Synopses & Reviews
This is Goethe's first novel, published in 1774. Written in diary form, it tells the tale of an unhappy, passionate young man hopelessly in love with Charlotte, the wife of a friend - a man who he alternately admires and detests. Goethe upset the conventional literature of his day by having his hero propose suicide as a method by which anyone might end an intolerable misery. 'The Sorrows of Young Werther' became an important part of the 'Sturm und Drang movement, and greatly influenced later 'Romanticism'. The work is semi-autobiographical - in 1772, two years before the novel was published, Goethe had passed through a similar tempestuous period, when he lost his heart to Charlotte Buff, who was at that time engaged to his friend Johann Christian Kestner.