String to Morocco

12. Cover design: decoration

This edition of Goethe’s The Sorrows of Werther (Chiswick: Whittingham, 1823) is bound in full calf and personalized with an emblem on the cover, an intricate design on the spine, and a book-plate with a coat-of-arms on the inside front cover. Given the nature of the story, it might be assumed that the addition of a custom binding and unique cover resulted from memorable reading experiences and a personal relationship with the work. However, it was also a popular work, in vogue for some time, and so it may have been fashionable to have this controversial foreign novel attractively bound, whether it accompanied the owner on solitary walks in the moonlight or rested easily on a visible shelf at home.