A Man in Love
Ein liebender Mann

martin walser ein liebender mann
February 2008 / 288pp

The Goethe-Institut supported the English translation of this book.

Get information on the English version here .


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is 73 years old, and has fallen in love with 19-year-old Ulrike von Levetzow, his last affair and his great romantic defeat. Starting in the resort of Marienbad and ending at Goethe’s home in Weimar, Ein Liebender Mann captures the rise and fall of the love affair between the ageing poet and the young countess, ending in a refused offer of marriage. It is also the story of the poetry that came out of the affair.

Intensely meditative and full of close personal detail, Walser’s novel is impressive in its depiction of Goethe’s feelings. The poet’s restless mental energy, which never deserted him throughout his life, comes up sharply against proofs of his physical decline, as when he stumbles and falls on a path as he is out walking with Ulrike and feels an unspoken acknowledgement, physically though not mentally, of the age gap of over fifty years between them.

There is much to like about Ein liebender Mann, and Walser’s sheer skill as a writer is evident. A reader with some knowledge of Goethe’s work would glean particular pleasure from this novel, with its respectful echoes of Young Werther and the beautiful late poetry.

A fine modern writer in penetrating and thoughtful mood.

press quotes

‘This is one of Walser’s most beautiful novels.’– Die Zeit

‘Remarkable in its tenderness and empathy.’– Neue Zürcher Zeitung

about the author

Martin Walser was born in 1927 in Wasserburg and lives in Überlingen near Lake Constance. He has received numerous awards for his literary work, including the 1981 Georg Büchner Prize and the 1998 Peace Prize of the German Book Trade. He has also been awarded the order Pour le Mérite and been named an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

rights information

Translation rights available from:
Rowohlt Verlag GmbH
Hamburger Strasse 17
21465 Reinbek , Germany
Tel: +49 40 72 72-257
Email: carolin.kettmann@rowohlt.de
Contact: Carolin Kettmann

Rowohlt Verlag was founded by Ernst Rowohlt in 1908. This publishing house with its various divisions – Rowohlt Verlag, Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag, Wunderlich Verlag, Kindler Verlag and Rowohlt. Berlin Verlag – is part of the Holtzbrinck group. Rowohlt publishes literary fiction, non-fiction and children’s books. Authors include Wolfgang Borchert, Joachim Fest, Elfriede Jelinek, Daniel Kehlmann, Imre Kertész, Ildikó von Kürthy, Klaus and Erika Mann, Robert Musil, Peter Schneider, Martin Walser and many others. This year Rowohlt celebrates its 100th anniversary. See article on pages 26-27.

translation assistance

The Goethe-Institut supported the English translation of this book.

Get information on the English version here .

share this recommendation

Share this on twitter, facebook or via mail.

All recommendations from Spring 2008