Name: Goethe, "The Sorrows of Wertherr," "Faust"

Date:  1500 - 1799

Location:  Europe

SubjectReligious , Political/Economic/Social Opinion


Artist: Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von (1749-1832)

Confronting Bodies: The Lutheran authorities, German state, Franco

Date of Action: 1776

Specific Location: Denmark, Germany, Spain

Description of Artwork: "The Sorrows of Werther," 1774: Passion of Werther for a girl safely out of reach. The novel reflect the fatal effects of a predilection for absolutes, whether in love, art, society or the realm of thought. "Faust," 1790: Dramatic poem in two parts. Part I (1808) is set out its hero (Faust) despair, his pact with Mephistopheles, and his love for Gretchen. Part II (1832) covers Faust's life at court, the winning of Helen of Troy and Faust's purification and salvation.

Description of Incident: 1776, Denmark: "The Sorrows of Werther" was prohibited under strict censorship exercised by the Lutheran authorities. 1808, Berlin, Germany: The State authorities suppressed the production of "Faust," until certain "dangerous passages" concerning freedom were deleted. 1939, Spain: Franco purged the libraries of the works of "such disgraceful writers" as Goethe.

Results of Incident: ?

Source: Banned Books 387 B.C. to 1978 A.D., by Anne Lyon Haight, and Chandler B. Grannis, R.R. Bowker Co, 1978.

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