Wilhelm Meister novels seem pretty equal in my eyes in terms of quality, now that I've read both of them. Goethe's prose style is remarkably dry, for all ingenious attributes of these works, I was still at times swearing in my mind that I never want to read the word "pleasant" ever again. It was occurring way too much. Both novels also have outrageous coincidences which makes coincidences in Dickens novels seem natural. I liked the touch of cleverness how Wilhelm found out about Mariane's "affair" in Apprenticeship as well as the foreshadowing how Felix was going to be saved from being poisoned. The characterization is one of the strengths of these works and also at times astonishing psychological insight regarding character development. Apprenticeship was after all, one of the first Bildungsroman. Character names were a bit weird, though. Journeyman years also is hardly a novel in the usual sense: more like a collection of novellas held together by loose plot threads. Also I wonder what the hell was in that casket? Why did Goethe keep it a secret?
Despite my reservations regarding Goethe's prose style I did enjoy it a lot and now I am reading "Conversations of German refugees". I have read the fairy tale "Green snake and the beautiful lily" that concludes the work, separately from "Conversations" in finnish. For a long time I had no idea whatsoever about it being part of the Conversations, thought of it as a stand-alone work. So now it is extremely fascinating to have possibly a completely different interpretation of the fairy tale, coloured by it's unity with Conversations. Also the fact that now I am reading it in english may help with the different approach.