The Sorrows of Young Werther

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Translated by Thomas Carlyle and R.D.Boylan

71 pages, $0.00

About the author

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was Germany's greatest poet. Before he was thirty he had mastered the novel, drama and lyric poetry. Borh in Frankfurt 1749 to a well-to-do family, he earned a law degree in Strassburg. There he met the poet-philosopher Herder, discovered Shakespeare, and began to write poetry. His play "Goetz von Berlichingen" (1773) made him famous throughout Germany. He was invited to the court of the Duke of Sachsen-Weimar, where he soon became a cabinet minister. In 1774 his romantic novel "The Sorrows of Young Werther" electrified Europe. He began work on his "Faust", which appeared as a fragment in 1779.

In the 1780s Goethe visited Italy and immersed himself in classical poetry. The next decade saw the appearance of "Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship", a novel of a young artist's education, and a wealth of poetry and criticism. He completed Part I of "Faust" in 1808.

The later years of his life were devoted to a great variety of pursuits: research in botany and his "Theory of Colors", a novel, "Elective Affinities", and the poems comprising the "East-West Divan". Also his autobiography: "Poetry and Truth". In his eighties he prepared a forty volume edition of his works; the forty-first volume, published after his death, was the Second Part of "Faust". When asked for the theme of this, his masterwork, he replied, "from heaven through all the world to hell.." He might have added: "And back again."

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