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Selected Poetry

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Thomas Carlyle commented over 150 years ago that the name Goethe conjured up something vague and monstrous to English ears - a reaction still recognisable today. As a contribution towards redressing this situation this volume, published on the 250th anniversary of Goethe's birth, contains the largest selection ever published of his poetry in English verse translation. The poems (alongside their German originals) are arranged chronologically and - among much else - include his most famous lyrical verse, longer poems in their entirety, passages from his poetic drama "Faust" and from his popular but in English little-known romantic idyll "Hermann and Dorothea", and the whole of his long-suppressed masterpiece "The Diary", sometimes referred to as the most moral erotic poem ever written. The whole sequence gives a picture of Goethe's extraordinarily rich and unusual poetic development. A substantial introduction sets the poetic work in the context of Goethe's often surprisingly unsettled life. Much in Goethe has been censured or rejected by puritanical moralists over the years, particularly in England where he incurred the disapproval of Wordsworth, among others. This comprehensive selection and its new translations offer English-speaking readers the chance to enjoy Goethe's prodigious gifts and huge variety of subject matter and mood, and to appreciate why his name is so often set alongside those of Dante and Shakespeare.
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