Die Leiden des jungen Werthers or The Sufferings of Young Werther is the over-familiar story of the literally mortally in love young man Werther, who sees his adored (Char)Lotte disappear into the arms of her fiancé Albert, later Lotte’s husband. Werther is left with nothing but suicide by pistol. Borrowing the gun from Albert, he receives it from the hands of Lotte! The consequence of this epistolary novel was a Werther craze in terms of clothing: young men wore the clothes after Werther, young women the dress of Lotte. A suicide wave also followed: desperate young lovers threw themselves off towers and into the water.
Hans van der Veen is a germanist and retired German language teacher. He is also a gifted translator of poetry into German.