Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Die Leiden des Jungen Werthers [The Sorrows of Young Werther]

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Goethe's first novel was published when he was twenty-five:

Die Leiden des jungen Werthers


The Sorrows of Young Werther

, 1774; final version 1787]. The text caused a sensation at the height of the

Sturm und Drang

[Storm and Stress] period that was to inspire a flood of imitations and emulations in all literary genres in Germany and abroad, including the worlds of fashion (Werther's dress of blue coat and yellow trousers), perfume (eau de Werther), porcelain, and opera (Jules Massenet's


, 1892) well into the twentieth century. Among the reasons for


becoming a bestseller of the times is its portrayal of an essentially romantic hero, artistically inclined and “gifted with deep, pure sentiment and penetrating intelligence, who loses himself in fantastic dreams, undermines…

2276 words

Citation: Hoffmeister, Gerhart. "Die Leiden des Jungen Werthers". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 June 2004 [, accessed 21 June 2024.]

5596 Die Leiden des Jungen Werthers 3 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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