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Goethe's Literary Marketing . be said to reflect the kind of amorous relationship that exist be- points out that in his insatiable love for Lotte Werther actually. To get through, Lotte's top executives have found succor in an 18th-century German tragic romance. “The Sorrows of Young Werther,” written by. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther caused an Like everyone else, Lotte exists for Werther only in relation to himself and for his.
Much like the sublime found in nature, the sublime within Werther is dark, terrifying, and yet pleasurable. Though he is in agony, Werther views his passions as a work of genius, much like an artist who throws himself entirely into his work and suffers for his art. Ah, you sensible people!
The Sorrows of Young Werther: Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe: raznomir.info: Books
You are so calm and collected, so indifferent, you respectable people […] passing by like the priest and thanking God like the Pharisee that you are not as other men. I have been intoxicated more than once, my passions have never been far off insanity, and I have no regrets: Werther considers his emotional outpouring as a great thing, no matter how painful it may be.
What he does not seem to have anticipated, however, is that by devoting himself entirely to Lotte and the desire he has for her, he has lost the connection between love, art, and nature: By living for Lotte, he has ceased to live for himself, and in creating his own inner world he has lost the natural state of his being. He has created a paradox within himself in which he has formulated wildness, created a chaos that has no end. In an attempt to put an end to the wildness of his passions, Werther leaves Lotte and moves to a new town to live a respectable life.
During his conversation with Miss von B. After losing respect for his new friends, who pity him rather than understand him, Werther returns to Lotte, knowing that he is reopening the gates of his passion, intending to lose himself entirely to his devotion to her: Suicide then becomes a more suitable escape from inexhaustible passion, rather than repression, as it represents the power of his emotional excesses. And here we come to the most damning indictment of all. Werther brings enormous suffering to Lotte over the course of the novel and never gives the slightest consideration to the effect his behavior is having upon her.
Surely a mature lover would at least stop to wonder at some point whether Lotte might be genuinely happy and satisfied with Albert and if it might be time to exit the scene for her sake. Werther does no such thing, preferring to wallow in his own self-pity and doing his best to pull Lotte into the mire with him.
His suicide letters go beyond the almost pathological self-absorption he has displayed up to that point and cross into active vindictiveness.
Emotion, Art, and the Self in 'The Sorrows of Young Werther'
Werther petulantly wants to hurt Lotte, and hurt her deeply, for having rejected his love. The last moments of his life are filled not with poetic tragedy but with the most extreme pettiness. A reader might agree with my very unflattering depiction of Werther, yet simply see the novel as the product of a young author every bit as immature and self-absorbed as his protagonist. However, even without considering the towering intellect Goethe would soon prove himself to be, many hints can be found that this is not the case.
Auden points to the character of Albert as noteworthy. If he truly wished for us to admire Werther, one would expect Goethe to demonize Albert, yet he does no such thing. Albert is a good-natured, even-tempered fellow, perhaps not much of a romantic but to all appearances genuinely in love with Lotte, as she is with him. He is extraordinarily patient and kind to Werther even though he must realize that Werther's intention is quite literally to steal his wife.
Only after months of Werther's constant presence does he begin to lose patience, and even then he cannot bring himself to banish Werther from his home forever or even to seriously scold Lotte. Such behavior borders on amazing given the social mores of the time.
Subtler clues about Goethe's attitude toward Werther are sprinkled through the text.
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I know, of course, as well as anyone, how necessary class distinctions are, and how many advantages I myself gain from them; but they should not stand in my way just when I might enjoy some little pleasure, some gleam of joy on this earth One senses on such occasions that Goethe is as aware as we of the flaws and contradictions of his character and is subtly smiling at us between the lines. There are too many differences between Goethe and Werther to link the two in a directly autobiographical sense.
At the age of 24, Goethe had already written plays and lyric poetry, was conducting scientific research and with the publication of Werther now had a novel to his name. He would go on to become one of the greatest intellectuals of his generation, the last of the Renaissance men. Werther at the time of his death presumably in his mid-twenties had accomplished nothing and showed no signs of doing so, even had he not met Lotte and ended his life so young.
Finally, an even more obvious contrast exists; whatever sorrows Goethe endured due to his own ill-fated love, he was able in the end to pick up the pieces and move on to make an extraordinary life for himself. Werther could move on only by ending his life.
Still, I do not feel that Goethe intended Werther as an object for contempt or ridicule. He must have identified strongly with the feelings expressed by his protagonist and have seen many of the same self-destructive tendencies in himself.
Werther is not deserving of the adoration, even emulation, lavished upon him by the reading public of the 's, but he is deserving of our pity.
The fate he suffers is tragic, but not in the grand Shakespearan sense he imagined. Mann offers Lotte as a guardian of a humane life enhancing culture, one in which culture is for the sake of people, not people for the sake of culture.
Lotte symbolically fears the fictional heroine could extinguish her real life and individuality as meaningless. But she warns against human sacrifice or the consumption of our humanity in the pursuit of cultural goals Mann,, pp. A humane art cannot demand human sacrifice.
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The author of Werther is depicted as ever curious and animated by art and science, but rather distant from the common people that his tragic hero had identified with, disparaging the masses and those who dare to criticise his work.
Sensing a danger of Goethe and his art succumbing to his flatterers, Lotte dares to judge the great man and speak truth to genius. Here she takes on the role of his moral guardian and trusted old friend, and addresses his conscience stripped on the social titles and pretensions that now bind him.
Lotte appeals to Goethe the man rather than Goethe the famed author and honoured statesman. Under the pressure of her reproaches, Goethe reaffirms his Wertherian ideal of feeling being all.
Yet his elaborate, abstract profession of the mystery of life and metamorphosis remains emotionally remote. Such questions haunt Europe and western culture to this day. What match was literature against totalitarian terror systematically breaking individuals and seeking to merge them into a mass?
What of the complicity of aesthetics in legitimising the inhuman? In key respects, postwar Europe, devastated and divided as it was, was more hopeful for the future of humanity and cultural rejuvenation than we have become in recent decades. Indeed the Cold War competition for the hearts and minds of Europeans animated rival visions of the future.
In the West, the ideals of social democracy attributed the barbarity of two world wars to undemocratic inequitable prewar governments. Critically too there were hopes for a new humanism to flourish with decolonisation in the newly independent states.
Their ideals for a new just and peaceful international order were proclaimed in the Bandung spirit and the non-aligned movement, which sought to live beyond the terms of the Cold War.
Much commentary has raised fears that we are entering an era akin to the crisis of the interwar Weimar Republic. They have shut up that rebellious, intractable spirit in that impregnable wastes of oceans, so that we hear can have peace and cultivate our gardens… Quite right too. The age of arms and epopees is past, the king takes flight, the burgher is on top. Napoleon had been effectively defeated.
Nevertheless the peoples of Europe had been mobilised by the Napoleonic wars and their outlook raised beyond their customary station. Coordination between the rulers of Europe to suppress domestic dissent could not contain political opposition indefinitely, culminating in the revolutions.
But as early as there were student riots in German states against the repressions of the post-Napoleonic order Ghervas, Goethe himself was seen by younger intellectuals as too conservative.
As Steiner suggests in his essay The Idea of Europe, cultural meaning has become lost: Or, if, indeed, they are, that vision is hardly one to rouse the human soul. All our actions shape the meaning of humanity and human culture. Cultural creation, which has lost touch with its fellow humans, narrows itself and ossifies.
And any culture that is truly humanist and has any hope of preventing barbarism is a popular culture of the people.
Vanessa Pupavac is leading the module Civilization and Barbarism this spring semester. She is writing a monograph on Shakespeare and international politics.