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"Be on your guard … and take care not to fall in love!"
Visiting an idyllic German village, Werther, a sensitive and romantic young man, meets and falls in love with sweet-natured Lotte. Although he realizes that Lotte is to marry Albert, he is unable to subdue his passion for her and his infatuation torments him to the point of absolute despair. The first great ‘confessional’ novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther draws both on Goethe’s own unrequited love for Charlotte Buff and on the death of his friend Karl Wilhelm Jerusalem. The book was an immediate success and a cult rapidly grew up around it, resulting in numerous imitations as well as violent criticism and even suppression for its apparent recommendation of suicide. Goethe’s sensitive exploration of the mind of a young artist at odds with society and ill-equipped to cope with life is now considered the first great tragic novel of European literature. This edition includes notes and an introduction by Michael Hulse who explores the origins of the novel in the author’s life and examines its impact on European culture.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
About the Author
Johann Wolfgang Goethe was born in Frankfurt in 1749. He is best remembered for his great works The Sorrows of Young Werther and Faust, and his part in the 18th century 'Sturm and Drang' movement. He died in 1832.
Michael Hulse is an acclaimed literary German translator.