Faust: Ein Mythos und Seine Bearbeitungen

Faust: Ein Mythos und Seine Bearbeitungen

3.8 38
by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
     
 

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A classic of world literature, Goethe's Faust has been neglected by English-speaking readers of the twentieth century. One reason for this is that there has been no readable English version of Goethe's philosophical and poetic drama, one that captures its life, satire, irony, humor, and tragedy. Now an award-winning translator and critic has supplied such a…  See more details below

Overview

A classic of world literature, Goethe's Faust has been neglected by English-speaking readers of the twentieth century. One reason for this is that there has been no readable English version of Goethe's philosophical and poetic drama, one that captures its life, satire, irony, humor, and tragedy. Now an award-winning translator and critic has supplied such a translation; it will enchant and enlighten students and general readers alike. Martin Greenberg re-creates not only the varied meter and rhyme of Faust but also its diverse tones and styles - dramatic and lyrical, reflective and farcical, pathetic and coarse, colloquial and soaring. His rendition of Faust is the first faithful, readable, and elegantly written translation of Goethe's masterpiece available in English. Complete with preface and notes, it offers as does none other the range and power of the original in a modern idiom.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This is a facsimile of the original 1833 English translation of Goethe's epic. For serious literature collections only.
Ray Olson
One of the Western European classics least appreciated by English-speaking readers gets another chance in an adroit new translation. Furthermore, in his introduction translator Greenberg seeks to rescue the play from the German nationalism that made its protagonist far more heroic than Greenberg believes Goethe intended. Greenberg says Faust is a "loser" whose "behavior at crucial junctures is small, indeed ignominious." In the first part of the play, Faust indeed appears a pretty sorry character, using the devil Mephistopheles merely to help him seduce and abandon the beautiful Gretchen. Of course, besides this tragic action, there's a vaudevillian variety of stuff in "Faust"'s first part that has long rubbed English-speaking readers, used to their own language's purer classics, the wrong way. Greenberg seeks approbation for "Faust"'s variousness by also reflecting its metrical, hence tonal, variety more accurately than have previous translators. To his credit, he's metrically very competent; however, many may find his off-rhymes and nonrhymes jarringly contemporary and flavorless. Still, this may be the most readable, most performable American translation of Goethe's most vaunted masterpiece.
From the Publisher

"Luke demonstrates a rare genius in his translation: he maintains essential meaning, retains meter, and recreates rhyme.... As far as his introduction is concerned, it is a marvel of lucid exposition."--The German Quarterly

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780460003353
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
08/28/1954
Product dimensions:
20.00(w) x 20.00(h) x 20.00(d)

Meet the Author

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) perhaps comes as close as any man to deserving the title of universal genius. Poet, dramatist, critic, scientist, administrator and novelist, he was born at Frankfurt-am-Main in 1749, the son of well-to-do parents with intellectual interests; and he studied at the University of Leipzig and at Strassburg, where he wrote a play which initiated the important Sturm und Drang movement. During the next five years he practiced law in Frankfurt and wrote The Sorrows of Young Werther, a remarkable novel autobiographical of one side of Goethe's nature. In 1775 he went to visit the court of the young Duke of Weimar, and, except for an extended journey to Italy a decade later, stayed there the rest of his life, filling at one time or another all the major posts in the Weimar government. Here a close friendship with Schiller developed, and here he conducted important scientific experiments and published a steady stream of books of the highest order and in many different forms. He became the director of the Weimar Theatre in 1791 and made it the most famous in Europe. His life held a number of ardent loves, which he celebrated in lyrics that are compared to Shakespeare's, and in 1806 he married Christiane Vulpius whom he had loved for many years. In later life Goethe became a generous patron of younger writers, including Byron and Carlyle. In 1790 he published the first version of his life work as Faust, a Fragment, but Part I of the completed Faust did not appear until 1808, while Part II was finished and published only a few months before Goethe's death in 1832.

Cyrus Hamlin is Chairman of the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at Yale University.

Walter Arndt is Sherman Fairchild Professor in the Humanties, Emeritus, at Dartmouth College. His translation of Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin was awarded the Bollingen Prize.

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Faust 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Warning--this is not the complete Faust as advertised. Only part one.
EA-Bucchianeri More than 1 year ago
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¿
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Genius for its time. It is no wonder that Mellville cites him in his work.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was disappointed in my purchase. Instead I bought a new physical copy with the Harry Clarke artwork which was the only good thing about this version.
lizzyforshizzy More than 1 year ago
A great journey-of-the-soul type book (even if you're an atheist). Just a wonderful human argument which any and all humans experience at one time or another.
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Very cool
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