(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

“Wanderer’s Night Song” is representative of the poems written by the young Goethe at the height of his Storm and Stress years. It is indicative of his love of nature and his view of nature as the creator of all things. “Wanderer’s Night Song” exemplifies Goethe’s pantheistic ideas and sentiments, which he developed out of his study of the seventeenth century Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza and the eighteenth century French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The poem is an appeal to nature to allow the sweet freedom (symbolic of death) to enter the chest, suggesting the stopping of the heartbeat. This poem, like “The Erlking” and The Sorrows of Young Werther, yearns for freedom from emotional agonies, a freedom attainable only by crossing the final threshold of physical existence.

Wanderer's Night Song Bibliography

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Bennett, Benjamin. Goethe’s Theory of Poetry. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1986.

Bloom, Harold, ed. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2003.

Brown, Jane. Goethe’s “Faust”: The German Tragedy. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1986.

Dye, Ellis. Love and Death in Goethe: One and Double. Rochester, N.Y.: Camden House, 2004.

Fiedler, Hermann G. Textual Studies of Goethe’s “Faust.” Oxford, England: Basil Blackwell, 1946.

Lange, Victor, ed. Goethe: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1968.

Robertson, John G. The Life and Work of Goethe, 1749-1832. 1932. Reprint. Freeport, N.Y.: Books for Libraries, 1971.

Rowland, Herbert, ed. Goethe, Chaos, and Complexity. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2001.

Swales, Martin, and Erika Swales. Reading Goethe: A Critical Introduction to the Literary Work. Rochester, N.Y.: Camden House, 2002.