In his compendious A Full Inquiry into the Subject of Suicide (1790), Charles Moore sets out to ‘free this island from the imputation under which it has so long laboured, of producing more self-murder than any other nation’.2 Citing the high suicide rate of Geneva as evidence that other countries are at least as suicidal as England, Moore nonetheless acknowledges that his compatriots are exceedingly prone to suicide and have ‘a dreadful propensity to its commission’.3 For Moore and other social critics concerned by the stigma of the English Malady, the publication of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Die Leiden des jungen Werther (Th e Suff erings [or Sorrows] of Young Werther) in 1774 must have seemed fortuitous indeed. Not only was the German novel inordinately preoccupied with suicide but its narrative also concluded with its hero’s self-destruction. A bourgeois youth of an artistic temperament condemned to the lot of a bureaucrat, Werther ees a romantic attachment only to discover in the obscure village of his refuge a woman whom he nds irresistible. However, much to his despair, Werther discovers that Charlotte (or Lotte, as he refers to her), the unfortunate object of his attraction, is unavailable, owing to her engagement and, ultimately, her marriage to another man. His sorrows come to an end when Werther acts upon the death wish he has articulated throughout the narrative. However, Werther goes on to experience an a erlife in the eighteenth-century popular imagination, becoming a kind of ‘cult hero’ to the youth of Europe.