Books play a shifting role for Werther. When he is happy (that is, when he is with Lotte), he ignores them utterly. When he is sad, he turns to them for solace. Either way, he recognizes that he should be reading them and better attending to his studies, but he finds it difficult to do so in the face of his feelings. At the end of their friendship, Werther reads extensively to Lotte from his own translations of Ossian, and the pair descend into a fit of tears. Previously, Werther had abandoned books in Lotte’s presence. That he now picks them up again with her symbolizes that he will no longer find happiness through his love for Lotte.
Books Quotes in The Sorrows of Young Werther
When I was younger there was nothing I loved better than novels. God knows how good it felt to be able to sit in some corner on a Sunday and share with my whole heart in Miss Jenny's happiness and sorrows. Nor do I deny that that kind of writing still has its charms for me. But since I so rarely come by a book, it has to be one that is quite to my taste. And I like that author best who shows me my own world, conditions such as I live in myself and a story that can engage my interest and heart as much as my own domestic life does.