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Faust: The First Part of the Tragedyby Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Synopses & Reviews
Goethe’s Faust reworks the late medieval myth of a brilliant scholar so disillusioned he resolves to make a contract with Mephistopheles. The devil will do all he asks on Earth and seeks to grant him a moment in life so glorious that he will wish it to last forever. But if Faust does bid the moment stay, he falls to Mephisto and must serve him after death. In this first part of Goethe’s great work, the embittered thinker and Mephistopheles enter into their agreement, and soon Faust is living a rejuvenated life and winning the love of the beautiful Gretchen. But in this compelling tragedy of arrogance, unfulfilled desire, and self-delusion, Faust heads inexorably toward an infernal destruction.
Goethe viewed the writing of poetry as essentially autobiographical, and the works selected in this volume represent more than sixty years in the life of the poet. In early poems such as“Prometheus” he rails against religion in an almost ecstatic fervor, while“To the Moo” is an enigmatic meditation on the end of a love affair. The Roman Elegies show Goeth‛s use of Classical meters in an homage to ancient Rome and its poets, and“The Diary” suppressed for more than a century, is a narrative poem whose eroticism is combined with its morality. In selections from Faust, arguably his greatest and most personal work, Goethe creates an exhilarating depiction of humankin‛s eternal search for truth.
“Faithful and felicitous, these verse translations . . . are an excellent introduction to [Goeth‛s] genius”
Â—The Daily Telegraph (London)
About the Author
David Luke is emeritus fellow of Christ Church, Oxford, and translator of Heinrich von Kleist and the Brothers Grimm for Penguin Classics.
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