Novels and Tales

Novels and Tales

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Novels and Tales

Novels and Tales

Read FREE!

Excerpt

The works of Goethe, comprised in the present volume, are entirely new translations, made expressly for the series of German Classical Works, which find their place from time to time in the “ Standard Library.” the “ Elective Affinities” has been executed by a gentleman well known in the literary world, who does not wish his name to appear. It is possible that exceptions may be taken to some of the statements contained in this production of Goethe. But to use the language of Carlyle, “ Fidelity is all the merit a translator need aim at, to convey the author’s sentiments as he himself expressed them, and to follow the original in all its variations. in many points, it were to be wished that Goethe had not so written; but to alter anything is not in the translator’s commission. the literary and moral persuasions of a man like Goethe, are objects of a rational curiosity, and the duty of a translator is simple and distinct.” the same observations will apply with equal force to many of the sentiments which pervade the second tale in this volume, the “Sorrows of Weither.”

It is somewhat remarkable that the “ Sorrows of Werther,” notwithstanding its great popularity, has never before been translated directly from the German into the English language. the translation by which the work has become familiarized in this country, 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, who farther observes: “ That the German Werther is a very different person from his English namesake. His sorrows in the original are recorded in a tone of strength and sarcastic emphasis, of which the other offers no vestige . . .

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