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Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship


Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship


Upon its publication in 1796, Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship* gained an instant following. Goethe's sensitive exploration of the mind, moral, and sexual education of a young artist at odds with society has had a tremendous influence on the history of the German novel.

Told as a succession of vignettes about the life of a young man in love, we follow young Wilhelm from his life as a theater-obsessed young bourgeois through his adventures and misadventures with the stage, and finally to his entry into German society and his forthcoming marriage.

Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship has been recognized as Goethe’s fullest exploration of the problem that had plagued Young Werther: namely how to reconcile an intensely powerful emotional life with life’s mundane practicalities.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE (1749–1832) was a German writer and statesman. A literary celebrity by the age of 25 following the success of his first novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther, followed by Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship his body of work includes epic and lyric poetry written in a variety of styles; prose and verse dramas; an autobiography and four novels. In addition, numerous literary and scientific fragments, more than 10,000 letters, and nearly 3,000 drawings by him still exist.

* “Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship is one of the four greatest novels ever written.”

—Arthur Schopenhauer


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