Book Review: “The Sorrows of Young Werther” (1774) by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

goethe

Still from Young Goethe in Love (2010). Note how Goethe is wearing the iconic Werther costume.

BOOK REVIEW IBOOK REVIEW IBOOK REVIEW IBOEK REVIEW IIBOEK REVIEW II

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.

Read more

Book Review: “Common Sense” (1776) by Thomas Paine

paine

BOOK REVIEW IBOOK REVIEW IBOOK REVIEW IBOOK REVIEW IBOOK REVIEW I

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!
Work! (X)

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?

Read more

Book Review: “The Castle of Otranto” (1764), Horace Walpole

Untitled-1

BOOK REVIEW IBOOK REVIEW IBOEK REVIEW IIBOEK REVIEW IIBOEK REVIEW II

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!

Read more