June 20, 2010

The Sorrows of Young Werther

For my lit project, I read Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther.

This is my first novel since beginning my lit project. As a matter of personal safety, I picked something short and highly regarded.

The unreasonable emotions displayed here are not to my taste. While I first sympathized with Werther, allowing his youthful feelings to sweep him away, I became annoyed with him before long. By the end, I had no other desire but to slap him and tell him to grow up. This he refused to do; he chose to leave the world instead.

Other points to my distaste: the maternal simplicity and purity of Lotte, Werther's love-object; using peasants and nature to signify romantic innocence; the portrayal of the artistic temperament as emotionally unreasonable; Goethe drawing heavily on real life experience (including the suicide of an acquaintance).

At this point in my life, I am interested in the mundane. The overwhelming emotion of Werther lacks the depth and difficulty of the everyday, and his obstinate refusal to grow out of it annoys me (as I have said).

So! My excursion into novels is a disappointment. Beyond that, nothing to report.


DG said...

kind of feared this would be my reaction to werther. the wiki entry made it seem very dramatic.

Ian said...

It's probably not as a tragic as you are imagining. I don't think it's worth your time, though. The actual story is pretty trite; but if the book has been so popular for so long, it's because of the exquisiteness with which Werther expresses his adolescent romantic fatalism. Still, if you dislike Werther's character as much as I did, not worth it.

DG said...

"adolescent romantic fatalism"

yeah, pass