It is 2009, so that means it is the 200th anniversary of the publication of Goethe's novel Wahlverwandschaften. Expect plenty of events to commemorate the anniversary. Klassik Stiftung Weimar will hold readings of the novel in October, in the Festsaal of the Stadtschloss in Weimar, by actors Jutta Lampe and Hanns Zischler and theater director Peter Stein. How cool is that? For those who can't make the trip to Germany (and that will probably include me), there are some good movie versions. I was in Germany in 1999 (on the 250th anniversary of Goethe's birth!) and was able to see many films based on Goethe novels.
One of the best versions of Elective Affinities is Italian, by the team of Paolo and Victor Taviani. It stars Isabelle Huppert as Charlotte. Huppert has been my least favored actress of all time, but she is excellent at conveying Charlotte's coldness. She was also excellent as the horrible woman at the center of Elfriede Jelinek's Piano Teacher: that role fit Huppert to a "T." Come to think of it, Huppert even looks like Jelinek. That's an affinity for you.
Best of all, however, is the novel itself. I plan to read deeply in Elective Affinities this year. More on that later.
The wonderful painting at the top of this post, Elective Affinities (click to enlarge) is by a Colombian artist, Nohra Barros.