Goethe: The Sorrows of Young Werther; Elective Affinities; Novella
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The Sorrows of Young Werther (trans. Victor Lange).
Elective Affinities (trans. Judith Ryan).
Novella (trans. Victor Lange).
Three of the most influential of Goethe's extensive body of work, of which this volume is a part. Most famous to literature and melancholy is The Sorrows of Young Wether, the moody and impossible story of inaction and desire, a kind of discursive masochism of the idea of love. So tortured was this character and his tragic tale, the book inspired an alarming spurt of suicides at the time of its first publication. Literature and criticism ate up Goethe's outcast complex and textual representation of self-abasement, emotional outbursts, and foreclosed desire's stuttering momentum. The book is found by Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and serves as source material for critics like Roland Barthes and Maggie Nelson. This volume is the definitive collection to become familiar with Goethe, and the character that persists as a symbol and theme in all Goethe's works, as well as literature and art today.
Ed. by David E. Wellbery.
Jacket illustration: Andy Warhol, 1981.