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54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most elegant among the translations I've read
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,...
Published on December 19, 2000 by Ramon Kranzkuper

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid this 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...
Published on December 23, 2011 by B. Marold


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54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most elegant among the translations I've read, December 19, 2000
By 
This review is from: Faust, Part 1 (Pt.1) (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).
Another, more involved example is in the final lines of Faust II: Wayne translates "Das unbeschreibliche / Hier ists getan" as "Here the ineffable / Wins life through love". Now that, of course is hardly a translation; but it fits in with Wayne's scheme of things - and that IS the point; Wayne has his "scheme of things", which you may or may not like.
The second part of what I'm writing is about Faust itself, the Masterwork: as any German will tell you, Faust is one of the centrepieces of literature, and it is worthwhile learning German JUST to read Faust. Each person comes away from "Faust" having found that that he/she was looking for. Every person is reflected in Faust; "Faust" is the ultimate story of Man. What tempts us, what keeps us, what draws us on, what tears us, what defines us, what lies in store for us - it is all there. "Faust" is a journey everyone should undertake. There is nothing controversial here - no "God", no "Hellfire", nothing but Goethe's straightforward but not blunt, sensitive but not compromised, philosophical but not dreamy, analysis of the human situation. "Faust" is the Master thinker Goethe's sincere attempt at looking at it all; and it does not fall visibly short of the task.
Part I should be read by everyone; Part II is not strictly a sequel, but in many ways is, as Wayne shows in his Introduction. Part II requires some knowledge of Greek Mythology; and does in many ways "complete the story". Only, it goes way beyond that.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid this Kindle Edition, December 23, 2011
This review is from: Faust: Part I (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Great edition of a great play, October 1, 2006
By 
Jordan M. Poss (South Carolina, United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Faust (Bantam Classics) (Part I) (English and German Edition) (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Mephistopheles, master of the one-liner, October 6, 2006
This review is from: Faust, Part 1 (Pt.1) (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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic classic, January 18, 2007
This review is from: Faust (Bantam Classics) (Part I) (English and German Edition) (Paperback)
This is truely a classic and brings into focus the fickleness of the human nature. The language is easily understandable butstill retains it classic feel. I enjoyed reading it for this simplicity. Definately one of my favourite books.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Either 3 or 5 stars depending on who you are, September 23, 2004
This review is from: Faust (Bantam Classics) (Part I) (English and German Edition) (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I don't like this version, September 22, 2013
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This review is from: Faust (Bantam Classics) (Part I) (English and German Edition) (Paperback)
Overall, this version is just ok. The translator focuses more on getting a very direct translation instead of embracing the 'feel' of Goethe's writing style. The original version of Faust is written a bit like Dante's Inferno with rhythmic & rhyming lines, but this English translation of Faust completely ignores that. This book does have the German version too and that is helpful to compare to the translation. I got this to replace an older version of Faust that I lost. The way it was translated was only reason I gave it 3 stars. It's still a good book to read though.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have ever read., June 6, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Faust, Part 1 (Pt.1) (Paperback)
I never knew how enjoyable reading plays could be until I read Part I of FAUST. I enjoyed it much more than The Odyssey and Romeo and Juliet. It has an interesting plot and several lines that I will never forget. It also shows how able a man is to hold his morals under the worst circumstances. Buy the Philip Wayne translation. He translated the work without using any Old English, makes it very easy to understand by the word order, and most of all makes great rhymes.
MEPHISTO:I would have the devil take me instantly, but I myself am he.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love the translation, February 21, 2013
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This review is from: Faust: Part I (Kindle Edition)
I don't speak German so I disclaim any title of authority regarding this translation. Be that as it may, I appreciate a non-rhyming version of Faust in order to try to understand what Goethe really wanted to say. So much humor and irony get through this translation and I finally feel that the greatest work of Western literature is now accessible to me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The two languages works wonderfully, December 23, 2012
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This review is from: Faust: Part I (Kindle Edition)
I'm mainly reacting to another comment. Certainly I'm not the one to write comments on a master piece like this. I don't really know German, and hardly know English, so I cannot really judge the translation. However, I may say the translation sounds great and can be read fluently, even by somebody who doesn't master the language. The switch between the two languages as it isne on the Kindle version (read on tablet or PC) is very easy, and among the different two-languages editions I have, this edition gives the best solution.
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Faust (Bantam Classics) (Part I) (English and German Edition)
Faust (Bantam Classics) (Part I) (English and German Edition) by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Paperback - August 1, 1988)
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