Renée's Reviews > The Sorrows of Young Werther

The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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May 29, 07

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Recommended for: everyone

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.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Bibliowulf The English translations are atrocious, judging by the half a dozen I have seen so far. Perhaps because the translators' routine and surface level word-for-word clarity is lacking in emotional depth, or perhaps because English lacks the lumbering ponderousness of multisyllabic, inflected German which powers up Goethe's seemingly effortless prose and make it fly off the page with a resounding impact. Perhaps both. Ultimately, a translation is as much a reflection of how that person feels about a given work as a rated review. It seems that the English auditorium has not been very lucky in that, which in turn would explain lower ratings of this book in English than in some other languages. A shame that some translators' mediocrity is causing those readers to miss out on the beauty of the original text, which they may never get to know.


Johnathan The modern library translation was the best I found. It's hard to get though.


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