02 September 2008

from The Sorrows of Young Werther (J.W. von Goether, trans. Michael Hulse)

Book One, 8 August

For goodness' sake, dear Wilhelm, I did not mean you when I complained that people who urge us to be resigned to inevitable fate are unbearable. It truly did not enter my head that you might be of such an opinion. Basically you are right, of course. But, dear friend, with this one proviso: things in this world seldom come down to an either-or decision, and possible courses of action, and feelings, are as infinitely various as kinds of noses on the gamut from hooked to snub.

The Editor to the Reader

The lack of communication which had recently prevailed between them lay heavily upon her now, though she was not fully aware of it at that moment. People as understanding and good as they turned to mutual silence on account of some inner differences, each though himself in the right and the other in the wrong and brooded on it, and things became so complicated and volatile that it proved impossible to untie the knot at that critical moment on which everything depended. If they had been brought closer again at some earlier stage, in a spirit of happy intimacy, a mutual love and consideration would have arisen between them, and would have opened their hearts; and perhaps our friend might yet have been saved.

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