POSSIBLE FORERUNNER OF GOETHE'S WERTHER

Geschichte des Fräuleins von Sternheim.  Von einer Freundin derselben aus Original-Papieren und andern zuverlässigen Quellen gezogen.  Herausgegeben von C. M. Wieland.  Erster  [–Zweyter] Theil. 

Leipzig, bey Weidmanns Erben und Reich, 1771. 

Two volumes bound in one, small 8vo, pp. I: xxii, [2 (blanks)], 367, [1 (blank)], II: [2], 302; lightly browned throughout with contemporary ink annotations to a couple of leaves, a good copy in contemporary half calf over boards, spine ruled gilt with a gilt morocco lettering-piece, lower joint cracked, cords holding firm; spine and one corner chipped with loss; several marks to the boards and some faded notes in blue ink in the hand of the book’s 1834 owner; neat ink ownership inscription dated 1834, to the front free-endpaper and the note ‘Began Torquay 20 Oct 1836’, pencil landscape to the lower pastedown.

£950

Approximately:
US $1207€1112

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Geschichte des Fräuleins von Sternheim.  Von einer Freundin derselben aus Original-Papieren und andern zuverlässigen Quellen gezogen.  Herausgegeben von C. M. Wieland.  Erster  [–Zweyter] Theil. 

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First edition of Sophie von La Roche’s first novel, a best seller which brought her fame and recognition throughout Germany, and was translated into French, English, Russian and Dutch.  It became a pattern for the genre of the epistolary novel in Germany, and has even been cited as a forerunner of Goethe’s WertherFew writers have had more influence in the history of women’s writing in Germany.  In 1783, continuing in her efforts to foster women’s intellectual development, she published the first German journal for women to be written by a woman, the Pomona für Teutschlands Töchter.

The Geschichte des Fräuleins von Sternheim was published anonymously, and edited by Sophie von La Roche’s cousin C. M. Wieland, who provides an introduction.  The two were briefly engaged in 1750 when Wieland was 17 and Sophie 19, but were dissuaded from marriage by their families; they corresponded for the rest of their lives.

Goedeke IV/1, 592, 1; Wilpert/Gühring 1. 

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