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The Sorrows of Young W...
 
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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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The Sorrows of Young Werther and Selected Writings

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  911 ratings  ·  43 reviews
When this book was published in 1774, it inspired a mass cult of feelings (and reputedly a few suicides) and made its author one of the first literary celebrities. It is a story of a tormented young man whose fixation on an inaccessible woman culminates in tragedy may be read as a celebration of unfettered emotion or as a mercilessly accurate portrait of a man whose dedica ...more
Paperback, 0 pages
Published August 1st 1962 by Signet Classics (first published 1962)
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Lee
I probably shouldn't rate this since I skimmed its second half and didn't spend more than a few minutes looking at the supplemental bits. Felt like things fell off the table about fifty pages in. Started wonderfully, with plenty of wisdom and enthusiasm and vivid description of village life. Love interest develops. Charismatic youth who abhors grumpiness falls for a hottie named Lotte betrothed to a good dude. Cue Werther's dissolution! Activate the chute down which protagonist slides en route t ...more
Kyle
1774. Most people know what this book is about before they read it I think, but if you don't here come spoilers: it's about Werther, who falls in love with a woman engaged to another and eventually offs himself. Might sound kinda pathetic, but the character and the writing make this little book a gem. If I had to compare it to anything I'd compare it to Marilynne Robinson's Gilead and Roland Barthes' A Lover's Discourse. It is epistolary for the most part and a philosophical consideration of lov ...more
Michael
May 29, 2007 Michael rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with sharp objects at a safe distance
The Sorrows Of Young Werther is the precursor for all of today's teenage rants on internet blogs about love and its hardships, and it is an utterly enthralling read. Geothe has really been denied his proper acknowledgement as an author, where usually the only required reading of his tends to be a sample of Faust at college level. Sorrows is written through a series of letters from Werther to someone at his home, his correspondance with his roots. Though tragic, Sorrows should rather be themed mo ...more
Sam Ruddick
it probably deserves four stars, maybe five. i don't know. it's very short, which is good. 100 some odd pages. that means that our hero, young werther, cries about 100 times. i was glad when lotte finally told him to "be manly." i mean, for christ's sake. it nearly killed me, this guy weeping, literally every couple pages. that said, it's the first book i've picked up and had a hard time putting down in ages. probably since the last time i read after leaving mr mackenzie. it's odd. i mean, this ...more
Jamie
I purchased this book from a street vendor almost two years ago not knowing anything about it. I read The Sorrows of Young Werther in about two days and the rest of the commentary and remaining stories in the next week. Brilliant. I think one of the strong points to this story is the form of writing-- one-sided letters to friends of a love struck man. Also, the story line is real and relatable and very forthcoming in the desires and emotions of Werther. Poignant, dramatic, sad, but lovely. A cla ...more
Tania ChatdiMuse
I found the sorrows of young Werther so beautifully tragic. I was drawn to the nakedness of his internal wars of human nature and his stubborn yet graceful character. I was taken by his ponders dealing with an unattainable love and happiness, of deceptive illusions and with his philosophies on suicide and lunatism. He is a classic helpless romantic, passionate and melancholic, a dreamer like myself. Sighs..more dots and sighs.
Spike Gomes
I wanted to like this a bit more than I did, but I think I'm a bit too old and too removed from the sturm und drang of youth to really be blown away by an angsty young man taking a "let's be friends" relationship waaaaaay too far. It is beautifully written, however. The passages describing natural beauty are quite evocative of the rural settings. The story itself get's three stars, however I found the supplimental material far better than the headlining novel, particularly the Fairy Tale. The fa ...more
The Hermit
The whinings and bitchings of young Werther.
Faith-Anne
Too melodramatic for my tastes...
Adam
I'd wanted to read Werther for a long time due to my interest in and intense love for German Romanticism. I was hoping Werther would be an exposition of that philosophy in a most pure and wonderful form. However, I found it almost intolerable to read, and would have given up at several points had it not been so short and famous. Most of the book is presented from Werther's point of view, and throughout that whole section, he is a completely one-dimensional, superficial character. He starts out w ...more
Joey Hines
I read Faust Part I just prior to this, and it was hard to believe they were both written by the same man. Faust's poetry is grandiose, seeming to strive toward godliness, in a fitting way for its subject matter. Werther's writing also reflects its subject matter in that it is almost unbearably human: simple, direct, nakedly emotional prose. It amazed me how modern it sounded, and how accessible it is; whereas Faust sounds like an ancient legend and took a ton of concentration to make it through ...more
Heather
I love an epistolary novel, and I love a train wreck. The Sorrows of Young Werther gives me both - a young man, already a bit on edge, writing letters to his buddy about this great new girl he's met... & he's in love with... he's super in love with... wait, did he mention she's married?... but she totally loves him, she looked at him for five seconds yesterday, five seconds longer than anyone else. Wait, did she? Did he imagine it? Why can't he think about anything else? Why does he have to ...more
Will
"The Sorrows of Young Werther" explores the moments of euphoric bliss and utter melancholy felt by Werther, a passionate member of the Romantic tradition. His letters to a friend Wilhelm compose the bulk of the narration. In those letters Werther describes the joy of his life in the scenic hills near the village Walheim, the paradoxical delight and torment he finds as he becomes increasingly infatuated with Charlotte, an engaged woman in Walheim that compliments his zeal, and the slow descent in ...more
Yair Bezalel
Reading Goethe, I think I came to this book in the wrong way. Having heard nothing but how epic and incredible were his writing skills (comparable to Shakespeare so the critics say) I was expecting something more in that way, tales of deep and astounding merit that speak to the human experience and illustrate it in horribly profound details, while at the same time constantly doubling back to the simple yet singularly brilliant author that is Goethe. But that isn't what I read. Having just finish ...more
Marisa
I want to write novels about this book. Actually, others have already. Well, not precisely, but Mary Shelley did include "Sorrows" in the trio of books that the Monster finds in the portmanteau in the woods, alongside Milton's Paradise Lost and Plutarch's Lives.

I now know why.

This is an incredibly sensory and heartfelt collection of letters from "a young unstable man," Werther, who falls in love with an engaged woman.

Goethe (whom I adore) explores and gives commentary on societal duties and e
...more
Siegfried
Un ouvrage magnifique que j'ai lu pour la première fois au lycée, en seconde me semble-t-il, et que je n'avais alors pas su apprécier à sa juste valeur.
Que les adolescents peuvent être sauts et ignares ! Je l'ai été moi-même à l'époque et ils le sont doublement à l'heure actuelle. Lorsqu'on a voulu me faire lire Les souffrances du jeune Werther, je me suis forcé à le feuilleter dans ses grandes lignes, n'en retenant rien, sautant la préface et passant à coté de quelque chose de bien plus intére
...more
Sherry
I picked up Goethe because it's classic German reading, and I have a love for all things German. It took me so long (about 6 months) to read this for two reasons: 1) I kept the book in my bathroom and b) the writing was so heavy I could only read a few pages at a time.

The first part of the book was the story of Werther. It's written as a series of letters from Werther to his friend William, which makes it easy to pick up and put down whenever I felt like reading. This book is filled with moving
...more
§--
I can't make up my mind about this one. There were moments where I wanted to leap out of my chair (actually, off my bed) with excitement at its brilliance, and there were other passages which bored me to sleep (literally). It's hard to believe this was written in 1774, harder still to believe that Goethe was in his 20's when he wrote it.

That said, the Romantic thing is hard to keep up for very long. The sensitive thing gets old quickly. That is why the supplementary autobiography passages were b
...more
Taylor
This has just entered my top five favorite books I have ever read. I wish I would have known abut this book in high school. I kept thinking "Goethe gets me"! And "When was this written?"

1774....I cannot believe how relatable this story is. (view spoiler)

The writing isn't beautiful, but the style is
...more
Thai Son
The Sorrows of Young Werther was kind of cute, of course except for the ending.

I actually found myself enjoying the short stories near the end of this paperback a lot more than the Sorrows of Young Werther (Sturm Und Drang lost its contextual relevance on me I guess). A lot of these fairy tale-like stuff illustrated well how much creative prowess Goethe had.

Märchen or Das Märchen was pretty much entirely new literary territories for me. Never read something that made my brain work so much.
Батзориг
Honestly, and unfortunately this wonderful book became biggest influence of my life.

I read the idea of writing this book inspired by true event.
It was Goethe's friend who referred as Werther.

A really good friend gave it to me for the "High School Prom".
It was translated by Amar in 1960's...

(That guy also inspired by Goethe, became romantic, and started to translate it in college and gave up, but after few years, he made it)

And also, if you've seen the film "500 days of Summer", Zooey Descha
...more
Sebastian
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Yasar
Aşk her yüzyılda aynı ancak ifadeler farklı, bu da bizi romantizme taşıyor.
Nooilforpacifists
Germans are odd. Clipped, precise and order-driven, yet over-the-top sentimental. And this is the book that started it all. Overwrought in the extreme, it sparked a wave of ever more extreme suicides in the German-speaking world that persisted at least until WWI (one enterprising Austrian broke into Beethoven's apartment, years after his death, to kill himself where genius had dwelt). Anyway, this is barely readable, but important historically.
Tara
Four stars for how true to the romantic spirit this novel was. Werther was the quintessential romantic, exhibiting everything about the movement. Minus one star because I can't stand romantics. The novel accomplished exactly what it set out to do and I can't fault it for that; however, I cannot say I enjoyed it because I did not enjoy what it set out to do. I won't be reading this again.
April
Fascinating and beautiful. Explores the digression of a suicidal man in epistolary form. Werther sees the world very deeply and writes letters very poetically--his style is very Romantic. However, Werther's deep passion for things sort of turns into a possessive madness over a married woman.

University of Saint Thomas' Graduate English - The Rise of the Novel
Jennifer
The writing is superb, yes melodramatic which is to be expected, but because of the modernity through which I can only view it, I was greatly annoyed by Werther and his pansy whims of melodrama. He comes across as downright bi-polar, even! I will have to do some research but I recall reading something about this work spurning a suicide trend.
Jesse
I was expecting this to be more challenging. It was actually a bit of a page turner. I really enjoying Werther's happy and inspired period in the beginning, then slowly it turned dark and darker. Goethe manages to convey an insane amount of emotion in this story without ever getting over-descriptive or "mushy".
Brian
i think i read this first in 1998, at the age of 16. if you've read it before, you can imagine what sort of interest such a book would hold for a romantic, depressed but hopeful, unloved but loving, young man.

poor old werther loves poor old lotte. werther does what any overly emotional guy would do.
Talia
The height of melodrama. I dub this book "The Sorrows of Young Whiner" - but it's really interesting to retroactively notice Goethe's influence on other writers, especially Chekhov. A lot of Chekhov's short stories about idle nobles seem to level a subtle but cutting satire on Werther and his ilk.
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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
More about Johann Wolfgang von Goethe...
Faust: First Part The Sorrows of Young Werther Faust Elective Affinities Faust, Part Two

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“A human being needs only a small plot of ground on which to be happy, and even less to lie beneath.” 2 likes
“Si notre coeur était toujours ouvert au bien que Dieu nous
envoie chaque jour, nous aurions alors assez de force pour supporter le
mal quand il se présente.”
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