본문 바로가기
  • Home

Desires, Sorrows or Death of Love - Goethe and Massenet’s Werther -

  • Journal of Humanities
  • 2024, (93), pp.183-215
  • DOI : 10.31310/HUM.093.06
  • Publisher : Institute for Humanities
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Received : March 30, 2024
  • Accepted : April 22, 2024
  • Published : May 31, 2024

E-Jeong Hong 1

1성균관대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper examines how Goethe’s novel The Sorrows of Young Werther in the 18th century was accepted and transformed into the opera Werther by composer Massenet in the late 19th century. Massenet accepted and adapted Goethe’s novel, keeping in mind the time difference between the 18th and 19th centuries, the cultural difference between Germany and France, and the difference of genres between novels and operas. He embodied the changes in human self-understanding according to the changes of the times on stage. Goethe’s male protagonist, Werther, is a melancholic person who clearly shows resistance to and passion for civil society, but in Massenet’s Werther, however, these aspects are not only largely weakened b u t also seem to deviate from the position of the main character. Rather, Massenet’s opera seems to put Charlotte at the forefront when compared with Werther. Goethe’s Lotte contains a typical Rousseauian female image of the 18th century and focuses on family ‘duties’ rather than individual choices in terms of love and marriage, but Massenet’s heroine Charlotte is reborn as a character who places more importance on her ‘freedom’ and clashes with social norms and customs. In this context, this paper examines the creation process and transformation process of Massenet’s Werther, and then explores human self-understanding and temporal transformation presented in the semantic and thematic continuity and transformation.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.