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GOETHE, Johann Wolfgang von (1749--1832)
[Leiden des jungen Werthers. English. 1784]
The sorrows of Werter: a German story. A new edition. Vol. I (II).
London: printed for J. Dodsley, 1784.
2 vols ; 15.5 cm. (8º)
I: viii, 168 p.
II: [4], 168 p.

A translation of Goethe's epistolary novel Die Leiden des jungen Werthers attributed originally to Richard Graves and more recently to Daniel Malthus, a Jacobin and friend of Rousseau and Hume (Charles Ryskamp, 'Boswell and James; Goethe and Malthus' in Eighteenth-Century Studies in honor of Donald F. Hyde, edited by W.H. Bond, New York, 1970). The author is named in the preface. Goethe's novel, first published in 1775, was first translated into English (from the French version of Georges Deyverdun) in 1779; the first translation into English from the German appeared in 1786. Like Rousseau's La nouvelle Héloïse (1761), Werther became an international literary phenomenon, reflecting the new cult of sensibility in its portrayal of a young man who commits suicide after the object of his love, Lotte, marries another. In addition to owning a copy, Soane is known to have given the novel a gift: 'Identifying emotionally with Rousseau as the solitary and sensitive victim of something approaching organized persecution, [Soane] gave to Philip Yorke's wife a copy of Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther. Like the writings of Rousseau, Goethe's novel was a key moment in the development of confessional literature.' (See David Watkin, 'Soane, Sir John (1753–1837)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/25983, accessed 23 March 2007]). ESTC t155710.

Copy Notes Imperfect; wanting the half-titles. Bought for 5s. on 5 February 1784. (SNB).

Binding C18th calf, gilt-ruled spines, red & green morocco spine-labels.

Reference Number 1113


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