Goethe's Faust, Part 1: New American Version (Google eBook)

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New Directions Publishing, 1957 - Drama - 188 pages
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From the wager between God and Mephistopheles and the pact Faust makes with the latter--that this genial, urbane devil could have his soul if ever Faust became satisfied with any experience or knowledge Mephistopheles could show him--the drama unfolds in scenes that are human and compelling, that hold the reader by their despair and ecstasy, their tender love, passionate desire and wisdom, but also by their gaiety, humor, and irony. As Faust proceeds with his devilish guide, it is his striving for understanding that becomes important, not the attainment, and in fact this is what saves him in the end.

Part I of Faust, which Goethe published twenty-four years before its sequel, deals with Faust's journey through the everyday world and his love for Gretchen. It is made especially memorable in this translation, which Victor Lange, Chairman of the Department of German at Princeton, has called "certainly the most usable and most appealing Faust translation in English. It is modern without losing the dignity of the original and is perhaps the only translation that conveys something of the freshness and poetic vitality of Goethe's own speech."

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the prologue to this is so intriguing. it sounds so real as if faust is actually going to be...corrupted... by Mephistopheles

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Page 12 - ... and puffed itself up to rival us spirits? Where are you, Faust, whose voice I heard, who drove yourself toward me with all your strength?
Page 7 - Now I have studied philosophy, Medicine and the law, And, unfortunately, theology, Wearily sweating, yet I stand now, Poor fool, no wiser than I was before; I am called Master, even Doctor, And for these last ten years have drawn My students, by the nose, up, down, Crosswise and crooked. Now I see That we can know nothing finally. Goethe, Faust, opening lines 3.
Page 9 - ... delight thrills through me from this sudden sight! I feel a young and holy zest for life flow, newly glowing, through my veins and nerves. Was it a god who drew these signs which still my inner ravings, fill my wretched heart with joy, and with mysterious impulses unveil the powers of nature around me? Am I a god? All becomes clearer to me! I see in these pure lines creative nature lying open before my soul. Now I begin to understand what the sage means : The world of spirits is not closed; but...

About the author (1957)

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1749-1832 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born in Frankfurt am Main. He was greatly influenced by his mother, who encouraged his literary aspirations. After troubles at school, he was taught at home and gained an exceptionally wide education. At the age of 16, Goethe began to study law at Leipzig University from 1765 to 1768, and he also studied drawing with Adam Oeser. After a period of illness, he resumed his studies in Strasbourg from 1770 to 1771. Goethe practiced law in Frankfurt for two years and in Wetzlar for a year. He contributed to the Frankfurter Gelehrte Anzeigen from 1772 to 1773, and in 1774 he published his first novel, self-revelatory Die Leiden des Jungen Werthers. In 1775 he was welcomed by Duke Karl August into the small court of Weimar, where he worked in several governmental offices. He was a council member and member of the war commission, director of roads and services, and managed the financial affairs of the court. Goethe was released from day-to-day governmental duties to concentrate on writing, although he was still general supervisor for arts and sciences, and director of the court theatres. In the 1790s Goethe contributed to Friedrich von Schiller ́s journal Die Horen, published Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship, and continued his writings on the ideals of arts and literature in his own journal, Propylšen. The first part of his masterwork, Faust, appeared in 1808, and the second part in 1832. Goethe had worked for most of his life on this drama, and was based on Christopher Marlowe's Faust. From 1791 to 1817, Goethe was the director of the court theatres. He advised Duke Carl August on mining and Jena University, which for a short time attracted the most prominent figures in German philosophy. He edited Kunst and Altertum and Zur Naturwissenschaft. Goethe died in Weimar on March 22, 1832. He and Duke Schiller are buried together, in a mausoleum in the ducal cemetery.

C. F. MacIntyre (1890-1967) said of himself: "My background includes the Scotch Highlands, the bluegrass hills of Kentucky and as much of Europe as I could get at various times." His mother was a student of Latin and Greek but she taught him to read Baudelaire early; his father was more interested in France and Egypt, and he read aloud to his son most of the world's classics. In late adolescence Maclntyre made many canoe and sailing trips, usually alone. He also did about 5000 miles of hoboing. He took a Ph.D. at the University of Marburg, where he fell under the spell of Gothic architecture, plainsong and stained glass. Besides his translation of of Faust, Part I , he published translations of Fifty Selected Poems by Rilke , One Hundred Poems from Les Fleurs du Mal , and Rilke's Life of the Virgin Mary . He was also known for his volumes of original verse, Cafes and Cathedrals , The Black Bulls and Poems .

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