West-Eastern Divan

West-Eastern Divan


Complete, annotated new translation, including Goethe’s ‘Notes and Essays’ & the unpublished poems

by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

translated by Eric Ormsby

Format: Royal Hardback
Published: September 2019
Pages: 640
ISBN: 9781909942240

Buy EPUB | Kindle | PDF


One of the major works of world literature finally available in a new, complete and annotated translation

In 1814, Goethe read the poems of the great fourteenth-century Persian poet Hafiz in a newly published translation by Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall. The book was a revelation. He called Hafiz his twin and was immediately inspired to create a Divan of his own. At the same time he met Marianne von Willemer, with whom he rapidly fell in love. She became the Suleika to his Hatem and a conversation begun with Hafiz blossomed into a duet for two lovers.

In this much awaited new translation, Eric Ormsby’s clear prose is accompanied by explanatory notes of both the verse in German and in English and of Goethe’s own commentary, the ‘Notes and Essays for a Better Understanding of the West-Eastern Divan’.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) was a German poet, novelist, playwright and natural philosopher, considered one of the greatest figures in Western literature. His most famous work is Faust, a poetic drama in two parts.

Eric Ormsby is a distinguished scholar in the field of Islamic Studies. He taught at McGill University where he was Professor and Director of the Institute of Islamic Studies.

‘…This fine volume — which also contains a translation of the essays on Eastern culture that Goethe added to make the poems more intelligible — should make the Divan accessible to many more readers.’ – Ritchie Robertson, TLS

A TLS Book of the Year (2019).

Eric Ormsby on translating Goethe’s West-Eastern Divan:

Additional information


Literature & Poetry


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe






Royal Hardback