Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), considered by some to be the greatest German writer, employed a number of sophisticated strategies in his dealings with publishers. None of them is as intriguing as the one appearing in Goethe's letter, dated January 16, 1797, to the publisher Vieweg (1761-1835): I am inclined to offer Mr. Vieweg from Berlin an epic poem, Hermann and Dorothea, which will have approximately 2000 hexameters. ...Concerning the royalty we will proceed as follows: I will hand over to Mr. Counsel Böttinger a sealed note which contains my demand, and I wait for what Mr. Vieweg will suggest to offer for my work. If his offer is lower than my demand, then I take my note back, unopened, and the negotiation is broken. If, however, his offer is highher, then I will not ask for more than is written in the note to be opened by Mr. Böttinger.
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|Date of creation:||01 Jan 1997|
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