“The novel is meticulously constructed. It depicts a social sphere in which everyone is unfailingly polite and tolerant and where unconscious motivations of an almost demonic energy hold sway. The characteristic feature of the core group of four is the thoroughgoing self-delusion in which they live. The aristocracy appears here in a frozen state, a historical dead-end devoid of purpose and creativity. If I were to compare Elective Affinities with the work of another novelist, I would choose Henry James. James portrays a society that exists in the mode of sophisticated conversation, beneath which currents of desire, resentment, and anxiety flow.” Read more...
The Best Goethe Books
David E. Wellbery,