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72 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful translation of a masterwork!!, March 12, 2004
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This review is from: Faust I and II (Goethe's Collected Works, Volume 2) (Hardcover)
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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Initial post: Mar 9, 2013 9:38:28 AM PST
That last sentence was a joke, right?
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