mother
I hope I haven't been a bother.
Real life has been a smother,
But I assure, we loved each other!
Deepthi
This book is pure poetry; the valleys, the blue sky, the children, the young peasant, Lotte's black eyes, Werther himself.

Goethe starts his book beautifully with fascinating descriptions of a world seen through young Werther's eyes. I read each paragraph again and again to feel the beauty of Goethe's words repeatedly. Werther, at first, is always in joy with nature and the new acquaintances around him. He is happy being an artist in his small world. Soon, Werther falls in love with a young lady
...more
Blake
Ah, what beautiful prose this is that borders on the poetic! More, what perfect tragedy to concern the Shakespearean minded. Soon after my journey began I came to be aware of a fact I had previously only hoped for: it was not written so much as a tragical romance, but more as an exploration of humankind's own crisis of place in the universe. Ay me, what satisfaction I took from this. It is an individual's pain, his hopelessness, his will to life destroyed that takes up the main action. Any senti ...more
Anastasia
2.5/5
Che barba e che noia.


Fortuna che era corto, altrimenti il mezzo in più avrebbe dovuto dire addio.
Addirittura durante la lettura mi dimenticavo di quello che facevo e leggevo come se non leggessi, lasciavo passare le parole come se stessi semplicemente dormendo.
L'indole di Werther è quasi esasperante, i suoi discorsi sono noiosi e banali nell'uso delle parole.. per carità, niente di scorretto o altro, ma non ci ho trovato assolutamente nulla di originale. L'argomento è piuttosto centrato: C
...more
Laurel Hicks
Very well written epistolary novel about thwarted love. It's hard to imagine the copy-cat suicides that followed its publication. I was surprised by how little the opera draws from the book. Mostly just the denoument and the "Pourquoi me Reville?" part of the poem Werther translated. I'll say this--it is certainly easier reading than Faust.

I'll let William Makepeace Thackeray summarize the novel for you:

WERTHER had a love for Charlotte

Such as words could never utter;

Would you know how first he m
...more
julieta
Siempre me he considerado una romántica, o cuando menos mínimamente sensible. Me emociono con momentos extraños en las películas, digo, se me pone china la piel, me gustan los días de primavera, y el invierno a veces me pone medio triste. Y tengo algunos días en donde me siento más emocional que en otros.

En fin, que tampoco soy una racional de las que no dejan pasar los sentimientos. No puedo con la violencia en ninguna de sus formas, y hay canciones que me hacen llorar.
Pero Werther resulta dem
...more
David
"...and let this little book be your friend whenever through fate or through your own fault you can find no closer companion."

It's a kind offer but I'll probably pass. Goethe's Werther is not the funnest young man ever. Thankfully he was only with me for 100 pages. What I wouldn't give for a gruff male character to come crashing through Lotte's drawing room, barking "Man! Get a d--d hold of yourself!" and giving young Werther a few cracks from a horsewhip.

And what's going on at the end? Werther'
...more
Taylor Storey
"There is no truer, warmer pleasure in this world than to behold a great soul opening up towards oneself."

A short, accessible read on the emotions of a young man whose love decides to be with another man. I was going to give this book 3 stars, but as I'm writing this review, there are so many things to discuss! ...I'll give it another star! ...This is my second book by Goethe, and I continue to be amazed at the respect literature scholars give him (the German Shakespeare?!) and the accessibility
...more
Fahad
آلام فيرتر

في الحب وفي الرعب، يختنق الكتاب بموضوعات (ثيمات) محدودة، لا يحسن الخروج عنها إلا قلة نادرة من المبدعين الذين يظهرون متباعدين.

وموضوعات الحب أندر، والأسوأ أنها مرحلية، بمعنى أن موضوعة معينة يمكن الكتابة عنها في زمن معين، ولكنها مع تغير المجتمع وتطوره، تفقد قيمتها، ولا يمكن للكتاب الجدد العودة لها، إلا لو عادوا بزمن القصة نفسه.

الموضوعة الأولى والتي أرى أنها موضوعة الحب الأقدم، هي موضوعة الحب من طرفين والذي تقف في وجهه أطراف خارجية، العائلة أو المجتمع أو أي ظروف أخرى، هذه الموضوعة نلاحظ
...more
أحمد رشيد
رواية رائعة بحق....
أعجبتني شخصية فرتر الرقيقة الحساسة التي تتأثر بأي شيء, كما أعجبتني طريقة تفكيره الخارجة عن المألوف.
كما أنها رواية أدبية بامتياز, ذات كلمات صعبة, فلا تكاد تمر صفحة إلا و في جعبتك أربع أو خمس مفردات جديدة.
ما حثني على قرءتها هو دفعها للآلاف شباب في أوروبا إلى الانتحار وقت صدورها, و ذلك لأن البطل ينتحر في نهاية الرواية... كما أن معظم أحداثها مقتبسة من أحداث حصلت حقيقة مع الكاتب, فــشارلوت مثلاً حبيبة فرتر في الرواية كانت حقاً حبيبة حقيقية لجوتة مؤلف الرواية...
كلماتها معبرة و مفردا
...more
Roland
I don't think I've been this annoyed by a main character since "The Catcher in the Rye." Werther is probably one of the most irritating, whiney bitches in the history of literature. I never once felt an ounce of pity for this obsessive, creepy guy, and I can understand completely why the girl pushes him away. A very unattractive personality, and I don't know what the hell was going on at the time to make readers swoon for his "sorrows." I kept waiting for him to finally shoot himself, and when h ...more
Stian
Sometime in 2008 Noam Chomsky was asked in an interview, ‘what is love?’ He thought for a second, not quite knowing what to say, and then replied: ‘I can’t tell you what it is, but I know life’s empty without it.’

Slavoj Zizek, talking about love, said

Love is not idealization. A true Lover knows that if you really love a woman or a man, that you do not idealize him or her. Loves means that you accept a person, with all its failures, stupidities, ugly points and nonetheless the person is absolute
...more
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Goodreads Librari...: The Sorrows of Young Werther 3 20 Nov 17, 2014 08:43PM  
Suicide, what are your thoughts about it? 2 32 Nov 05, 2014 09:19AM  
Just Literature: The Sorrows of Young Werther 3 25 Aug 01, 2014 04:41AM  
Was Werther selfish? 4 76 Jul 25, 2014 10:54AM  
Classics-only boo...: Can't Make It :( 1 34 Feb 20, 2013 03:01PM  
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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer. George Eliot called him "Germany's greatest man of letters... and the last true polymath to walk the earth." Goethe's works span the fields of poetry, drama, literature, theology, humanism, and science. Goethe's magnum opus, lauded as one of the peaks of world literature, is the two-part drama Faust. Goethe's other well-known literary works include h ...more
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Faust: First Part Faust Elective Affinities Faust, Part Two Iphigenie auf Tauris

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“The human race is a monotonous affair. Most people spend the greatest part of their time working in order to live, and what little freedom remains so fills them with fear that they seek out any and every means to be rid of it.” 366 likes
“Sometimes I don't understand how another can love her, is allowed to love her, since I love her so completely myself, so intensely, so fully, grasp nothing, know nothing, have nothing but her!” 106 likes
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