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The Sorrows of Young Werther

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The Sorrows of Young Werther first edition title pageFirst edition title page
By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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Approx. 42,000 words

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Whatever I have been able to discover of the story of poor Werther I have industriously collected and put it now before you, and I know that you will thank me for it.

— First line, trans. William Rose

The human race does not vary much. Most people pass the greater part of their lives in work, in order to live, and the modicum of free time they have to themselves makes them so uneasy that they seek every means they can to kill it.


...we ought to treat children as God treats us—He makes us happiest when He lets us wander on under the intoxication of agreeable illusions.


It is enough to make one resign oneself to the Devil to see all the hounds that God tolerates on this earth, without sense or feeling for what little there is of value on it.


I am sometimes unable to comprehend how another can, or may love her so singleheartedly, so fervently, so completely, and know nothing, am aware of nothing, have nothing but her.


God in Heaven! hast thou made it the fate of man that he is only to be happy when he comes to his senses and when he loses them again!


There was no pastor present.

— Last line


Critique • Quotes