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p. 11. Lovelocked

  • Ritchie Robertson

Abstract

Goethe is perhaps the greatest love poet of modern Europe. ‘Love’ mainly considers his poetry, but it begins with his early novel, Die Leiden des jungen Werthers (The Sufferings of Young Werther, 1774), that he wrote about love in a new way which enraptured innumerable readers. Goethe went further than any previous writer in presenting his hero as a union of mind and body. In doing so, he extended the range of experience that literature could express. Goethe’s personal relationship history is documented and, against this background, the early love poetry is rich in emotional complexity. A recurrent theme is the poet’s need for someone to calm his turbulent emotions.

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