chapter  16
2 Pages

Goethe on Manfred [1817] 1820

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote a review of Manfred in 1817. It was translated for Byron, at his eager request, by R. B. Hoppner, the British Consul at Venice. The following extract from his version is reprinted from LJ, V, 506. Lord Byron was delighted by the favourable opinon of the 'Greatest man of Germany—perhaps of Europe', although he was amused by the 'Florentine husband-killing story' which illustrates the wildly inaccurate accounts of Byron in Europe before the publication of Moore's Life. For a detailed account of Goethe's views on Byron, and Byron's on Von Goethe, see E. M. Butler, Byron and Goethe, 1956. The character of Lord Byron's life and poetry hardly permits a just and equitable appreciation. He has often enough confessed what it is that torments him. He has repeatedly pourtrayed it; and scarcely any one feels compassion for this intolerable suffering, over which he is ever laboriously ruminating.