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Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, Fiction, Literary, Classics

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  1,944 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
Since the year 1795, when it first appeared at Berlin, numerous editions of Meister have been printed: critics of all ranks, and some of them dissenting widely from its doctrines, have loaded it with encomiums; its songs and poems are familiar to every German ear; the people read it, and speak of it, with an admiration approaching in many cases to enthusiasm. After a faile ...more
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published January 1st 2007 by Aegypan (first published 1795)
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Gordon Torr
Jul 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wouldn't have thought about reading Goethe if we hadn't been sitting in the rain last November talking about Nietzsche, and we wouldn't have been talking about Nietzsche if Helen hadn't been trying to explain Steiner to me for the hundredth time, and she wouldn't have been trying to explain Steiner to me if someone hadn't recently advised me to read Schopenhauer and I'd discovered that you couldn't really understand Schopenhauer if you didn't understand Kant, and she said the only thing she kn ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Feb 07, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2012)
My second Goethe book. Not as melodramatic as his first book, The Sorrows of Young Werther (3 stars) but more comprehensive and seems more real. You see, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) was a German novelist and since I have not been to Germany and my only idea of Germany are from the books that I've read particularly around WWII, I always find it interesting to read about this country during the 17th-19th centuries. Then what's the better way of knowing how the people in one country live ...more
Loranne Davelaar
Feb 15, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uni
Samenvatting: saai en seksistisch.
To which degree does Goethe’s Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre, the prototypical Bildungsroman, speak to us today? Maybe first of all as a counterweight to the fragmented “postmodern condition”. Though I started reading this work mostly as a sort of historical document, I found that it has more to offer than just that. It’s a fairly easy read; I never quite got used to the stylized and archaic language though – and especially in those parts that focuses on the inner state of the protagonist. On the ot ...more
The bildungsroman is generally considered to have been created by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in the 18th century with his novels Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship and The Sorrows of Young Werther. The main theme of this genre is seeing the protagonist mature from childhood into adulthood, and usually endure a series of challenges and obstacles along the way. The hero of Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship dreams of a life in the theatre, as exotic to him as space travel might seem to us. When an act ...more
Steve Gordon
Mar 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps not the tightest ship of a novel, but certainly all its intellectual cannons were blasting the world to bits. Much in the same way as reading Balzac, Tolstoy, or Marx, one feels that he or she is spending a sliver of time in the mind of genius while journeying with Wilhelm. I was particularly attracted by Goethe's expressions of Eastern philosophy... especially in the Indenture. I felt as though I was reading Lao Tzu and could certainly see the inspiration Herr Hesse must have found in o ...more
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uni
Nu hoef ik voor de komende tien jaar even geen Goethe meer te lezen.
Jan 16, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Questa recensione è stata scritta tre anni fa, quando ho dovuto leggere per la scuola 'Wilhelm Meister, gli anni dell'apprendistato'. E' stata una lettura estiva un po' pesante e il mio commento non sarà dei più elogiativi, ma il mio scopo è solo fare dell'ironia e non criticare chi ama Goethe o quest'opera! ;)

Questo romanzo ha come protagonista Wilhelm, un giovane che potrebbe sembrare come tutti gli altri, se non fosse per la sua straordinaria capacità di iniziare un discorso e porta
"… und endlich hatte ich es durch, Daily Soap lässt grüßen!"

Die Geschichte handelt von den Lehrjahren des Wilhelm, der aus einem gutbürgerlichen Hause stammt und sich dennoch, trotz der Unbehage seines Vaters, immer weiter zu dem Theater hingezogen fühlt, obwohl man zu jener Zeit kaum damit um die Runden kommen konnte. Es gibt immer wieder Höhen und Tiefen in Wilhelms Leben und dies in allen Sparten des Lebens, denn weder bleibt er lange an einem Ort, noch bei dem gleichen Theater oder ei
Anthony Land
May 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Ben Jonson, observing that certain actors credited his rival, Shakespeare, with never blotting out a word of his writing, retorted "Would he had blotted out a thousand!" Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship, from a modern perspective,would benefit from easily ten times that many deletions.

Clearly this is not a novel for current tastes, and prolixity is only one of its barriers to contemporary readership. Another is its somnambulistic pacing. Scenes run on interminably, fleshed out in more detail tha

Nur etwas für Theaterbegeisterte oder eingelesene Fans!

"Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre" hätte sich auch gut "Goethes Lobhymnen auf Shakespeare" nennen können, denn das Buch handelt die meiste Zeit von einer ausführlichen Analyse und Interpretation des Stückes Hamlet. Dabei trifft man auf Wilhelm, ein gefühlstrotteliges, verwöhntes Sensibelchen, nach dem der Roman benannt ist, das bald dem Elternhaus entflieht und sich einer Schauspieltruppe anschließt. Es folgen endlose, gestelzte Dialoge, Seiten üb
I did not finish this. It's extremely long and rather boring and I could just not bring myself to read further than 55 pages. Maybe one day.
A book which deals with Wilhelm Meister growing from a young man to an adult, on the way he meets obstacles and trials. He falls in love and picks up with various characters, both noble and poor.
Some of the characters are there as merely background but there is a central core through the book. Some seem childish, constantly causing problems whilst others appear wise beyond their years and are the voices of reason. Mignon, an old soul in a young body, and one of the best characters of the book. M
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: powys-100
This book is a monster, starts out shallow but becomes enormous as it goes on. Intensely romantic, but full of German coldness. The characters are vivid, very real, and each exists consistent in his or her own world. An endless stream of ideas on art and life.
Jan 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Μερικές ημέρες πριν αποφάσισα να ξεκινήσω τη Μινιόν του Γκαίτε, ένα έργο χρωματισμένο τόσο απ’ τη θέση του Γκαίτε σχετικά με τη θρησκεία, όσο και με τη μεταφυσική. Χαρακτηριστική του έργου είναι και η φράση αυτή που έχει ειπωθεί απ’ το Γκαίτε,
Δυστυχισμένος είναι ο άνθρωπος που τα πάντα γι’ αυτόν είναι κεφαλή και μόνον
Πριν απ’ όλα έχω για άλλη μια φορά να δώσω τα θερμότερα συγχαρητήρια μου στις εκδόσεις Ηριδανός, πραγματικά σε αυτό το βιβλίο δίνουν παράδειγμα άξιο κάθε μιμητισμού στην έκδοση, στ
Colliding Worlds
DNF bei 370 Seiten. Für die Uni gelesen, nicht rechtzeitig fertig geworden und daher nun abgebrochen (Gott sei Dank). So ein langweiliger, langatmiger Klassiker ist mir bisher noch nicht untergekommen. Ich konnte daran leider keinen einzigen Aspekt wirklich interessant finden.
Feb 15, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1700, lett-germania
Mi spiace Wolfgang, ma questo libro non è proprio degno di te.

Considerato il primo romanzo di formazione, presenta due insuperabili difetti. Il primo è che il personaggio non si forma, non cresce, non matura. Tutte le avventure e disavventure che Wilhelm vive lo lasciano immutato nella sua idiota serenità. Intraprendendo un lungo viaggio dovrebbe cercare sé stesso, ma non succede: Wilhelm non si pone mai una domanda, non entra mai in crisi (se non la “romantica” crisi iniziale), non cerca mai di
Usually when I want to give something 3.5 stars it's a holistic judgment -- I more than "liked" it, but I didn't quite "really like" it. Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship is a different story. Although it was generally a 3-star book, there were brief shining 4-star moments and characters! Unfortunately, Goethe and I apparently disagree about what constitutes a five-star rating, because the very characters and situations that intrigued me in the opening of the novel were those that Goethe's ending ...more
Feb 27, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The paperback version I have is 2 books in one volume. Years of Apprenticeship and Years of Travel, approaching 1000 pages.

I read the Years of Apprenticeship, but had had enough of Wilhelm Meister to not want to go travelling with him. It's a standard romans bildung (maybe the first ?); but after a while Wilhelm Meister got on my nerves as a character and a book. There's a lot of wandering around in the storyline as a travelling theatre company and plenty of wandering in the text, could have don
I know this is an important novel historically being the first 'bildungsroman' and Goethe is acknowledged as a classic writer but god this was dull.

Probably not helped by being a contemporary translation by Thomas Carlyle which is very old fashioned in style and difficult to read at length.

Some parts were interested such as the description of the production of Hamlet which held the attention better than most of the rest. The only reason I continued was because its a 1001 book. I've read the othe
Cosmic Arcata
This was a treasure. I loved this book as it relates to a secret society. The theater and puppets make a great metaphor for what is to come. If you like books that explore the idea of a secret society and rituals you will like this book.
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Meister might be the first bildungsroman, but it sure isn’t a spectacular novel. I had no pangs of conscience for speed-reading to keep up with a syllabus and, honestly, conserve mental space. Goethe crowds eight episodes or narratives – one for each of eight books – with details, encounters, and histories that perhaps showcase his inventiveness, but certainly take too long in the telling. And although each event, each character turns up again by the novel’s conclusion, in token of the synthetic ...more
May 15, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition


Synonyms and Antonyms of boring:
causing weariness, restlessness, or lack of interest "I wish this book weren't so boring; I keep falling asleep whenever I try to read it."
arid, colorless, drab, dreary, drudging, dry, dull, dusty, flat, heavy, ho-hum, humdrum, jading, jejune, leaden, mind-numbing, monochromatic, monotonous, numbing, old, pedestrian, ponderous, slow, stale, stodgy, stuffy, stupid, tame, tedious, tiresome, tiring, unin
Tolga Turan
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Goethe started writing Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship when he was 21 and finished it at the age of 40. So while describing the development of protagonist's character, I believe he was also describing his own journey. Goethe was a literary celebrity at the age of 25 and his works (like this one and Young Werther's Sorrrows) at this early age shows that he was nothing less than a genius. Contrasting with Emile Zola's realism, the novel is a typical example of the Romantic genre, in that sense th ...more
Ferial Hameurlaine
Avant tout, je dois saluer l'excellente traduction de Blaise Briod.

J'ai beaucoup apprécié cette lecture, surtout les réflexions sur l'art qu'on retrouve tout au long du roman (sur Shakespeare notamment) mais si le développement de Wilhelm est intéressant, il aura été un personnage plutôt fade. Passer 700 pages en sa compagnie n'aura pas toujours été une partie de plaisir. C'est un très bon roman d'apprentissage, un livre qui aura inspiré tant d'auteurs, mais je ne recommande pas de commencer Goe
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
Felt bored in the most part at the beginning, but suddenly the story changed direction. Don't know where our experience will bring us to. Like Saul, who looked for his father' donkey but won the whole kingdom.
Marcus Immanuel
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, h-t-prep
ich las es nicht durch aber
I liked it but it is difficult to keep track of all the characters and facts that come up during the story. It definitely deserves a second reading to appreciate it.

Czarny Pies
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody except those taking a course where it will be taught.
Shelves: german-lit
"Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship" is a legendary work thought to be the first authentic bildungsroman and hence the direct ancestor of such celebrated twentieth century novels as "The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man", "Sons and Lovers" and "Look Homeward Angel." At the same time, it is reputed to be excessively long, badly written and irrelevant to the contemporary era. The detractors have a very strong case. However, because, very few people in the English speaking world have ever read " ...more
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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...
“One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.” 3356 likes
“I wish the stage were as narrow as the wire of a tighrope dancer so that no incompetent would dare step upon it.” 22 likes
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