Goethe’s Werther in World Literature

(2336 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay


Composed by the young Goethe (1749-1832) on the cusp of the Sturm-und-Drang (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 t…

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Citation:
Hoffmeister, Gerhart. "Goethe’s Werther in World Literature". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 September 2012
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=19328, accessed 28 July 2015.]


Related Groups

  1. Comparative Literature, Reception, Influences