Man of Fifty, The
Arriving at the family manor, the major scarcely recognises his tall and elegant niece as she rushes to greet him. Surprise soon turns to satisfaction as he learns that she has confessed to being in love with him – and he a fifty-year-old man! Instantly aware of his ageing appearance, and of the youthful looks of those around him, he determines to try every lotion and tincture, pomade and balsam to transform himself into a suitable lover for a young girl. But before he can enjoy his new-found joie de vivre, he must first make his confession to his son, for whom his niece was originally promised.
So begins Goethe’s wicked comedy of family obligations, misplaced affections, and the inexorable advancement of time. Originally published as part of Goethe’s ambitious Wilhelm Meister’s Travels, The Man of Fifty is a delightful tale of love and of growing old gracefully.
About the foreword writer:
Critic and novelist A.S. Byatt is the author of a number of highly acclaimed works, including the Booker Prize winning Possession.
‘…under the comedy is a chill sense of the inexorable nature of human ageing, of the meaning of being fifty’
– A.S. Byatt