Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Die Wahlverwandtschaften [Elective Affinities]

(2570 words)

Goethe’s Die Wahlverwandtschaften [Elective Affinities, 1809] is one of the most densely woven and enigmatic works in his oeuvre. It was anticipated with more excitement by readers than any of his other works, and, except for Werther and Faust, has inspired more investigations as to its meaning, both at the time of its first publication and since. It is agreed, however, that this lean and compact text requires and rewards more than one reading. Striving for a comparable balance of “Sinnlichkeit und Sittlichkeit” (sensuality and morality), Thomas Mann read it five times while composing Death in Venice. Among presentations in media other than print are an …

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Dye, Ellis. "Die Wahlverwandtschaften". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 December 2005
[, accessed 01 July 2016.]