Young Werther and Marianne Dashwood

I recently read The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832). There were a couple of quotes that particularly reminded me of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.

10 July, 1771.

You should see what a foolish figure I make when she is spoken of in company. And when I am asked how I like her—like! I hate the word. What sort of a fellow must he be who likes Lotte and whose whole mind, whose whole heart is not entirely absorbed by her. Like! The other day someone asked me how I liked Ossian!

—Werther to Wilhelm in The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, translated by William Rose.

“I do not attempt to deny,” said she, “that I think very highly of him—that I greatly esteem, that I like him.”

Marianne here burst forth with indignation—

“Esteem him! Like him! Cold-hearted Elinor! Oh! worse than cold-hearted! Ashamed of being otherwise. Use those words again, and I will leave the room this moment.”

—Elinor and Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, Chapter 4.

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9 May, 1772.

I have fulfilled the pilgrimage to my home with a pilgrim’s reverence and have been affected by many an unexpected emotion. …. I approached the town, greeted all the old familiar summer houses, and disliked the new ones as well as all the other changes which had taken place.

—Werther to Wilhelm in The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, translated by William Rose.

“What!” he exclaimed — “Improve this dear cottage! No. That I will never consent to. Not a stone must be added to its walls, not an inch to its size, if my feelings are regarded. …. To me it is faultless. Nay, more, I consider it as the only form of building in which happiness is attainable, and were I rich enough I would instantly pull Combe down, and build it up again in the exact plan of this cottage. …. with all and every thing belonging to it;—in no one convenience or inconvenience about it, should the least variation be perceptible. Then, and then only, under such a roof, I might perhaps be as happy at Combe as I have been at Barton.”

—John Willoughby at the Dashwoods’ cottage in Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, Chapter 14.

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Images of ‘Sense and Sensibility’ (1995). Top (left to right): Elinor Dashwood (Emma Thompson), Edward Ferrars (Hugh Grant), Elinor, and Marianne Dashwood (Kate Winslet). Bottom: John Willoughby (Greg Wise), and Marianne. Screencaps from Longbourn: Jane Austen Screencaps.
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