Inscribed copy

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von. Die Leiden des jungen Werther. Neue Ausgabe, von dem Dichter selbst eingeleitet.

Leipzig, Weygandsche Buchhandlung, 1825 [but: 1824].

(12), 272 pp. Contemporary lilac boards gilt, spine gilt with green lettering-piece, gilt edges to the inscription leaf. Stored in black straight-gained morocco slipcase. Small 8vo.


Charming copy, inscribed by the author to Baron Anstätten: "Dem Scharf- und Tiefblick eines vollendeten Welt- und Geschäftsmannes vertraut die Schilderung jugendlich-ungeregelten Bestrebens Goethe. Weimar am 10. Nov. 1824" ("To the perspicacity and sagacity of a consummate man of the world as well as of business, this account of youthful, disorderly aspiration is entrusted by Goethe. Weimar, 10. Nov. 1824").

Baron Anstätten served as Russian envoy in Frankfurt; the attribution, which is accepted by the Stiftung Weimarer Klassik, is based on Goethe's diaries, in which he notes having inscribed this volume "für Herrn von Anstätten" (WA Ill 9, 294,19f.) on that day.

A very pretty edition, actually published in 1824 but dated 1825 to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1775 second edition. Containing Goethe's portrait by Jagemann, this is also the first edition to include Goethe's poem to Werther, "Noch einmal wagst du".

The autograph inscription leaf with three gilt edges is carefully mounted on a tab - undoubtedly by Goethe himself, as the appealing binding clearly suggests this was a presentation copy.

Inscribed presentations of Goethe's literary works are very rare: apart from a volume of poetry, auctioned in 1990, this is the only known example in the trade of the last decades.


1) Reiss & Sohn, sale 83 (2002), 958.

2) Joint catalogue Inlibris, Köstler, Kotte (2003), 41.

3) UK private collection.


Slipcase somewhat rubbed and chafed; first four leaves somewhat browned and lightly stained due to paper stock, otherwise perfectly preserved.


Goedeke IV/3, 164. Hagen 100. Kippenberg 1, Nr. 3043/44. Hirzel A 391. Speck 811. This copy: Goethe Repertorlum 1764-1832, WA-Nr. 39008a+ ("present whereabouts unknown").