Translated by John Oxenford
ldigen/, and the first idea of Faust, which, however, was not realized in actual composition till a calmer period of his history. Of this early harsh and crude, yet fervid and genial period, /Werter/ may stand here as the representative; and, viewed in its external and internal relation, will help to illustrate both the writer and the public he was writing for.
At the present day, it would be difficult for us, satisfied, nay sated to nausea, as we have been with the doctrines of Sentimentality, to estimate the boundless interest which /Werter/ must have excited when first given to the world. It was then new in all senses; it was wonderful, yet wished for, both in its own country and in every other. The Literature of Germany had as yet but partially awakened from its long torpor: deep learning, deep reflection, have at no time been wanting there; but the creative spirit had for above a century been almost extinct. Of late, however, the Ramlers, Rabeners, Gellerts, had attained to no inconsiderable polish of
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