REVIEWED BY MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT

The Sorrows of Werter: a Poem …

London: Printed for T. Cadell … 1786

4to., pp. xxii, 69, [1]; with half-title and a sixteen-page list of 961 subscribers; apart from slight fraying a very good copy, uncut, in original blue-grey wrappers and tan paper spine.

£1200

Approximately:
US $1576€1420

Add to basket Make an enquiry

Added to your basket:
The Sorrows of Werter: a Poem …

Checkout now

First edition. Amelia Pickering’s ‘melancholy, contemplative poem’ (Todd) was one of a spate of works in English and German founded on Goethe’s novel, including poems by Charlotte Smith and Mary Robinson, both subscribers here. Pickering ‘gives to Charlotte a voice, if rather weakly moralistic, and to Werter suffering which is acute, credible and unhysterical’ (Feminist Companion citing ‘The Sorrows of Young Charlotte: Werter’s English Sisters’, Goethe Yearbook, 1986).

Mary Wollstonecraft, however, was not enthusiastic. ‘To pity Werter we must read the original ... The energy … is lost in this smooth, and even faithful, imitation … Werter is dead from the beginning: we hear his very words; but the spirit which animated them is fled …’ (Analytical Review, January 1789).

Speck Collection 1155.

You may also be interested in...

[JACOBUS DE GRUYTRODE, ascribed author.]

Lavacrum conscientie [omnium sacerdotum].

Rare edition of this popular late medieval treatise widely ascribed to the Carthusian monk Jacobus de Gruytrode (c. 1400–1475). Essentially a handbook for priests, with a significant devotional element, it was first published between 1487 and 1489. According to Theodor Petreius, Bibliotheca Cartusiana (Cologne, 1609), the actual author is Johannes Meskirchius (Messkirch, d. 1511), a monk at the charterhouse of Güterstein near Stuttgart (for Messkirch see R. Deigendesch, ‘Bücher und ihre Schenker – Die Bücherlisten der Kartause Güterstein in Württemberg’, in S. Lorenz, ed., Bücher, Bibliotheken und Schriftkultur der Kartäuser. Festgabe zum 65. Geburtstag von Edward Potkowski, Stuttgart 2002, pp. 93–115).

Read more

HUGHES, Langston and BONTEMPS, Arna (edit.); ZHANG QI (transl.).

Hei ren shi xuan [The poetry of the Negro].


Very rare second edition (first edition 1957) of the Chinese translation of The poetry of the Negro, 1746 – 1949, an anthology of poems by African American writers first published in the United States in 1949 and including, amongst others, George Moses Horton, James Weldon Johnson, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Margaret Walker, Countee Cullen, Melvin Tolson, as well as Langston Hughes, the editor of the collection, and Caribbean poets such as Claude McKay.

Read more