Still from Young Goethe in Love (2010). Note how Goethe is wearing the iconic Werther costume.
The Sorrows of Young Werther is one of those novels that I had encountered a number of times in my assigned reading for university, but never found the time to read myself. By the time I finally decided to fill in this gap in my literary knowledge, I already knew that the protagonist was basically the quintessential Romantic hero – emotional, artistic, and, of course, desperately in love with a girl he can never have – which meant that this could only end in tears (and probably death).
Werther did not disappoint in that regard… But maybe I kind of wanted it to.
I’ve been reading “Common Sense” by Thomas Paine
So men say that I’m intense or I’m insane
You want a revolution? I want a revelation!
So listen to my declaration:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident
that all men are created equal,”
And when I meet Thomas Jefferson
Imma compel him to include women in the sequel!
Yes, I did pick up this pamphlet because I am obsessed with the musical Hamilton (what can I say, I can relate to men thinking that you’re intense and/or insane), and I am so glad that I did. Common Sense is a remarkable read that holds up incredibly well and is worth reading for anyone interested in history or political philosophy. Who’d have thought that an eighteenth-century political essay would make me laugh out loud multiple times?
Often credited as the first Gothic novel, The Castle of Otranto has all the ingredients you’d expect: mistaken identities, ghosts, incest, women running through dark hallways in a billowing nightgown… And it is (unintentionally?) hilarious. In the opening paragraphs, the prince of Otranto is dashed to pieces when a gigantic helmet falls from the sky and crushes him to death. Of course!