On Sunday October 29th, people flocked to Mayflower Bookshop, braving the bad weather to enjoy the fifth event of our series Great Books: the German classic ‘Die Leiden des Jungen Werther(s)’  (The sufferings of Young Werther) by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The talk was given by Germanist, performer and translator Hans van der Veen, who began by explaining that, after the first edition, the final ‘s’ in the title was omitted. Van der Veen went on sketching a picture of 18th century German society and telling us about the life and loves of Goethe, showing us the many similarities between the society Goethe lived in and the environment of the novel. Keeping us on the edge of our seats, Van der Veen then brought us to the climax of the story: the end of Young Werther, after which a lively discussion ensued between lecturer and audience! While many remembered ‘Werther’ from their schooldays, just as many were motivated by this event to (re)read the novel!

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