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Faust (Bantam Classics) (Part I) (English and German Edition) Paperback – July 1, 1988


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 327 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Books; Reissue edition (July 1, 1988)
  • Language: English, German
  • ISBN-10: 0553213482
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553213485
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #163,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Goethe's masterpiece and perhaps the greatest work in German literature, Faust has made the legendary German alchemist one of the central myths of the Western world. Here indeed is a monumental Faust, an audacious man boldly wagering with the devil, Mephistopheles, that no magic, sensuality, experience or knowledge can lead him to a moment he would wish to last forever. Here, in Faust, Part 1, the tremendous versatility of Goethe's genius creates some of the most beautiful passages in literature. Here too we experience Goethe's characteristic humor, the excitement and eroticism of the witches' Walpurgis Night, and the moving emotion of Gretchen's tragic fate.

This newly revised edition, which offers Peter Salm's wonderfully readable translation as well as the original German on facing pages, brings us Faust in a vital, rhythmic American idiom that carefully preserves the grandeur, integrity, and poetic immediacy of Goethe's words.

From the Inside Flap

Goethe's masterpiece and perhaps the greatest work in German literature, Faust has made the legendary German alchemist one of the central myths of the Western world.  Here indeed is a monumental Faust, an audacious man boldly wagering with the devil, Mephistopheles, that no magic, sensuality, experience or knowledge can lead him to a moment he would wish to last forever.  Here, in Faust, Part 1, the tremendous versatility of Goethe's genius creates some of the most beautiful passages in literature.  Here too we experience Goethe's characteristic humor, the excitement and eroticism of the witches' Walpurgis Night, and the moving emotion of Gretchen's tragic fate.



This newly revised edition, which offers Peter Salm's wonderfully readable translation as well as the original German on facing pages, brings us Faust in a vital, rhythmic American idiom that carefully preserves the grandeur, integrity, and poetic immediacy of Goethe's words.

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Customer Reviews

Ultimately, I am disappointed that the book didn't hold my attention.
WT
I'd guess this is a book that reveals itself more thoroughly in experiences you have after reading it, so reviewing it now may be premature.
Steven W. Cooper
The manner of writing does not tend to be as accurate in its translation or hold one's interest in the same way as some other versions.
N McCARTHY

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Ramon Kranzkuper on December 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
Looking at some reviews by other reviewers, I realized that not everybody has heard of Faust or of Goethe, and I was pretty shocked.
The first part of what I'm saying is about this translation. As Luke so graphically showed in his "Translator's introduction", there are many things that pull at the translator's central agenda: rhyme, metre, primary meaning, nuance, and so on, and the translator has to achieve a balance. Among the translations I've read and from snippets of what I've seen of other translations, Wayne's translation has the most smooth-flowing, elegant rhyme I've seen.
As positives for this translation: The elegance is unparallelled; the wit is sparkling; the metre is almost flawless; the deviation from Goethe is usually acceptable; and there is never, repeat, never, an obvious rhyme-holder word.
As negatives for this translation: There is in a few cases too much of deviation from the original; Wayne at times infuses his own interpretation and character into the work; and the English, though just perfect for, say, a 1950's speaker in England (and those of us used to that kind of word-flow), may be distracting for Americans in 2000.
An example of the latter: "What depth of chanting, whence the blissful tone / That lames my lifting of the fatal glass?" This is pretty representative: if "lames my lifting" does not sound pretentious or obscure, and if the elegance of it strikes you, Wayne's translation is the one for you. If on the other hand, "lames my lifting" sounds straight out of a mediaeval scroll (as I believe is the case with many Americans), then look elsewhere for a translation you will enjoy (read: Luke).
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on December 23, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
This review exclusively addresses the Kindle edition of this Bantam edition of Faust, Part I. I jumped at the chance to order this, since according to the Kindle preview, the text included the line numbers which, in a classic work where line numbers have been assigned, is essential when you need to find a quote, given a reference in some other work. Otherwise, what I saw in the preview was all positive. When I opened the Kindle edition,the conversion from text to electronic text left artifacts, squares, lots of them, on every line of the play, in both the English and the German edition. As an aside, I would point out that the English and German do NOT occur on facing pages in the Kindle rendition. I can't speak for the paper edition, although, like virtually every dual language book in existance, the two languages are commonly found on facing pages.

Amazon, or whomever did this conversion may correct this some time in the future, but you will not be able to detect the problem unless you actually purchase the edition. I would steer clear of this edition, unless you hear that the problem has been corrected. I would also look for a bi-lingual version with two languages on facing pages.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jordan M. Poss VINE VOICE on October 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
This bilingual copy of Goethe's Faust is a very good edition for students of German, poetry, or the play itself. First, it's very affordable, which is always a plus with the student crowd. More importantly, though, the translation is one of the better ones I have read; it uses just the right touch of poetry and high drama in the language to convey the beauty of Goethe's original German. In the end, though, no translation can ever be as good as the original, so read the German text if you can--it can be difficult, at times, but you won't regret it.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Steven W. Cooper on October 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
I'd guess this is a book that reveals itself more thoroughly in experiences you have after reading it, so reviewing it now may be premature. There are many `big ideas' here, but I can't relate to the suggestion from one reviewer that Faust `held his morals under the worst circumstances' It seems more like Faust gave up his morals one by one under the most pleasant circumstances.

The way I read it, Faust didn't fight temptation; but his curiosity was strong enough to allow him to give in to all temptation without becoming trapped. This has significant metaphysical implications when applied to modern Christianity, and certainly follows the psychological maxim that repressed urges exert a controlling influence on us. It's also not hard to imagine Faust's Mephistopheles as the embodiment of Blake's metaphysical Satan, and maybe it's no coincidence both these artists lived in the same period.

I'm so curious to know how this comes across in German - and believe me, some of the contortions necessary to maintain the rhyme in English provided a temptation to learn German that Mephistopheles himself would have been hard-pressed to match. It's obvious Wayne has done a tremendous job, but there are limits to the achievable; and the feel of this poetry is not natural to the touch except in some later sections of part II. Or maybe it just wasn't so distracting after several hundred pages...
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Frikle on September 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a review of the work, not a particular translation (as I couldn't find the translation I read on amazon). Personally, my 4 star rating is a kind of inadequate "average", based on two ratings: 3.5 stars and 5 stars.

The 5 star rating is if you enjoy poetry, especially epic poems. In this case, the story truly does speak through the ages and is timeless. Goethe takes some very old traditions: the main plot is that Mephistopheles (who is the devil) is given permission by God to test the weary scholar Faust by offering to buy his soul in exchange for being Faust's servant. This bears a resemblance to the biblical book of Job and this resemblance continues throughout part 1 as it touches on many philsophical parts of existence.

The story of Faust also has a tradition pre-dating Goethe. In Goethe's work, the story hinges around the initial attempts by Mephistopheles to appease Faust (whereupon he can claim his soul), Faust's affair with Margaret (aka Gretchen) and finally the descent into the chaos that could only have been expected when dealing with Satan. Although people tend to read too much into the work (it has many mundane things as well as profound ones), it probably comes from the fact that Goethe captures many aspects of humanity, desire and obsession so well - so even the most "ordinary" reference is profound.

The 3 star rating is for those who find poetry (and especially epic poetry) difficult. This is the category I fell in. I found all of the above reflections to be true - but they were hard to get to. I believe that the original German is sublime, but it is almost certainly difficult - as would be most translations. Goethe used a whole host of metres and poetic styles so the difficulty is inherent. However, if you bring your concentration and read slowly, it will still be a memorable and enjoyable work.

Hope my powers of concentration improve when I decide to read part 2!
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