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Faust I & II (Goethe : The Collected Works, Vol 2) Paperback – July 5, 1994

ISBN-13: 978-0691036564 ISBN-10: 069103656X Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Series: Goethe the Collected Works (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; Reprint edition (July 5, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 069103656X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691036564
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #394,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German

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Customer Reviews

The mood of this book is great for stormy weather and dark room.
olena_drozd@geocities.com
In fact, in the poetic gymnastics required to maintain metre and rhyme scheme, much invention is required that can lose the import of Goethe's original.
K. D Kirk
I just recently started reading it, but I enjoy the beginning & am anxious to keep reading.
Katlyn Mudd

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 65 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 16, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Faust, Parts I and II, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) was written in stages across the span of nearly sixty years. Having read the work twice now, this time the Stuart Atkins translation, I concur with the wisdom of the ages that it is one of the greatest works of imaginative literature ever composed. Yet, while I think its relevance to a modern audience is as high as ever, this work is not likely to receive much attention, let alone deep study, in America today, in the age of the Oprah book club, admirable though that may be, and computer animated movies, reality television and of course, the World Wide Web.
In fact, the great Goethe himself is hardly known today in the English-speaking world outside of scholars and aesthetes (of which I am neither), yet he was a household name 150 years ago and easily ranks alongside Homer, Dante and Shakespeare. Indeed his body of work is even more vast and varied than each of those other greats, totaling sixty volumes in his lifetime and another score or so posthumously published. While Goethe penned masterpieces in nearly every genre over six decades, clearly the most canonical text is the massive, 18,000 line poetical drama, Faust.
Faust, stated boldly is `about' the totality of the human struggle. The storyline chronicles the adventures and misadventures of an extraordinarily disaffected academic, Dr. Heinrich Faust, who in a moment of despair makes a wager with the Devil regarding the attainability of a moment of absolute fulfillment. Beneath this surface, however, it is really a metaphysical journey that illustrates on multiple levels, the duality of man's life.
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72 of 77 people found the following review helpful By K. D Kirk on March 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Certainly enough it is shocking (at least to me) that a man of genius on the level and scope of J.W. von Goethe is largely unread, or perhaps even largely unknown except as a musty name, in the English speaking world today.
This Stuart Atkins translation, part of apparently a large series of Princeton U. Press 'Collected Works' of Goethe, is the single BEST translation I have encountered that is likely to be able to reach, to be comprehended, by the widest English language audience.
The richness of Goethe's variation in metre and tone is retained, but the language is modern-day English and avoids anachronisms and archaic language. While old-style language sounds "Classic" and rhyme can be aesthetically beautiful to read and hear, this translation offers comprehension of the original and is quite true to the original. In fact, in the poetic gymnastics required to maintain metre and rhyme scheme, much invention is required that can lose the import of Goethe's original.
My suggestion, in the interest of having a short review, is to recommend the Atkins' translation to most, certainly those just approaching Goethe....and then, read a second translation later, once you have a decent grasp on the import of the great Faust legend.
Aside from the translation, the work itself is incomparable. Nothing short of the story of Western man's struggle of experience and knowledge, of progress and constant striving and becoming. It may be disputed, but Goethe is, in my view, in the totality of his work, in terms of variety and quality, a greater poet than Shakespeare, Dante and Homer, but with Faust alone he at a minimum, garners a place of honor on this Mt. Rushmore of World Literature (a term, incidentally coined by Goethe).
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
Nothing could ever surpass this book in scope or beauty. This book asks the question: is life worth living? is it worth it to strive? or is the suicidal nihilism of Mephistopheles the only product having attained a great amount of experience? Part I is brilliant and romantic. The Gretchen tragedy is, in my mind, greater than Romeo and Juliet. Part II is classical. Though much more obscure in its references, it too manages to achieve great beauty and import. And all this not in the original language. Read this book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By C. Perelli-Minetti on April 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
The most important thing all of the reviews fail to note is that Stuart Atkins was one of the greatest Goethe scholars of the 20th century. I was fortunate enough to take his Faust course almost 40 years ago and it remains one of the high points of my university experience.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By olena_drozd@geocities.com on April 16, 1998
Format: Paperback
If you can dive in reading as if book pages were crystal water, if you can fall in love with Romeo and dream about walking in the wood with Robin Hood - it is the book for you. Just try not to think that tomorrow you'll have interview and your child can't get through arithmetics... Take some time for yourself, cup of coffee and this book. The mood of this book is great for stormy weather and dark room.
I don't think there is a person who would dislike this book. If you did - think: maybe it wasn't good time for reading? Maybe you read it in bus while going to (or even worth - from) work? Try again in slow tempo and somewhat romantic mood.
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27 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Jacques COULARDEAU on April 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
This play is rarely performed, if ever. It is too complicated, too complex, and full of numerous special effects. It is fantastique to the extreme. It also entertwines several lines.

First the Emperor. He is captivated by some magic and the apparition of Helen and Paris. This is enough to bring the Court to extreme pleasure. Then this Emperor is lured into creating paper-money. The Empire becomes rich with that money that comes from nowhere. This is of course a criticism of paper money that is invented by the French Revolution, based on all the religious and noble estates that have been requisitioned by the government and are being sold. This episode will end three acts later. This paper money has developed total anarchy because it has made everyone willing and desirous to freely implement their initiative. In other words it has created unregulated free enterprise.

Then order has become a demand from the people and they have more or less unified behind a new self-appointed Enperor. Hence a civil war. This vision is absolutely prophetic about the dictatorships that emerged from this nineteenth century's capitalism. Faust and Mephistopheles will provide the old Emperor with victory in exchange of Faust's possession of the coast.

The second line is that of the deepest layers of the magical and mythological realms. We go down into the world of the Meres, and of all the fantastique monsters of all mythologies. It becomes a Walpurgis night of a new type and Faust learns how vain and evanescent these beings may be. You cannot count on them to hold their promises. It is fascinating but also totally frustrating. Nothing real can come out of it.
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