Customer Reviews for

Faust

Average Rating 3.5
( 39 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

A pleasure to read.

Goethe¿s ¿Faust¿ is arguably the most important milestone in Romantic literature. Taking the famous medieval legend of Dr. Faustus and his pact with the devil, Goethe adapted the tale of old, and transformed it into a great love story, and a probing poetical tract on t...
Goethe¿s ¿Faust¿ is arguably the most important milestone in Romantic literature. Taking the famous medieval legend of Dr. Faustus and his pact with the devil, Goethe adapted the tale of old, and transformed it into a great love story, and a probing poetical tract on the nature of good and evil, salvation and damnation, failing and striving, the innate search for truth and lasting fulfilment.

Part One (first published 1808) features Faust¿s disgust with his life and the world at large, and attempting to unite with the Spirit of creation and soar above the petty corporality of earth, the proud old scholar is dashed to the ground, for he must first work his salvation out on earth by the sweat of his brow before he can be admitted into the presence of the Deity. In desperation, Faust tries to commit suicide, but then makes a wager with the devil: if Mephistopheles can show him that one moment of bliss he is searching for and succeeds in persuading him to cease all his human striving for that one moment, then his soul is forfeit. The devil agrees to the wager, grants Faust the gift of youth, and the adventures begin. He meets young Margareta and falls in love, a romance that leads to tragedy for the innocent maiden.

David Luke¿s award-winning translation is one of the best I have read. While the rhythms do jar on occasion, this does not take away from the `flow¿ of this rendition. There will always be discrepancies when a text is taken out of its original language in any case, so it is more constructive to concentrate on the `readability¿, this translation succeeds in portraying the mood of Goethe¿s text and the personality of his vibrant characters. In some instances, it may be argued the translation is too modern, for example, lines [2065-2070] when Mephistopheles prepares his magic flying cloak for their journey to a new life of youthful debauchery:

Mephistopheles:
¿One merely spreads one¿s cloak¿you¿ll find
It give us aerial elevation.
Though, please, this bold step for mankind,
Imposes luggage-limitation.
I¿ll set the burners going, heat some air, and lo!
We travel light, the earth lies far below.¿

Did Neil Armstrong land on the moon in Goethe¿s time? Of course not, but Luke¿s witty lines humorously displays Mephistopheles¿ rakish personality and has become one of my personal favourites in this English edition.

The book features an informative introduction on Goethe¿s biography and the composition of Part One and includes a graph displaying how he edited and added to the scenes until he arrived at the text we know today.
There is also a select bibliography, a general chronology of Goethe¿s life and career, and helpful explanatory endnotes for those who wish to study the details of the text more thoroughly. For ¿Urfaust¿ scholars, Luke highlights the lines that were part of Goethe¿s early draft.

E.A. Bucchianeri, author of ¿Faust: My Soul be Damned for the World¿

posted by EA-Bucchianeri on November 27, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Warning--this is not the complete Faust as advertised. Only part

Warning--this is not the complete Faust as advertised. Only part one.

posted by 6033574 on August 31, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2012

    Warning--this is not the complete Faust as advertised. Only part

    Warning--this is not the complete Faust as advertised. Only part one.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 27, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    A pleasure to read.

    Goethe¿s ¿Faust¿ is arguably the most important milestone in Romantic literature. Taking the famous medieval legend of Dr. Faustus and his pact with the devil, Goethe adapted the tale of old, and transformed it into a great love story, and a probing poetical tract on the nature of good and evil, salvation and damnation, failing and striving, the innate search for truth and lasting fulfilment.<BR/><BR/>Part One (first published 1808) features Faust¿s disgust with his life and the world at large, and attempting to unite with the Spirit of creation and soar above the petty corporality of earth, the proud old scholar is dashed to the ground, for he must first work his salvation out on earth by the sweat of his brow before he can be admitted into the presence of the Deity. In desperation, Faust tries to commit suicide, but then makes a wager with the devil: if Mephistopheles can show him that one moment of bliss he is searching for and succeeds in persuading him to cease all his human striving for that one moment, then his soul is forfeit. The devil agrees to the wager, grants Faust the gift of youth, and the adventures begin. He meets young Margareta and falls in love, a romance that leads to tragedy for the innocent maiden.<BR/><BR/>David Luke¿s award-winning translation is one of the best I have read. While the rhythms do jar on occasion, this does not take away from the `flow¿ of this rendition. There will always be discrepancies when a text is taken out of its original language in any case, so it is more constructive to concentrate on the `readability¿, this translation succeeds in portraying the mood of Goethe¿s text and the personality of his vibrant characters. In some instances, it may be argued the translation is too modern, for example, lines [2065-2070] when Mephistopheles prepares his magic flying cloak for their journey to a new life of youthful debauchery:<BR/><BR/>Mephistopheles:<BR/>¿One merely spreads one¿s cloak¿you¿ll find<BR/>It give us aerial elevation.<BR/>Though, please, this bold step for mankind,<BR/>Imposes luggage-limitation.<BR/>I¿ll set the burners going, heat some air, and lo!<BR/>We travel light, the earth lies far below.¿<BR/><BR/>Did Neil Armstrong land on the moon in Goethe¿s time? Of course not, but Luke¿s witty lines humorously displays Mephistopheles¿ rakish personality and has become one of my personal favourites in this English edition.<BR/><BR/>The book features an informative introduction on Goethe¿s biography and the composition of Part One and includes a graph displaying how he edited and added to the scenes until he arrived at the text we know today.<BR/>There is also a select bibliography, a general chronology of Goethe¿s life and career, and helpful explanatory endnotes for those who wish to study the details of the text more thoroughly. For ¿Urfaust¿ scholars, Luke highlights the lines that were part of Goethe¿s early draft.<BR/><BR/>E.A. Bucchianeri, author of ¿Faust: My Soul be Damned for the World¿

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2014

    Genius for its time. It is no wonder that Mellville cites him in

    Genius for its time. It is no wonder that Mellville cites him in his work.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2002

    Faust is truly a book of its time

    I think that 'Faust' is a excellent book. It displays the remmicks of good and evil and respresents of how one's soul is a very important source of who one is. Goeth has really captured the true essence of the human soul.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2013

    Cool

    Very cool

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2013

    Some room for improvement

    Line numbers would be nice, I'm having to take them from a physical copy I have by me. Also, no section breaks are given, making a return to interesting sections difficult. Under the content menu , no chapters for an easy connection can be found. If you know what you are looking for in the play, have a physical copy beside you, or are fluent enough in German to simply read it without stopping,this is for you. For $0.99,this is a pretty good value.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2006

    Modern Faust

    ¿Me love you long time.¿ ¿He gave him the shoe out the door.¿ Translation of foreign writing into English has always been the bane of readers everywhere. The play Faust is no exception there have been many attempts to translate the figurative meaning of Van Goethe¿s German script into an English script. Carl Mueller¿s translation is just one of many however it distinguishes itself by offering a modern translation of Faust that loses little of the original flavor while making the text more accessible and readable to a contemporary audience. Faust has always traditionally revolved around the quest of a scientist to find the true meaning of life. To fulfill this end, he summons the devil and promises the devil his soul if the devil can deliver the apex of ecstasy to him. Part I of Faust tells the story of the devil¿s attempts to seduce Faust with cheap thrills, but ends in tragedy as Faust loses the woman he desires. What Mueller has done is rewrite the script into a more modern style, using more contemporary wording and discarding the rhyming aspect in order to make the text easier to interpret. Yet the weight of most scenes carries through, especially the cathedral scene There, Gretchen makes her confession in the church with the devil tormenting her, while the Latin hymn Dies Irae sounds in the background. While not a edition for the hardcore, Mueller¿s translation of Faust presents a more accessible text to both casual readers and theatre production through the modern text and the slight cuts in certain lines. It is a perfect edition for both public libraries and all universities to offer an excellent introduction to one of the greatest works in history.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2006

    Powerful rendition of a classical theme intimate to the minds of all societies since the dawn of civilization

    While Goethe's Faust Part One is fundamentally a reiterated plot, it conveys the moral of the legend of Faust most effectively by involving fantastic descriptions and inventive language that make the tale memorable. In the scene Walpurgis Night's Dream, for example, Goethe explores the use of quotes that appear superficially disconnected, but when taken in context of the individuals that speak them express the central theme of the Faust epic. Moreover this chaotic structure highlights the context of Walpurgis Night itself and underscores the significance of the night with respect to Faust's predicament. Goethe uses a similar structure in the beginning of the scene Outside the Town Gate in a manner that also conveys the atmosphere of the scene with an ingenuity that is well remembered. The varied conversations between Faust and Mephistopheles perhaps most powerful exhibits the command of language Goethe possesses to invoke in the reader's mind the complex relationship between the protagonist and the antagonist. The dialogue is full of classical allusions, each of which, when analyzed and understood, molds the reader's understanding of the relationship with convincing efficacy. The fact that Faust is a play, thus containing minimal narration and moving the plot largely through dialogue, is a testament to the adeptness with which Goethe wields language.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2006

    Faust: A Review of our Society?

    A man wagering his soul for happiness, a bet between God and the devil, and a judgement of what all humanity stands for, what more is there to ask from a classical literary play? Goethe¿s Faust: der Tragödie erster Teil, translated to be Faust: Part One in English from German, is often considered the best German classical work, and rightfully so. The careful blend of details, emotions, curiosity, and controversial themes allows for plentiful interpretations and emotional involvement of the reader. The complete work of Faust is very complex, and open to many literary translations. However, the first part sets the scene for tragedy. Goethe focuses on the religious and moral dilemmas of the main character, Faust, who debarks from his religious goal of seeking divine knowledge into a wager with the Devil, Mephistopheles. Using a connection between the Devil, God, and God¿s trust in mankind, Goethe is able to evoke religious emotions from the readers and use it to reinforce his themes. In addition to religious themes, Goethe throws in many moral twists and turns to keep the reader engaged and interested. An example of this is how Faust damns his love, Gretchen, to a life of poverty and sin by using the Devil to help him gain her acceptance. Faust is a sophisticated play that mirrors many of the problems that humanity has had, as well as the wishes of people. What would one do if they could get anything they wanted? Would one ever run out of things they desired? This play requires a great amount of thought and personal interpretation to understand fully. Goethe has done an excellent job in creating this literary work, and anyone who enjoys deep reading and thinking should look into researching and reading this play.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2003

    mephisto should have waited...faust would have come to him eventually

    faust is not a hero...he is self serving and almost sub-human. mephistopheles should have selected better prey for faust was destined to go to the devil anyway...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted December 24, 2009

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