Goethe’s Werther in World Literature

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

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Composed by the young Goethe (1749-1832) on the cusp of the


(Storm and Stress) movement, this epistolary novel had a huge reception from its publication in 1774 up to the present. Through critical appreciation, translation, imitation, and emulation,

Die Leiden des jungen Werthers (The Sorrows of Young Werther

) turned not only into a German bestseller, but also into a book of universal appeal that survived the ups and downs of literary taste and socio-political revolutions. The reasons for its success are manifold. Among them was the literary situation in Europe then largely dominated by the

doctrines classiques

, i.e. the poetic conventions governing the production of tragedies and comedies according to the observation of unities, stylistic levels, and rhyming that excluded…

2337 words

Citation: Hoffmeister, Gerhart. "Goethe’s Werther in World Literature". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 September 2012 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=19328, accessed 14 July 2024.]

19328 Goethe’s Werther in World Literature 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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