Die Leiden des jungen Werthers (The Sorrows of Young Werther) is a novel consisting for the most part of letters (briefroman or epistolary novel) written by a hopelessly romantic young man named Werther to his friend Wilhelm. These letters detail Werther's doomed love for the beautiful Charlotte, and include profound and beautiful meditations on love, beauty, nature, philosophy, art, and religion.
Die Leiden des jungen Werthers was an important novel (one of the finest examples) of the Sturm und Drang (1760s to 1780s) period in German literature, and influenced the later Romantic literary movement. Goethe achieved almost instantaneous celebrity status with the novel.
The novel created some controversy as an appreciable number of impressionable young readers identified with Werther and committed suicide right after its publication.