The book should come with health warnings, and indeed it does. However, apart from the brief interpolations by the editor at the beginning and end of the novel, and the occasional footnote e. The novel soon became a bestseller. Its epistolary form drew expertly on the contemporary discourses of Pietism and Empfindsamkeit sensibility which were embodied in the letter-writing culture of the time. In the 18th century reading letters aloud was an essential part of the culture of sensibility, based on the public celebration of love and emotion.
Such public demonstrations of private emotion were intrinsic to the emergence of the bourgeois public sphere in the 18th century , since these rituals of sensibility helped to provide a forum in which questions of economic and social status could be articulated and negotiated.
In the 18th century it was common for novels to claim factual authenticity. The anonymous publication of Werther in left open the possibility that these letters were not fiction, but fact. Like Werther, Jerusalem was suffering from unrequited love for a married woman, Elisabeth Herd. These details, combined with the intimate epistolary form, give a plausible, almost documentary appearance to Werther.
The novel takes the conventions of literary Empfindsamkeit sensibility and gives them a pathological twist. The result is a compulsive, supercharged emotionality. In the first letter, 4 May , Werther admits he has a tendency to dwell imaginatively on his misfortune, and spends his time weeping for the Count of M.
This is an astonishing claim. On one level this is evidently untrue, since an artist can only be judged in terms of what he or she actually achieves. On another level, though, this expresses how Werther prefers the imaginative potential of the inner life to genuine, tangible achievement. On 22 May Werther says he finds a world inside himself, and that the real world is a prison which one can leave whenever one wants.
On 16 June Werther describes his first sight of Lotte, slicing a loaf of bread for her six younger siblings. That evening Werther dances with Lotte at a country ball. Lotte tells Werther she is as good as engaged to Albert, and at once a thunderstorm breaks out pathetic fallacy. On 1 July Werther describes his visit to a pastor in a mountain village with Lotte and her sister.
- BEULAH THE BAT.
- Now He Knows.
- The Encyclopedia Americana ()/Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von - Wikisource, the free online library.
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When Werther is courteous to Friederike, Herr Schmidt becomes bad-tempered and jealous. This annoys Werther who gets very heated. Lotte tells Werther not to get so excited about everything. It will be the ruin of him, he should take more care of himself. He imagines going to live as a monk, and sees no end to this but the grave.
The Sorrows of Young Werther Glossary | GradeSaver
On 20 October , Werther describes his attempt to pursue an adminstrative career with a diplomatic legation at the court of a small German principality. He says that now he is surrounded by this activity he feels a little better. On 24 December Werther describes how he is appalled by the petty snobbery of these people. On 15 March Werther is told that he is not welcome at a court banquet; worse still, the man who tells him he must leave is the man Werther thought he could rely on der Graf von C..
Now her aunt has told her to avoid Werther. Werther is mortified, and on 24 March he tells Wilhelm that he has asked permission to leave his post at court. On 9 May Werther visits his home town and stands under the great linden tree he had once walked to as a boy. On 29 July Werther is back with Lotte and Albert, and consumed with jealousy. On 4 September Werther reports that the peasant lad see 30 May , above declared his love to the widow, and when she refused he grabbed her, using force. She defended herself and then her brother appeared.
The peasant lad was fired on the spot. On 5 September Lotte writes a note to Albert and Werther fantasises that it was written to him — Lotte is not best pleased. On 12 October Werther reports that Ossian has replaced Homer in his affections. By a comparison, Gifford's translation is decidedly more valuable than Malthus's or the "Anonymous Translation of In places his style is a little verbose, and his English is not so concise as one would desire, but he rarely fails to give the meaning of the original.
The fol- lowing specimen, a translation of a part of one of Werther's well- known letters, will serve to give an idea of his work: "I will no longer submit myself to the conduct of guided who, instead of repressing the ardour of passion, only add fuel to fire. My heart is a torrent, the impetuosity of which I am unable to restrain; I only want, therefore, those soothing strains that can lull it to rest; and these Homer supplies in abundance. How often have I applied to him for comfort! How often by his harmonious numbers have I sought to cool the raging blood that seemed boiling within my veins.
He seems to have fol- lowed Malthus in giving a small portion of the passage from Ossian and explains in a footnote that he has followed the example of the French version in omitting the greater part of Ossian "not from any respect to the author of Ossian, but merely that the story may suffer no unnecessary interruption. He put aside any regard for the evil influence that the novel was presumed to have and proceeded to give a faithful representation of the original. In spite of the fact that this version was made from the French, it is by no means a mediocre representation of the German text.
It does not seem to have received any attention from the magazines, and, perhaps, was not widely known; but it was unquestionably a better translation of Goethe's novel than had been offered previously to the literary public. The fourth translation, The Letters of Wetter, appeared at Lud- low in It was published anonymously and was made directly from the German. The author published the following preface: "The story of Werter should not be considered merely as an offspring of the imagination.
The author has given, as he informs us, little more than the particulars of a fact within the circle of his own acquaintance. The son of the Abbe Jerusalem, a cele- brated theologist of Brunswick, was the man whose passion for a lady of Wetzlar was attended with consequences so fatal. Goethe always chose his subjects from scenes of real life, which judicious preference has rendered his work truly energetic and interesting.
Goethe has been represented as the apologist of suicide. But this charge can have been made only by such as have not distinguished the author from the work. By this method of seduction, would not the entire body of our tragic and epic writers be affected? That the author was not conscious of any such implication, appears evident from the short address prefixed to the original edition. In these respects the letters of Werter differ essentially from a novel. There is no variety of character, or of events, to raise the reader's expectation, and but one correspondent: it is Werter alone. Nature had infused a strong proportion of passion into his temper, and his feelings were too fine to support his load of distress.
Let not the reader be offended, therefore, at his extravagance, but rejoice that Heaven has granted him a mind less susceptible of frailty, and more pre- pared to encounter the evils of life. Not only are several paragraphs omitted which rob the reader of English Translations of Goethe's Werther some of the most forceful language in the book and also of some of the most enthusiastic outpourings of Werther's soul, but sev- eral important letters are omitted which are rather essential for a complete conception of the original.
The letter dealing with Frau M and her stingy husband, and also the letter containing the incident of the crying child at the spring are omitted. The author was probably willing to follow former translators here. He is the first to omit the whole of Werther's letter pertaining to religion. The character of this and of some of the other parts unattempted shows, in part, the author's attitude toward the subject-matter of the book.
He evidently took exception to the manner in which Werther expresses his religious sentiments and preferred to deprive his readers of this part of the novel. In the place of this letter he appropriates the greater part of a letter that was invented by the anonymous translator of He also discards two other letters which form an important part of the story. In the one, March 15, 44 Werther relates his experience at a dinner with the Count where objection is made to his presence, and he is requested to withdraw from the company of the nobility; in the other, March 16, 46 he describes his meeting with Fraulein B, who has heard him condemned and depreciated by the nobility, but expresses to him her sympathy.
The interview increases his passion, and causes him to entertain thoughts of suicide. The omission of these two letters seriously injures the novel, since they are rather fundamental for a complete understanding of one of the motives which bring about Werther's tragic fate, namely: his humiliation on being excluded from association with higher classes. Although from the very beginning of the second part of the book one follows Werther's unhappy career in the service of the ambassador, and his growing displeasure in the more formal circles of diplomatic service, it is not until he is offended as one of the count's invited guests, that he is resolved to sever his relations from court-life.
His pride is wounded, and the way is paved for his downfall. Therefore, an omission of these two letters leaves a conspicuous chasm in the thread of the story. The climax of Werther's diplomatic service, the more direct cause of his resignation is not seen. Moreover, the story is robbed of one of the best expressions of an age in which distinction between higher and lower classes was sharply drawn. It is possible, of course, that he regarded this part as detrimental to the general plan of the whole.
One is re- minded of Napoleon's criticism of the novel.
When Werther-Fever Upended Europe
After reading Werther with much interest and appreciation, Napoleon criticised the use of Werther's feeling of his false relation to society as one of the motives for bringing about this tragic fate. Certain passages, however, are open to criticism, as the following will serve to illustrate: "Lieber Wilhelm, ich habe allerley nachgedacht uber die Begier in Menschen sich auszubreiten, neue Entdeckungen zu machen, herumzuschweifen; und dann wieder iiber den innern Trieb, sich der Einschrankung willig zu ergeben, und in dem Gleise der Gewohnheit so hinzufahren, und sich weder um rechts noch links zu bekiimmern.
Wearied or unsuc- cessful, he recalls his former habits, and his mind, like a spring extended to its utmost limits, inclines him to return to his former circle, and to enjoy that repose which activity and exertion have denied. Except- ing a few inaccuracies, no serious charges can be brought against him as an interpreter of German. It should be remembered, however, that when he began his work, he had the advantage of examining three translations which had already appeared.
That he was acquainted with these, is shown, to some extent, in the character of his preface, and also in his adoption of several phrases. The chief fault, then, is the omission of several parts of the story which he saw fit to ignore, excusing himself on the ground that they lower the merit of the original. Although we may not ques- tion the sincerity of his judgment, it is evident, to anyone 49 Napoleon to Goethe, Erfurt, Oct.
Graef, p. English Translations of Goethe's Wertker acquainted with Goethe's novel, that he has modified Werther's character, and has failed to grasp a very vital part of the story. Were it not for such liberty, this work would compare favorably with that of others. But as it stands, it is a mutilated version, and fails to give one a complete idea of Werther, This translation was probably not widely read There was only the one edition of it, and it does not seem to have attracted any notice in the magazines.
It could not have appealed to a public that was acquainted with the more complete version by Gif- ford. The translation by William Render appeared in He also claims to have been well acquainted with Werther, and appends to his translation an interview which he had with him shortly before his death. About Render came to England, where he became known as a teacher of languages in several families of distinction. Toward the end of the century he taught German at Cambridge, Oxford and Edinburgh.
Besides publishing several grammars and manuals he is the author of an English version of Kotzebue's Graf Ben- jowsky, and of Schiller's Rauber. Translations of Don Carlos and of Maria Stuart are also sometimes ascribed to him. Goedeke records earlier translations by Render: one in , published at Litchfield, and another at London in Appell and the British Museum Catalogue list only the one translation in In an edition which has thus been prepared through the medium of a second language, the spirit of the original not only was in a great measure evaporated, but many interesting passages and several entire letters were omitted; the translator has, therefore, been prompted to undertake his present task, no less by his respect for the taste of the British nation, than by his desire to do justice to the admirable talents of his friend the Baron Goethe.
The residence of Charlotte was only a few miles from the place where he received his education, and one of her brothers was his fellow student in the University of Giessen, near Wetzlar. Indeed his interview with Werter a few days before his death, as described at the end of this volume, will unquestionably satisfy the reader that the present translator is in a peculiar manner qualified for the task of editing an English edition of this work.
The interview, which he claims to have had with Werther, took place during breakfast at Frankfort-am-Main, and was devoted chiefly to a discussion of suicide, upon which topic Render had preached a short time previously at Wetzlar. Werther objects to Render's views on the subject. The following is a fair sample of the conver- sation: " 'Were this life,' replied Werter, 'such as you represent, no person would ever desire to quit it.
It would be an earthly paradise. No young woman would drown herself in the neighborhood of Wetzlar; nor would any man abandon the best and dearest part of himself — the companion which nature has given him to constitute his bliss. No woman would disregard the affec- tionate attention which she can only receive from him whose heart is entwined English Translations of Goethe's Werther with her own. Could I efface from my mind the impression which she has made!
Hope, which gives so much consolation to man, is, I trust, not wholly a stranger to your bosom. Render states in his preface that he was personally ac- quainted with Werther Jerusalem and Charlotte Lotte Buff and that one of his fellow students at the University of Giessen was Charlotte's brother. Let us look at the facts. Jerusalem came to Wetzlar in September, , and resided there until the date of his suicide in October, Lotte Buff, born in January, , was only twenty years of age at the time of her marriage to Kestner in April, The oldest of her brothers, Hans, who, born in November, , was not fifteen years of age at the time of Jerusalem's death, was presumably too young to have been at the university during Jerusalem's stay in Wetzlar.
Thus, while we may be liberal enough to accept one or the other of his statements, we cannot accept both. The more probable interpretation is, that Render wished to establish relations with Werther's and Char- lotte's families in order to increase his fame as man of letters and to advertise his translation. Render was the first to use the second version of Werther, which Goethe published in He probably was not acquainted with other former versions.
Despite the motives, which, as he tells us, prompted 62 Cf. Herbst, Goethe in Wetzlar, pp. Werther, p. Wolff p. This is disappointing when one remem- bers that Render was not only a native German, but also a teacher of languages, and therefore, seemed particularly fitted for the task. But he evidently had little ability as a translator.
His translation of Schiller's Rauber in is quite worthless; 64 and, compara- tively speaking, the same is true of his translation of Werther. Besides expanding and omitting certain parts of the text, Render's great fault lies in the unlimited freedom which he has taken in rendering numerous passages with a view to embellishing his language. With this almost constant aim one notes a slovenly and inaccurate rendering of the German, and a failure to present any conception of the simple language which Goethe uses.
Thus, after describing his meeting with the servant girl at the spring, Werther closes his letter: "Sie dankte und stieg hinauf. The sensations of my heart at the moment convinced me that I had done right. Der trSpfelnde Wald und das erfrischte Feld umher! I shall never forget what passed as we returned from the ball. I have scarcely time to tell you today, but I will endeavour to resist the pleasure of beholding her a few moments, to convince you that, notwithstanding Char- lotte, I have not entirely forgotten William.
English Translations of Goethe's Werther of the unsullied chastity of her angelic heart, she rejected her first intention of causing her maid to remain in the room. Albert sincerely lamented his unhappy and untimely fate; from the eyes of Charlotte it long continued to drain inexhaustible showers of the tears of bit- terness and sorrow. He was followed to the grave by the old Bailiff and his two sons, who sincerely regretted the loss of so faithful and valuable a friend.
Besides a number of short passages, there are longer ones omitted which rob the reader of some of the most effective parts of the book. For instance, the account of one of Werther's visits to Charlotte's father, 68 in which one notes Werther's particular fondness for children, is entirely ignored; and more serious than this is the omission of several paragraphs in which Goethe writes at length of Charlotte's attitude toward Albert and also toward Werther. One letter is entirely omitted, 60 but, on the other hand, this is the first translation to include the letter con- taining an account of Frau M and her husband.
Had he shown as much deference for the original as some of his predecessors, the existence of his trans- lation would, perhaps, be justified. Instead, however, he declaims in his preface against the merits of Malthus's version, and trumpets forth the value of his own production.
The results show, on the whole, a mediocre performance. This translation was probably not well known in England. It seems probable that the several editions of Malthus's version which had appeared by , were used largely by the public for an acquaintance with Werther. Render's work, however, became known in America when a reprint of his translation, to 57 Cotta ed.
One magazine gave a brief notice of Render's translation. Render's abilities as a translator have had the tribute of our approbation in a former number. Perhaps there was no necessity for a new translation of this work; and we are afraid that much good is not done to society by the diffusion of a book, the morality of which is at least questionable, to say no worse of it.
Render, however, has published an appendix which communicates some particulars of an interview had with Werter a little before his death. This addition is not interesting and it hardly affords an excuse for offering another edition of Goethe's novel to the public. Gotzberg, as we learn in the preface, was a native German, ranking "foremost among the literati of his coun- try," but he was not of sufficient eminence to be mentioned in any of the biographical dictionaries.
As seen in the preface, we have another author claiming acquaintance with Werther's family, thinking, perhaps, as Render, that this would advertise his trans- lation: "Few are acquainted with the history of Werter; the celebrity which attended its first publication naturally excited the curiosity of distant readers, and consequently produced several translations of it, both in England and France.
In England, Werter has appeared in a variety of dresses, but the clothing seldom corre- sponded with the original. This may be easily accounted for — it was translated from the French by some who were unacquainted with the German language, and having lost a considerable portion of its spirit by the first change, we may naturally conclude that it entirely evaporated in the second. Others have literally translated it from the original; but in this close adherence we find more puerility than simplicity, more folly than pathos. English Translations of Goethe's Werther yet from their ignorance of the German language, and being consequently obliged to refer to another translation of the work, they have in many parts perverted the meaning, and given Werter a dress that is not his own; and of the latter, their being unac- quainted with the English idiom, has rendered them incapable of conveying the original meaning to the English reader — this half-dress makes our hero appear more the subject of mirth than of pity.
From these preliminary remarks, the present transla- tion may be thought to come from the pen of one who is well acquainted w! Frederick Gotzberg is a native of Germany, had some knowledge of Werter's family, and ranks foremost among the literati of his country. How far this admired German history has been rendered an affecting tale, must be left to the decision of a candid and impartial public.
It is evident that he was acquainted with the history of Werther in England, and, while the title of the work places him somewhat in the background, the general character of the trans- lation leads me to ascribe a considerable portion to the hand of an Englishman. Several parts of the work would seem to point to this.
For example, the author refuses to translate the letter containing Werther's sentiments on religion and suicide, 64 because, as he explains in a note, it somewhat accords with his own views. He refers to Werther's arguments with Albert on suicide as being "fallacious"; and to one letter, August 8, 65 in which the same subject is mentioned, he appends: "This argument is very falla- cious, as are all Werter's arguments on this subject. Suicide has ever been deemed the act of a weak mind. Gotzberg apparently followed Render in making this translation.
This is seen in his omission of Werther's brief letter of February 8, 66 and also in the second part of the story where the parts omitted coincide practically with Render's work. However, the author's inventive powers are not so great as Render's; nor does his work show where he labored to express the original in such pretentious language. His translation, however, shows considerable freedom in handling the text and a limited knowledge of German.
Thus, he translates the last part of Werther's well- known letter of June " 'Charlotte, now reclining her head upon her lovely arm, fixed her expres- sive eyes on the surrounding country — then raised them to Heaven, and let them fall upon me — I saw them bedewed with a tear!
His divine poem rushed to my recollection, and increased my ardent love for her, whose sentiments are so congenial with mine — 'Oh! That Klopstock was known chiefly in England as the author of Messias m is seen in the rendering of "herrlichen Ode" as "divine poem" when the reference is to the famous ode, Frtth- lingsfeier.
Render and Pratt also made this error. Further illustration of injustice to the original may be seen in the following: "Was Lotte einem Kranken sein muss, fiihl' ich an meinem eigenen Herzen, das ubler dran ist als manches, das auf dem Siechbette verschmachtet. Sie wird einige Tage in der Stadt bei einer rechtschaffener Frau zubringen die sich nach der Aussage der Aerzte ihrem Ende naht und in diesen letzten Augen- blicken Lotten um sich haben will. She is accordingly gone, and I am conscious, is truly capable of administering balmy consolation to the sick, for I have been myself indisposed.
But unlike them, he paraphrases in verse the original. His efforts may be seen in the following brief specimen: "Alone, on the sea-beaten rock, My daughter was heard to complain, Loud and frequent, alas! English Translations of Goethe's Werther One notes occasional passages in this translation that are fairly successful, but the work, on the whole, is not to be commended. This is largely because several parts of the novel are dogmatically unattempted, and also, because of a deficient knowledge of German, various parts are loosely and inaccurately rendered. With these facts, it is difficult to see how anyone could obtain through this version a complete idea of Goethe's novel.
No reviews of this translation appeared in the magazines. How- ever, it became known through two reprints: it was published in Cassell's National Library in , 70 and has also been published here in America by the Educational Publishing Company in Pratt, better known, perhaps, as Samuel Jackson Pratt, or as "Courtney Mel- moth," which name he used for a number of years as an actor and writer. Pratt was a novelist, poet, and the author of no less than thirty-one plays.
While there are extensive accounts of his life and writings, there is practically no record of his having any special interest in German literature. The Dictionary of National Biography 72 states that a translation of Werther is attributed to him. It is probably true that Pratt was especially interested in sentimental literature. The Gentleman's Magazine 73 says: " his chief error consisted in not knowing how to check the exub- erance of his feeling and imagination; and that therefore he sometimes diffused his sentiments to a tedious extent.
His works were all intended to promote the interest of virtue. It was originally translated into French, and then into English; since then it has been done from the German. There is occasionally a discordancy between those rival productions, and many parts have been misconceived, or added to by the ingenuity of the translators. The present edition has been printed with a view to combine not only the real 70 Vol. Since it is not listed by Wilkens, it probably appeared after his article in Oswald p. Boston, ," but I have been informed by the publishers that this is an error. Goethe, but as a more perfect model of the author's manner, which has been perverted, and often misconceived.
Goethe is much attached to the simple scene of domestic life and rural scenery, many of which are here drawn with a most interesting and masterly hand. He esteems the Vicar of Wakefield for this cause, though the characters of the different heroes are drawn diametrically opposite. It has been objected to in this work that Mr.
The Sorrows of Young Werther Glossary
Goethe is the champion of Sui- cide. The reader will best judge how far this is true or not. Cer- tain it appears that Albert's arguments in reply to Werter on this head are weak compared with those of his antagonist; but it must be considered that it is the history of Werter which is written, and that it was not the intention to convince him, by force of Albert's arguments, of the gross absurdity and cowardice of that practice, to which his irritable and romantic mind constantly tended.
Werter was amiable, but he was weak; he had a strong mind in certain particulars; but it was in others little better than a lucid insanity. He loved where religion and prudence forbade his passion, and died in onformity to that erroneous reasoning which made him pursue Charlotte, when, in the first instance, he was informed she was devoted to another. An examination of his version will not con- vince one that he has succeeded in accomplishing what he had in mind. From the standpoint of language and style his work is fairly attractive, but it is more of Pratt than of Goethe.
This, like Render's translation, is characterized by an unusual display of vocabulary; and Pratt, too, finds difficulty in confining himself to the text. Thus, for a part of Werther's letter of Novem- ber 26, 74 in which he praises Albert, Pratt writes: "So eine, wahre, warme Freude ist nicht in der Welt, als eine grosse Seek zu sehen, die sich gegen einen offnet. In some of these he shows that he was influenced by Render and Gotzberg. For example, he translates the last part of Werther's letter of July 11 incorrectly: "Ich redete mit Lotten iiber die unglaubliche Verblendung des Menschen- sinns, dass einer nicht argwohnen soil, dahinter musse was stecken, wenn eins mit sieben Gulden hinreicht, wo man den Aufwand vielleicht um zweimal so viel sieht.
Aber ich habe selbst Leute gekannt, die des Propheten ewiges Oelkruglein ohne Verwunderung in ihrem Hause angenommen hatten. He follows Render and Gotzberg in omitting one letter, February 8, and also the greater part of Ossian. Like Gotzberg he paraphrases Ossian in verse, but a brief specimen will show that his efforts here are even more painful than Gotz- berg's: "Alone on the briny-lay'd rock My daughter exclaimed in her woe, For help and her father she call'd — Her father no help could bestow. But in spite of his deficiencies as a translator, the fact that he put aside all ethical consideration of the novel, shows a commendable and marked improvement in attitude over some of his predecessors.
This translation was published several times. Dillon Boylan in , and was published in a volume of Bohn's Standard Library containing other translations from Goethe by the same author. The following preface appeared with the translation: "It is somewhat remarkable that the Sorrows of Werther, not- withstanding its great popularity, has never before been translated from the German into the English language. The translation by which the work has become familiarized in this count y, was made from the French, a medium wholly incapable of maintaining the vigorous strength of the original.
Well may it be styled 'a faint and garbled version,' by a competent authority The story of Werther is known to be the narration of an actual fact which happened within the knowledge of the author; and though it has been sometimes affirmed that Goethe subsequently smiled at this performance of his youth, yet he has left on record an account of his own state of mind during its composition, which is well worthy of perusal.
His statement seems to show how little the former translations were known in England excepting Malthus's version from the French, concerning which he quotes from Carlyle. He had established a favorable reputation as a translator from the German with the appearance of his version of Wilhelm Meister in , and of Don Karlos in His love of accuracy, edition, The British Museum Catalogue lists a translation by Pratt in , a second edition in ? The New York Public Library contains an American reprint published in , which is the same text as the above edition of Also the Library of Cornell University contains a translation by Pratt dated , and following Malthus's transla- tion as far as the letter of July 6, Book I.
The remainder of the text is identical with the American reprint of and also with London version. It would seem, then, that Pratt translated Werther as early as , and that these so-called editions are mere reprints of the first. English Translations of Goethe's Werther his consciousness of the imperative duty of a translator to render faithfully, so far as it is possible, and his excellent knowledge of German, entitled him to praise.
That these are the qualifications with which he executed his task, is evident upon an examination of his work. One is impressed with the completeness of this version. Not a single letter in the novel is omitted. The entire passage from Ossian is included, which, as we have seen, was largely omitted in all the former translations excepting the "Anonymous Transla- tion of So far as I have been able to discover, there are only two errors in Boylan's interpretation.
In Werther's letter of July 6 the phrase, "das der Mann vor acht Tagen hatte taufen lassen," 80 is rendered incorrectly, "that this very man had been baptized only a week before. The second error is found in the letter dated September 3, where he interprets, "Ich begreife manchmal nicht, wie sie ein andrer lieb haben kann, lieb haben darf," 81 as, "I sometimes can- not understand how she can love another, how she dares love another.
All others have taken "ein andrer" as the object instead of the subject here. However, of all the translations of Werther, Boylan shows the greatest ability to grasp the spirit in which the novel is written. The fact that other authors had to wrestle frequently with Werther's thoughts and feelings naturally led to inaccuracy of expression and to a somewhat distorted view of the original. But Boylan's effort to reproduce Werther's mental state and to convey Goethe's ideas with adequate effect, must be pronounced, on the whole, remarkably successful.
Nowhere is this better exemplified than in his translation of Werther's letter of May 10, from which the following is taken: "A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am so happy, my fear friend, so absorbed in the exquisite sense of mere tranquil existence, that I neglect my talents. I should be incapable of drawing a single stroke at the present moment, and yet I feel that I never was a greater artist than now.
When the lovely valley teems with vapour around me, and the meridan sun strikes the upper surface of the impenetrable foliage of my trees, and but a few strong gleams steal into the inner sanctuary, then I throw myself down in the tall grass by the trickling stream, and as I lie close to the earth, a thousand unknown plants discover themselves to me. When I hear the buzz of the little world among the stalks, and grow familiar with the countless indescribable forms of the insects and flies, then I feel the presence of the Almighty, who formed us in His own image, and the breath of that universal love which bears and sustains us, as it floats round us in an eternity of bliss.
The various peculiarities and intri- cacies of thought and style are reproduced with as much skill as one may reasonably expect of a translator. There is no attempt to embroider the original with the translator's fancies; but a keen insight into Werther's philosophy of life, and an effort to express it with simplicity comparable to the original is generally apparent. It may be said, then, that in this version, form assumes, for the first time, its real importance.
Despite the fact that a certain critic speaks of this work as "painfully labored in which the throb and glow of the story's impassioned language are smothered and cooled into a decorously spasmodic language," 83 it is, on the whole, the most worthy and reliable version of Werther that has appeared. When Boylan published his translation no attention was paid it in the magazines, doubtless because of the fact that interest in Werther had become historical rather than critical. However, his translation has become deservedly popular through the several reprints that have appeared in England and America.
The attempt in this discussion has been to give a general idea of the character of the several English translations of Werther.