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Extended Audio Sample The Sorrows of Young Werther Audiobook, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.77 out of 53.77 out of 53.77 out of 53.77 out of 53.77 out of 5 3.77 (30 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Narrator: Don Hagen Publisher: Gildan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2010 ISBN: 9781596595170
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The Sorrows of Young Werther is a loosely based autobiographical novel by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. It was first published in 1774 and is one of the most famous-and infamous-works in the history of literature.

Werther, a sensitive young man falls in love with Lotte, a sweet-natured girl he meets while visitng an idyllic German village. Although Lotte is betrothed to Albert, Werther's infatuation with her torments him to the point of despair and suicide. The book, consisting almost entirely of letters written by Werther to his friend Wilhelm, was an immediate success and developed a large cult following, resulting in copycat suicides.

Based on Goethe's unrequited love for Charlotte Buff, it is the first great "confessional" novel and turned Goethe into one of the first international literary celebrities.

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Samuel | 2/20/2014

    " This charmingly effusive short tale is such a lovely addition to my mind over and over again. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Erika | 2/19/2014

    " I am not sure I can wait until Book III for Werther to kill himself... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hilary | 2/3/2014

    " Okay, so since I read this in high school, in English, I don't really know how to rate this one honestly. But it's early Goethe, which means: Pathos! Melodrama! Over-the-top demonstrations of love and despair! I seem to remember one passage started with Werther saying "Oh today! Oh life! Oh mankind!" or something to that effect. If you like a bit of drama but don't like quite that much, Goethe's Faust (Part I) has the same Sturm und Drang thing going on, without quite so much wallowing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alix | 2/1/2014

    " Better written than many of his stories. He was an early writer - but this is the first thing I've read that had a conclusion to the story, which was much appreciated. Rambles (ailment of that period of literature) and was incredibly depressing. I will continue to slog through his collected works, though! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emi | 1/27/2014

    " I liked it - wasn't a big fan of Werther until I saw the movie A Young Goethe in Love or Goethe! Watching this movie after reading the book made me appreciate it more. I think if you read it and you're not a fan, try the movie (the movie was great). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Clarissa | 1/18/2014

    " For who likes romantic stories, this is the most beautiful I've ever read. Poetry is always behind the main character's thoughts. To be honest, sometimes, you just stop reading and take a breathe, because it's not a simple novel. I think the most incredible topic of this reading is the real love. I mean, today, we don't have anymore this thing that a man has to be a real gentleman. So, this novel shows us how it used to be. This beautiful love story show us what is real love and what it does mean. I don't know about other people, but I'm a huge lover of romanticism. And I don't think death is necessary in the way the novel preaches, but it is a beautiful act for who thinks it is worth. Anyway, like I said, it is coming from the person who appreciates tragedies like this one, like Romeo and Juliet, and others. What I want to say at last is that this novel is more than worth reading, it is necessary to be read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Yesenia Vargas | 1/14/2014

    " A slower pace than I'm used to, but absorbing all the same. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Yanniey | 1/2/2014

    " prefer the first part to the second part. Man in love is crazy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah Schreiber | 12/15/2013

    " Stunning...Corngold's translation is flawless. I'll be on a Goethe kick for a long, long time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John | 12/5/2013

    " The sorrows of young Werther is, in my humble opinion, one of the best stories I have ever read. Simple, poetic, thoughtful and tragic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Poppy | 10/30/2013

    " The author vividly captures the heartwrenching love this young man feels for Charlotte. The author does an excellent job of describing human emotions in a chaotic turmoil without contridicting himself. The story is moving and gutwrenching. Don't read this book if you are lonely or depressed! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kay | 10/28/2013

    " Had to read it in my German class. It's a bit like Goethe's diary, he was in love with the woman he could not get, so he wrote about it. In the story Werther killed himself. In real life, Goethe moved on. Sturm und Drang at its best! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jillian Warren | 9/24/2013

    " This book was ok. It provided good discussion prompts about class divisions. In parts it was very boring and dragged on and on. The last 40 pages of the book were there best part. It is worth the effort to make it through the first 100 pages to get to the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cecilia Gonzalez | 9/8/2013

    " Dark story about a young man... who fells in love of the wrong woman (as usual) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kris Worsley | 7/28/2013

    " I've read several translations of this book (five, I think) and this is my favourite. Burton Pike sticks to Goethe's text more closely than most others, and carries the profound tone of the original right the way through without question. It's a beautiful translation. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Arlyna Maria | 6/20/2013

    " A masterpiece! Haunting in every way. Romanticism at its best. The consequence of loving too much - of loving beyond yourself. This book I hold so dearly because I'm a hopeless romantic. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jesse | 6/6/2013

    " An interesting read, though not an easyone. Tragic and dramatic old english love junk. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lalka | 10/31/2012

    " If you know what unrequited love is, you will love it, you will hate it and you will understand everything. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Beth | 10/20/2012

    " For what it was (an assignment in this godawful Romantic German Literature class), it wasn't horrible. I can't say I enjoyed it, but it was the best thing we read in there. Not recommended for joy-reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Iva | 5/19/2011

    " I read it for school, and I will never regret reading it. I actually found a lot of myself in Werther, his words, feelings, suffering, and especially his way of expressing. I love it all. Romanticism is the best!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brittany | 5/17/2011

    " Great classic. I'll probably read it again soon and have a better review. It goes fast, too. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jacob | 4/22/2011

    " As an American male, I found no connection with the effeminate German. All conflict was internal. All nature, everything and everyone except Werther, is entirely an impression of Werther's emotion. No subjectivity is offered to the other characters. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Andrew | 4/18/2011

    " I am amazed that William kept writing him back. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Banotong | 4/18/2011

    " Bunuh diri adalah kehormatan "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 4/18/2011

    "
    Tempted to give it 5 stars, but my lingering urge to slap Werther is still too strong. He was the original emo kid. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Anton | 4/6/2011

    " The translation must have spoiled its oft-lauded beauty for me. The story, such as it is, forms the simple ur-text of romanticism and is still pervasive today. Yawn. The Ossian passages escaped my comprehension. I'll improve my understanding with some research. I found it a tough slog. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris | 4/6/2011

    " Do you think napoleon would read a four-star book seven times? "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Ivana | 4/2/2011

    " He's unhappy because he can't get the chick he wants. He kills himself, leaving the message he did it because of her. How nice of him. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrew | 4/1/2011

    " Alas! Oh, alas! I'll never stop crying until the end of my days! Another such man really existed? Alas! Oh, alas! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 amorevolefe | 3/13/2011

    " A woeful tale of unrequited love and sentimental torment that led to the despondent protagonist's willful death. Never have I been moved by such a book; and so my question is: Was this work of tragedy too much, or simply enough? "

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About the Author
Author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749–1832) was a novelist, poet, playwright, philosopher, and scientist. He wrote The Sorrows of Young Werther when he was just twenty-four. “Faust,” his most enduring work, took fifty-seven years to write and was published in its entirety only after Goethe’s death at eighty-three.

About the Narrator

Don Hagen has been behind the microphone since fifth grade. He is a nine-time winner of the Peer Award for narration/voice-over and twice winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award. He has also been heard in radio and television commercials and documentaries. In addition to his freelance voice work, he is a member of the audiobook narration team at the Library of Congress.