YMMV / The Sorrows of Young Werther

  • Death of the Author: While Goethe made his detest of his overly-Romantic fans that sought to emulate Werther clear, would denounced Romanticism, and tried to distance himself from the book because of those factors, Goethe himself was initially involved with a proto-Romantic movement prior to him denouncing Romanicism. Additionally, he admitted the great impact the writing of the book had on himself and acknowledged that he had some understanding of how Werther could resonate with forlorn young lovers, and hated (the pro-Enlightenment) Nicholai's fan-made alternate ending which clearly indicated he didn't dislike Romanticism so much that he'd freely accept any ol' mockery of it. Needless to say, it's debatable to what just side of Romanticism Versus Enlightenment the book is on...
  • Fanwork Ban: Goethe disapproved of Friedrich Nicolai's alternate ending such that he wrote a very on-the-nose poem titled "Nicolai auf Werthers Grabe" ("Nicolai on Werther's grave") wherein a nameless fellow that is obviously supposed to be Nicolai literally shits on Werther's grave.
  • It Was His Sled: Werther's suicide. The book is several centuries old at this point, so...
  • Memetic Mutation: The book actually started a fashion for blue coats and yellow breeches. And suicide, of course.
  • Misaimed Fandom: So many people have looked to Werther as inspiration for their own suicides that this book is frequently used as a case study of copycat suicides.
  • Signature Scene: As the page quote shows, what people tend to remember is the striking scene where Werther first meets Lotte as she is in the process of cutting bread and butter for her eight younger siblings. (In real life, Goethe experienced this scene with Charlotte Buff the day after the ball).
  • Write What You Know: Charlotte was inspired (and obviously, named for) by a woman named Charlotte Buff that Goethe was in love with in his youth who he lost out to another man.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/TheSorrowsOfYoungWerther