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Faust, Part One (Oxford World's Classics) (Pt. 1) Paperback – July 15, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0199536214 ISBN-10: 019953621X

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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (July 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019953621X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199536214
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

`Luke has done us all - including, if one may say so, Goethe - a potently good turn. We should take advantage of it.' D.J. Enright, Observer

`a translation "for our time" without signs of strain.' D. J. Enright, The Observer

`At last! A translation of Goethe's masterpiece which reads like a masterpiece in English. David Luke conveys the meaning, intellectual passion and Byronic raciness of the original. This is a poet's as well as a scholar's version, for David Luke has written original poems of great distinction.' Stephen Spender, Spectator

'scrupulous and well-informed, backed up by scholarly clarification of the text's difficult history ... one of the most spirited efforts to capture the great poetic drama' Independent

'a translation of really poetic quality, preceded by an informative introduction and a most useful synopsis of the various stages of composition of the drama ... This reissue is most welcome: for over and above having available for the non-Germanist an English version of this novel.' The Classical Era

'signs of struggle are remarkably few ... The price he pays for rhyming is never too high, and the profits are immense. Michael Hamburger once noted that while Faust had been translated again and again, no single version had established itself as a standard text for the English-speaking world. With his Parts One and Two, both in Oxford University Press World's Classics, Luke has provided us with exactly that.' Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German polymath: he was a painter, novelist, dramatist, poet, humanist, scientist, philosopher, and for ten years chief minister of state for the duchy of Weimar. Goethe was one of the key figures of German literature and the movement of Weimar Classicism in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Customer Reviews

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David Luke's award-winning translation is one of the best I have read.
E. A. Bucchianeri
I am very glad to have been exposed to this classic and am definitely pleased to have read this particular translation of it.
T. George
It is a classic and now after reading it I can see why people like it so much.
Jacob Minger

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

94 of 94 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, Luke's translation is the most accurate of the ones I've read, in many ways. In other words, the compromises that Luke himself details have been executed here with near-perfection.
It comes down to what you like. Luke's translation is the closest among all attempts so far to being dubbed a "universal" tranlslation. But just as we cannot have a universal programming language, we cannot have a translation that will please everybody.
The positives for this translation are of course the extraordinary faithfulness to the original while maintaining rhyme. The negatives are of course what one would expect; the translation does not read smoothly on the line level. To clarify, a line carries over to the next line in too many cases to make for a "smooth read". An example:
"Refreshment! It's your own soul that must pour / It through you, if it's to be anything."
This "pour it" example siuation occurs too often, and is jarring for those who "grew up" with Arndt's or Wayne's translations.
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.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By T. George on March 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
I am very glad to have been exposed to this classic and am definitely pleased to have read this particular translation of it. Though the rhythm was occasionally jarring (see review below), Luke's EXTENSIVE introduction (50 pages or so!) and explanatory notes helped me get so much out of this piece. I received glimpses of insight on German history, the Germanic culture, witchcraft, superstition, how 18th century "geniuses" viewed Shakespeare, traditional church customs, etc.
For those who don't know, the basic premise of this story is based on a German folk legend. In that legend from the 16th century, a learned man named Faust sold his soul to the Devil in order to gain more knowledge and understanding. As that legend grew and became incorporated in the Germanic culture, so did its appeal to many artists. There have been apparently many writers and such who have used this legend as a foundation for their works.
However, of all the Faust tales, Goethe's appears to be the preeminent one today. Why? Well, for one thing, he worked on this intermittantly from 1770 to 1808 with 3 main versions cited. Goethe became quite famous for many of his other works, and this one apparently gives great insight to his personal philosophies at different stages. Thus, many find it worth studying.
Also, as Goethe was a central figure in Germany's emergence from the Enlightenment era into the Romantic era, his work - and especially this piece - was celebrated by those trying to usher in a new way. While the number of submovements is slightly tricky to keep track of, the main thrust is that the young intellectuals idolized Goethe and championed his cause. His version of Faust became the source for many plays and even an opera which I think is still performed today.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By GB on April 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
The previous review is clear about the value of this translation. Knowing a bit of German, I can say that this translation does use shapes instead of forms for Gestalten. the real value of the work beyond the translation, however, especially for first time readers, is found in the notes made by David Luke. These notes are helpful for the historical context, allusions to Goethe's personal life and work, and allusions to philosophy, literature, and more ... all essential to understanding the work.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Bucchianeri on December 4, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Faust: Part One (Oxford World's Classic)

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.
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