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Eduard and Charlotte are an aristocratic couple who live a harmonious but idle life in their estate. But the peace of their existence is thrown into chaos when two visitors - Eduard's friend the Captain and Charlotte's passionate young ward Ottilie - provoke unexpected attraction and forbidden love. Taking its title from the principle of elective affinities - the theory that certain chemicals are naturally drawn to one another - this is a penetrating study of marriage and adultery. Inspired by Goethe's own conflicting loyalties as he battled to maintain his relationship with his wife and control his feelings for a younger woman, Elective Affinities is one of the greatest works of the romance era: a rich exploration of love, conflict, and the inescapable force of fate.
- Penguin Books Ltd, February 2005
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