Book Review: The Sorrows of Young Werther.

The Sorrows of Young Werther, by J.W.v Goethe.

A novella about a young man, an artist and writer, who goes off to the country to enjoy what nature may inspire. In his enthusiasm for new experiences, and meeting new acquaintances, he fails to take heed of friendly warnings, and becomes obsessed with a local woman who’s promised to another man. Despite the fact Lotte marries Albert, Werther attempts to maintain a friendship but only succeeds in exciting his obsessions, resulting in him becoming more and more melancholy.

There are lots of beautiful descriptions of the environment and daily life that Werther observes, but what I grew weary of was how much of a sap Werther became. He was a self proclaimed “sensitive” soul, but he became so hapless without a daily fix of “his” Lotte. It always seemed like Lotte was either truly ignorant of Werther’s passions, or she took pleasure in seeing him so uncomfortable. As it turns out, she isn’t the latter but I can’t really see her being entirely ignorant either, but it seemed like she did nothing in an attempt to prevent his attachment to her.

The book is set out in three parts, part one and two are as if we’re reading letters that Werther writes to an old friend about his life and love, as well as attempting to rid himself of his hopeless feelings once Lotte marries. Part three is an overview of Werther’s life as if written by an editor and contains snippets of things he wrote to his friend, as well as his final letter to Lotte.

Personally, the book wasn’t what I expected it to be. I found myself getting quite annoyed with the characters, and situations that went on. At 170 pages or so, it was hardly a difficult read though. Worth reading if you enjoy reading letters; or reading lots of observations on daily life, seasons, emotions, human interactions, etc…

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Book Review: The Sorrows of Young Werther.

  1. Ah I read this earlier on this year. Fair enough review!

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