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Faust
by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

This is the best translation of Faust that I have read. Printed on the right page, parallel with the German text on the left, it passes a simple test. One can turn from the German to the English without too much of a jolt. I could even, over stretches, read passages of the translation that I know very well in the original without discovering anything that seemed lacking in the German.

Why is Walter Kaufmann so successful? First, his version has a rhythmic drive which is very close to Goethe's; second, he transmits a very important quality about the language of Faust: that it is packed with material of every kind--information, ideas, wit. These are all communicated with immense energy and a warmth of imagination, which... never succumbs to pedantry or showing off...

Stephen Spender, New York Times Book Review






Topic: Faust Discussion (1 of 41), Read 125 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Thursday, August 01, 2002 02:08 PM Today is the official beginning of the Faust discussion. Unfortunately, I'm way behind on this one. I hope someone else can start the discussion. I'm looking forward to reading the notes. Ann
Topic: Faust Discussion (2 of 41), Read 118 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Friday, August 02, 2002 04:59 PM Ann, I'm way behind too. I have the Jarrell translation which is excellent. However, I can only read it when I can really concentrate, not when the TV is on or there are other extraneous stimuli so I'm going even slower than usual. Barb
Topic: Faust Discussion (3 of 41), Read 118 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Dottie Randall randallj@ix.netcom.com Date: Friday, August 02, 2002 07:43 PM I've got about a hundred pages to go yet -- but I'm reading this the way I read Beowulf the first time through it -- I'm just going tearing right along like it's just any, old saga. What leaps out gets a tic or something and I keep going. When I get to the end I'll likely turn right around and go through it again immediately with a bit more thought as the discussion unfolds. It worked with Beowulf -- hope it works with Faust {g}. SO far it's got me well in its grip -- doesn't seem all that difficult in some respects but then in others -- it should be an interesting discussion is all I can say and I'm looking forward to a good one! That old Mephisto is certainly a charmer -- but then that one always is when he wants to be -- hmmmm. Dottie TC: There's a lot of reasons. Her: Okay. Give me one, just one. TC: Oh, honey, don't let me commence. from Hidden Gardens, in Music for Chameleons ... and I might well add my own 'Oh, honey, don't let me commence.'
Topic: Faust Discussion (4 of 41), Read 122 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Sunday, August 04, 2002 02:11 PM I finished Faust this morning and, obviously, have lots of questions. First of all, my translation was by Randall Jarrell. As I researched the internet this morning, I found a review of it by the NY Times that was less than complimentary. He basically felt that Jarrell had lost the melody of the original and I certainly did find it a bit stilted at times though very, very readable. I read positive things about the Kaufman translation though which is the one I believe most of you are reading. Also, Jarrell's translation ends with Gretchen's death and the confirmation that she will still be accepted in heaven. Is this basically the first part of Faust? I've heard people say that they found the second part unreadable. When I found a synopsis of the entire story on-line, it proceeds through a description of Faust as a great lord with vast land-holdings who is building a system of dikes to reclaim the land and ultimately gives it back to the people. I'm assuming that this is the second part. As in the parts I read of Paradise Lost, I found Mephistopheles to be the most entertaining character. I found him, in turns, humorous and revolting which was probably Geothe's art. Faust, on the other hand, left me exceedingly impatient, much as he seemed to affect Mephistopheles. I was surprised at what a tale of redemption this ultimately is. I had somehow always had the impression that it was an unforgiving story. The fact that both Gretchen and Faust (at the end of part II) are forgiven despite their wanderings outside accepted religious practice seems a lesson to those who would choose to condemn. I found a study guide that I thought some of you might like to dip into at the site below: http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~brians/hum_303/faust.html Barb
Topic: Faust Discussion (5 of 41), Read 119 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Sunday, August 04, 2002 11:36 PM I've been trying like the devil (no pun intended, honest!) to finish this book, and I'm almost done. I do not think Mephistopheles is charming and would not compare him in the least bit to Milton's Satan. Mephistopheles is irritating and annoying and he left everyone with a sense of dread. Milton's Satan was not only charming, but deeply sensual. If I remember right, most of us ladies here, found him to be extremely attractive when we read Paradise Lost..the epitome of the irresistible bad boy. i can resist Mephistopheles..tho I do find Faust rather, well, interesting. Beej
Topic: Faust Discussion (6 of 41), Read 117 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Monday, August 05, 2002 07:51 AM If you had my edition with illustrations by Peter Sis, you would find him even less attractive, Beej. He's portrayed as having a skeleton face with skinny little arms and legs. I think I like Mephistopheles because he is so fallible, not at all the invincible God. He even loses in the end when I was sure he would prevail. Barb
Topic: Faust Discussion (7 of 41), Read 111 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Marcy Vaughan vaughan@yahoo.com Date: Monday, August 05, 2002 09:34 PM I would not call Mephistopheles charming either, but I absolutely love his irony! It provides a great contrast to Faust’s seriousness. Barb, thanks for providing the link to that study guide – boy, is there a lot to mull over in this work! I was wondering what everyone thought of the Wood and Cave scene. The writer of the study guide says that Faust is practicing self-delusion when he refuses to believe that Gretchen is a gift of the Devil. That’s not how I took it. I thought Faust was sincere in thanking God, not because he has successfully deluded himself, but that it goes to what God said in the Prologue in Heaven about Faust being God’s servant. As God’s servant, Faust would believe that all good things come from above, not from the Devil. I think Faust does love Gretchen at this point, and that he’s torn by ambivalence between this unselfish love for her and his physical desire for her. But if that is the case, then why does Faust say, “What must be done, come let it be./ Let then her fate come shattering on my head,/ And let her perish now with me” (lines 3363-3365). He hasn’t slept with her yet, has he? (I know the writer of the study guide thinks he has, but I don’t see it.) It’s as though he’s just resigned to be her ruin. It’s hard to sympathize with him here, though he refers to himself as “I, whom the gods hate and mock” (line 3356). What do you all think of this scene, and think about Faust at this point? -Marcy
Topic: Faust Discussion (8 of 41), Read 113 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, August 05, 2002 10:13 PM “What must be done, come let it be./ Let then her fate come shattering on my head,/ And let her perish now with me” Marcy, I think Faust considers Gretchen to be already damned and that the time on earth will only be filled with dread. I think his wish is a sort of mercy killing wish. I agree with the writer of your guide, that Faust and Gretchen had had sex by that time..and that she probably had conceived early in their 'relationship.' If so, it really was God's mocking. Mephistopheles wasn't charming, wasn't sensual, wasn't handsome. But he sure was funnier than hell! He consistently cracked me up. Beej
Topic: Faust Discussion (9 of 41), Read 119 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Marcy Vaughan vaughan@yahoo.com Date: Monday, August 05, 2002 11:34 PM Beej, If Faust and Gretchen had had sex by that time, then I’m not sure how to interpret the end of the Martha’s Garden scene. Mephistopheles has overheard Faust and Gretchen arrange a meeting in Gretchen’s room that night, and he mentions it to Faust, saying, “I have my pleasure in it, too” (line 3545). I interpreted that to mean that Mephistopheles was looking forward to their first sexual tryst, which would ensure their damnations. If that’s not the case, do you think that Mephistopheles somehow knew that Gretchen’s mother would die from the potion that Faust has Gretchen give her mother so that they can safely meet in her room? I also thought that they had not had sex together yet at this point because Faust says, “Will there never be/ At your sweet bosom one hour of rest/ When soul touches on soul and breast on breast?” (lines 3502-3504). I guess I took the “never” literally, but he may have just been impatient for the next time? But also, I thought that she was agreeing to sleep with him at the end of this scene because they had just had the discussion about his relationship with Mephistopheles and allayed her fears. (As an aside, don’t you just love how during this conversation she uses Faust’s name, but Faust insists on only using epithets for her – “dear child, ” “sweet doll,” etc. Was it just me, or did this strike you as condescending?) Could you tell me why you think they had already had sex, and what you make of Mephistopheles’ anticipation at the end of the scene? -Marcy
Topic: Faust Discussion (10 of 41), Read 121 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, August 05, 2002 11:51 PM Marcy, After I read your post, I went back and read through the section that led me to believe they had sex by that time. I think it was Faust's little speech that began at 3189..he was obviously seducing her, and when she left, he followed. and then, immediately next, in WOOD AND CAVE, Faust says: 'exalted spirit, all you gave me, all that I have asked. And it was not in vain That amid flames you turned your face toward me. You gave me royal nature as my own dominion, Strength to experience her, enjoy her.' But, he wanted more. First he wanted the physical relationship. And I took it, that it was after he had that, that he fell in love with her and wished to 'penetrate into her heart.' This all precedes the section you cited, beginning with line 3360. There were a couple other passages said by Gretchen that confirmed, in my mind anyway, that they'd had sex, but I think it was alluded to more than stated outright. I'll look for those and post them when I have a bit more time. (I'm trying to understand this book blindly, with no guide at all, so I could very well be wrong.) Beej
Topic: Faust Discussion (11 of 41), Read 122 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Marcy Vaughan vaughan@yahoo.com Date: Tuesday, August 06, 2002 01:00 AM Beej, thanks for your response (and so promptly! – I guess I assumed I was alone on the board this time of night…) I’ve reread the sections starting from line 3189, and I’m still not sure, but I feel like I’m starting to belabor the point. I thought the distinction was important, but now I’m thinking it doesn’t really matter. If he fell in love with her and then slept with her, he knowingly and intentionally caused the ruin of someone he loved. If he had sex with her and then fell in love with her, then that means he lied when he said he loved her in order to seduce her and cause her ruin. Either way, he doesn’t come out a prince in this relationship… But this is why I still think they hadn’t had sex yet – feel free to skip it if you think I’ve beaten this point to death. Gretchen says, “I am a poor, dumb child and cannot see/ What such a man could find in me” (lines 3215-3216). If they had sex when they ran off together in the previous scene (after line 3194), wouldn’t she have lost this naiveté and have known exactly what “such a man” could find in her? Of course we don’t know how much time has passed between the Garden Bower scene and the Wood and Cave scene – perhaps they had an encounter during this time? But during Faust’s initial speech in the Wood and Cave scene, he says, “Alas, that man is granted nothing perfect/ I now experience” (lines 3240-3241) – and this imperfection in his happiness is his association with Mephistopheles. If they had already had sex, and as a result he thought that she was already damned, he would not have been describing perfect happiness with the exception of only Mephistopheles. Marcy
Topic: Faust Discussion (12 of 41), Read 112 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Tuesday, August 06, 2002 08:00 AM After reading your notes, Marcy and Beej, I've been rereading those sections too. My impression is that Gretchen and Faust have had sex between Chapters XIII and XIV though that seems a very important event to simply allude to in this way. The scene in Chapter XIII seems all coquetry, Gretchen is hiding in the summerhouse, Faust finds her, Mephistopheles appears immediately. However, at the opening of Chapter XIV, Faust is giving thanks for the power to "feel and enjoy" her. Doesn't that seem like a euphemism for sex? This brings up my next question. I've been wondering at the difference between my Jarrell translation and others. I think if I can find a cheap used Kaufman translation, I'm going to buy it just to have both sources. However, for now, I'm wondering if "feel and enjoy" are Jarrell's words and not the translation that others choose. My chapter XIV is entitled "Forest and Cavern" rather than "Wood and Cave". However, those terms seem pretty synonymous and not misleading. I'm going to post Jarrell's translation of Faust's opening speech in Chapter XIV here. Would one of you post Kaufman's (and any other translations that the rest of you have) so we can compare them? Faust (alone) "Exalted spirit, you gave me all I asked. Not in vain did you gaze to me in fire. You gave me glorious Nature for a kingdom, The power to feel and enjoy her. You permit me More than cold wondering visits, you permit me To look into her heart as into a friend's You lead before me the interminable line Of living things, and teach me to know my brothers In the silent thicket, in the air, the water. When the storm roars and crackles through the forest And the giant pine, as it comes crashing down, Strips off the neighboring branches, crushes The neighboring trunks, and the mountain echoes With a dead hollow rumbling, to its fall, You lead me to the shelter of this cavern-- My heart's last secret wonders are laid bare. Softly, before my eyes, the pure moon rises; From cliff and thicket the past's silvery forms Drift by me, soothing the bitter joys of thought. And, yet, alas! for mankind nothing is perfect-- I feel that now. You gave this rapture That brings me nearer and nearer to the gods-- You gave me, to go with it, the companion Whom I already cannot live without. Not even though, cold, scornful, he degrades me In my own eyes--with the breath of a word Turns all your gifts to nothing. Busily He fans within my breast a savage fire For that bewitching image of a woman; So from desire I stagger to enjoyment And then, enjoying, languish for desire. BTW, Marcy, I definitely think he is thanking God for bringing these things to him. He even seems to be saying that God has sent him Mephistopheles. When M appears at the end of his speech, F says: I wish that you had something more to do Than bother me on one of my good days. Barb
Topic: Faust Discussion (13 of 41), Read 111 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Tuesday, August 06, 2002 08:16 AM Okay, now I've read the Faust study guide from the link I posted above. It says that Faust is thanking the Earth Spirit that he has conjured up earlier in the play. I need to go back and look at that. Also, the study guide says this in reference to our question as to whether they've had sex at this point: What clues are there in their dialogue that Faust has already made love with her repeatedly? In lines 3334-3335 Faust blasphemously proclaims that he is jealous when Gretchen goes to Mass and consumes the wafer which Catholics believe is transformed into the body of Christ. Mephistopheles answers him with a clever erotic blasphemy of his own, based on Song of Songs (known in some translations as "The Song of Solomon") 7:3 in which breasts are compared to twin deer. Mephistopheles is saying that he is jealous of Faust when the latter enjoys Gretchen with her blouse off. Readers who don't know their Bible thoroughly will miss this clear statement that Gretchen and Faust have already been making love. In fact, she is almost certainly pregnant at this point, as we will discover later. I certainly would have missed this bibilical reference. BTW, Jarrell translates those lines from Mephistopheles as follows: That's right, my friend! I've often envied you That pair of twins that feeds among the lilies. Barb
Topic: Faust Discussion (14 of 41), Read 108 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, August 06, 2002 08:54 AM I just wrote a really loonnnng reply to your post, Barb, went to check a reference you posted, went back to finish my post and it was gone! Oh well, I'll brace myself with another cup of coffee and see if I can remember all I had written. I'll be back shortly. Beej
Topic: Faust Discussion (15 of 41), Read 110 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, August 06, 2002 10:27 AM (Dang, it happened again!! But, I've just discovered I can go back to a previous post by right clicking on that post and opening it in a new window, all without closing out my posting window! I'll try it AGAIN, for a third time!) Beej
Topic: Faust Discussion (16 of 41), Read 106 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, August 06, 2002 11:06 AM I haven't read the guide for which you posted a link Barb, but I agree with what you've quoted from it, so am relieved to know I'm doing okay with my own thoughts! Whew! I think one of the most important sections in this book is Mephisto's speech, beginning with line 3282: 'A supernatural delight! To lie on mountains (again, a reference to breasts, taken from Songs of Solomon, OT) in the dew and night, Embracing earth and sky in raptured reeling- To swell into a god-in one's own feeling- To probe earth's marrow with vague divination, sense in your breast the whole work of creation, With haughty strength enjoy, I know not what, Then overflow into all things with love so hot, Gone is all earthly inhibition, And then the noble intuition- of-need I say of what emission?' Mephisto is being sarcastic and belittling with this 'emission' reference, and we know Faust is aware of this by the one word he immediately says: 'Shame!' But there's a whole lot more being said. Somewhere (but I can't find the section. When I do, I'll post it.) Gretchen talks about the confession she made prior to meeting Faust. She says the priest seemed to have sensed she had been with men sexually (and, this was before she knew Faust). Couple that with the boasting and bragging of the men in the tavern where we meet Gretchen's brother, and I tend to think Gretchen was not sexually naive at all. But, she had gone to confession, and had been forgiven her sins. However, Mephisto states, in the speech I quoted above, that Faust had swelled 'into a god-in one's own feeling-, that Faust had enjoyed the' sense in his breast the whole work of creation,' not to mention Mephisto'ss claim that Faust felt a 'vague divination." And, my guess is that it wasn't the sins of the flesh that had condemned either Faust or Gretchen (after all, Gretchen had already been forgiven for the sins of the flesh..) but actually the same sin that had condemned mephisto himself, to hell. the sin of wanting to become or overpower God. Basically, the sin of ultimate pride. Marcy, you asked: 'Gretchen says, “I am a poor, dumb child and cannot see/ What such a man could find in me” (lines 3215-3216). If they had sex when they ran off together in the previous scene (after line 3194), wouldn’t she have lost this naiveté and have known exactly what “such a man” could find in her?' I think Gretchen was fully aware of what men found in her, physically. But, I think this was the first time a man had become emotionally involved with her, and I think that's what puzzled her so. Beej
Topic: Faust Discussion (17 of 41), Read 90 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Marcy Vaughan vaughan@yahoo.com Date: Tuesday, August 06, 2002 02:55 PM Barb & Beej, I think you’ve both made some really good points, and I had started to lean towards Barb’s idea that they had sex between Chapters X111 and XIV. But then I noticed that on p.58, in the description of the Wood and Cave scene, Kaufmann writes, “Faust has fled lest he ruin Margaret’s life.” This reinforced my belief that they had not yet had sex at this point; that Faust was conflicted between his true love for her and his passionate desire for her, which he knew if acted upon would ruin her, so he flees and ponders the situation. Beej, you said that Gretchen having sex with Faust would not lead to her damnation because she could go to confession, as she has done in the past, and be forgiven and saved. But I think that what saves her in the end, from her sins of the flesh with Faust and the killing of their baby, is her refusal to be rescued by a Faust to whom Mephistopheles is indispensable. Also, I strongly disagree that she has been with other men sexually before Faust. Her tragedy unfolds by necessity from her naïve and innocent character; she is seduced by Faust, and her seduction leads to her downfall. I guess the confession you’re referring to is not the one that Mephistopheles talks about in lines 2622-2626. He says, “She’s so completely blemishless / That there was nothing to confess.” Also, in the following scene Gretchen sings that song about fidelity in love, which I think was supposed to reveal to us her naiveté and idealism. -Marcy
Topic: Faust Discussion (18 of 41), Read 93 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, August 06, 2002 03:02 PM “She’s so completely blemishless / That there was nothing to confess.” Marcy, I had completely forgotten that line! I stand corrected. Beej
Topic: Faust Discussion (19 of 41), Read 91 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, August 06, 2002 10:56 PM I've found the section that made me believe Gretchen had already had sex by the time she met Faust. It begins with line 3169, when she and Faust are in the garden, talking about the day they met, as Gretchen was leaving the church after confession. Gretchen says: 'I was upset, I did not know such daring; And no one could have spoken ill of me. I thought that something in my bearing Must have seemed shameless and unmaidenly. He seemed to have the sudden feeling That this wench could be had without much dealing. Let me confess, I didn't know that there Were other feelings stirring in me, and they grew; But I was angry with myself, I swear, That I could not get angrier with you.' My mistake arose from presuming the 'he' she referred to was the confessor she had just left, but now I realize she was referring to Faust and the fact that he so readily approached a female he did not know. Beej
Topic: Faust Discussion (20 of 41), Read 90 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ernest Belden drernest@pacbell.net Date: Wednesday, August 07, 2002 01:09 AM I am continuing reading an English version but have ordered the Kaufman bi-lingual translation which should arrive hopefully this week. I am very curios how translators do their job. Ernie
Topic: Faust Discussion (21 of 41), Read 86 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Dottie Randall randallj@ix.netcom.com Date: Sunday, August 11, 2002 03:03 AM Finished the last of Faust yesterday -- haven't gone dabbling into the excerpts from the second part as yet -- am likely to re-read part one now instead. Barb -- here's the opening Faust speech from the Wood and Cave section -- Exalted spirit, all you gave me, all That I have asked. And it was not in vain That amid flames you turned your face toward me. You gave me royal nature as my own dominion, Strength to experience her, enjoy her. Not The cold amazement of a visit only You granted me, but let me penetrate Into her heart as into a close friend's. You lead the hosts of all that is alive Before my eyes, teach me to know my brothers In quiet bushes and in air and water. And when the storm roars in the wood and creaks, The giant fir tree, falling, hits and smashes The neighbor branches and the neighbor trunks, And from its hollow thud the mountain thunders, Then you lead me to this safe cave and show Me to myself, and all the most profound And secret wonders of my breast are opened. And when before my eyes the pure moon rises And passes soothingly, there float to me From rocky cliffs and out of dewy bushes The silver shapes of a forgotten age, And soften meditation's somber joy. Alas, that man is granted nothing perfect I now experience. With this happiness Which brings me close and closer to the gods, You gave me the companion whom I can Forego no more, though with cold impudence He makes me small in my own eyes and changes Your gifts to nothing with a few words' breath. He kindles in my breast a savage firs And keeps me thirsting after that fair image. Thus I reel from desire to enjoyment, And in enjoyment languish for desire. As I said -- I read this -- just went through at a good clip and not a lot of mulling over -- now it's time to think as I go. This particular speech is one favorite -- I'm somehow left with the idea that this simply says -- yes, humans are a muddled mess, yes, old Mephistopheles/Mephisto is good at the jobs he's doing and yes, Faust made an agreement with him -- BUT God or good is the ultimate power and makes the ultimate decision. That's what I see as the crux of the tale at this point anyway -- may change tack once I begin reading and thinking at the same time. Interesting and thought provoking comments thus far everyone. Dottie TC: There's a lot of reasons. Her: Okay. Give me one, just one. TC: Oh, honey, don't let me commence. from Hidden Gardens, in Music for Chameleons ... and I might well add my own 'Oh, honey, don't let me commence.'
Topic: Faust Discussion (22 of 41), Read 84 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Sunday, August 11, 2002 11:21 AM Dottie, thanks so much for transcribing that section. Is it from the Kaufman translation? I don't want to be prejudiced by the critics I've read but I think I see what they were talking about. The flyleaf of my edition says that his attempt was to make the German poetry free, unrhymed poetry in English. However, I think he may have lost something in the process. Could you read the one I posted and yours and see what you think? And, I'd love to hear from the rest of you too. Barb
Topic: Faust Discussion (23 of 41), Read 59 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Jody Richael jodyrichael@cs.com Date: Sunday, August 11, 2002 11:14 PM Hi Barb, The only translation my library had for Faust was by George Madison Priest. Based on the two excerpts posted the language in Priest's translation sounds to me much more appropriate for the time when it was written. The other two posts feel much more modern. I enjoyed Priest's edition but am curious about the other as well. FYI here is the same section from my book: “Spirit sublime, thou gav’st me, gav’st me all For which I prayed. Thou hast not turned in vain Thy countenance to me in fire and flame. Thou gav’st me glorious nature as a royal realm, The power to feel and to enjoy her. Not Amazed, cold visits only thou allow’st; Thou grantest me to look in her deep breast Even as in the bosom of a friend. Thou leadest past a series of the living Before me, teaching me to know my brothers In silent covert and in air and water. And when the storm roars screeching through the forest, When giant fir tree plunges, sweeping down And crushing neighboring branches, neighboring trunks, And at its fall the hills, dull, hollow, thunder: Then leadest thou me to the cavern safe, Show’st me myself, and my own heart becomes Aware of deep mysterious miracles. And when before my gaze the stainless moon Soothing ascends on high: from rocky walls And from damp covert float and soar about me The silvery forms of a departed world And temper contemplation’s austere joy. Oh, that for man naught perfect ever is, I now do feel. Together with this rapture That brings me near and nearer to the gods, Thou gav’st the comrade whom I now no more Can do without, though , cold and insolent, He lowers me in my own sight, transforms With but a word, a breath, thy gifts to nothing. Within my breast he fans with busy zeal A savage fire for that fair, lovely form. Thus from desire I reel on to enjoyment And in enjoyment languish for desire.” (I haven't figured out how to do italics in here yet and they didn't copy in from word.) Jody
Topic: Faust Discussion (24 of 41), Read 57 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Monday, August 12, 2002 07:32 AM Thank you, Jody! That really is lovely. My first impulse is that I like that translation most of all as sheer poetry but I'm wondering how I would have done reading the whole book. When was this one published? To do italics here, you just use these two symbols < and >, putting an I inside them. Then, when you want the italics to stop, you put the following inside them: /I. Does that make sense? You do tons of commands the same way. You can get underlining by using a U, bold type by using a B, etc. It's HTML language and there's a website somewhere with lots more commands. Barb
Topic: Faust Discussion (25 of 41), Read 55 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Monday, August 12, 2002 07:35 AM Another thought, both the Kaufman and the Priest translations read much like a psalm to me. Do you think that's intentional? Barb
Topic: Faust Discussion (26 of 41), Read 60 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Jody Richael jodyrichael@cs.com Date: Monday, August 12, 2002 05:27 PM Thanks for the information on italics Barb. That will come in handy. There is probably some information on that on this website as well but I have two small children and when I can manage to wrestle 10 minutes for myself I'm not apt to spend it searching the web for formatting information! My Priest edition was published in 1952. I think it is entirely possible it was meant to sound like the Psalms (although I have no idea how the Psalms and the original would both compare in German). Goethe certainly uses many Biblical references. He sets it up similar to the Job story although it ends very differently - eventhough in the end of the book Faust is still quoting Job by wishing he had never been born. There are still alot of aspects about this book I'm struggling to figure out. Jody
Topic: Faust Discussion (27 of 41), Read 58 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Dottie Randall randallj@ix.netcom.com Date: Monday, August 12, 2002 06:24 PM I liked that translation a lot also -- it's very much a Biblical feel I think -- and yes, psalm-like -- what a good description for this. The Kaufmann is touted as the best or a very highly recommended translation -- but I found it more modern as you say. i think I wouldn't have been able to read it so quickly otherwise -- but I would love to dive into Faust in that 1952 translation and may go looking for it just to do it. And I had read the Job idea -- in the intro of the Kaufmann or somewhere -- but in my reading through -- I only thought of the similarity at one or two points and not in any way which really got me comparing the two. I will pay more attention to that aspect this time around. As with Beowulf -- I'm certainly glad I read this one here. Dottie TC: There's a lot of reasons. Her: Okay. Give me one, just one. TC: Oh, honey, don't let me commence. from Hidden Gardens, in Music for Chameleons ... and I might well add my own 'Oh, honey, don't let me commence.'
Topic: Faust Discussion (28 of 41), Read 52 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Marcy Vaughan vaughan@yahoo.com Date: Tuesday, August 13, 2002 12:20 AM Jody, I’m glad you mentioned Goethe’s reference to the Book of Job – it seems to me that this reference is made in order to emphasize where the ideas in Faust deviate from traditional religious beliefs. The wager that is made in The Prologue in Heaven is not whether or not Faust remains pious, as in Job, but whether Faust, no matter how much he is led astray by Mephistopheles, "Remembers the right road throughout his quest" (line 329). We’re not dealing here with traditional notions of right and wrong, but an ethos of activity and vigor where the most dangerous sin is inaction, or accepting any condition of life as satisfactory. Another difference that struck me is that Satan of the Old Testament tries to turn Job away from God by destroying his health, family, and possessions, but Goethe's Mephistopheles tries to ruin Faust by putting pleasure in his reach. -Marcy
Topic: Faust Discussion (29 of 41), Read 46 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Tuesday, August 13, 2002 08:31 AM I always think of the New Testament as bringing light and forgiveness to the world. Goethe seems to take this process a step further. Looked at from this perspective, Faust can almost be seen as a step on the continuum to even more forgiving, less judgemental views by some today (though our Old Testament friends are still around). I should stipulate here that my knowledge of the Bible is very rudimentary gained from a childhood in church and limited reading of it since. Barb
Topic: Faust Discussion (30 of 41), Read 43 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Tuesday, August 13, 2002 08:35 AM Jody, I remember those days of two small children, struggling to find time to read and, even harder, trying to concentrate among all of the distractions. Please don't worry about such trivial things as italics. Just come and talk to us when you can steal a few minutes. Barb
Topic: Faust Discussion (31 of 41), Read 42 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Tuesday, August 13, 2002 09:01 AM This is the introduction for the study guide whose link I posted above. I'm very interested to hear some reactions to it. This work is rich in wonderful contradictions and conflicts. Faust: A Tragedy is the title given his masterpiece by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Yet it might almost as easily be described as a musical comedy, in that it has many comic passages, features many songs, and lacks a tragic ending. Faust himself is not a classic tragic figure either. In fact, his characteristic yearning for experience and knowledge created a type for the romantic age still known as the Faustian hero, though he can easily seem more of a villain than a hero; and the purported villain--Mephistopheles--is one of the most likable characters in the play. His yearnings draw him toward the heavens, yet he is also powerfully attracted to the physical world. The book was designed to be read rather than performed, yet many scenes are wonderfully designed for effective stage presentation. It is useless to try to figure out what the "real" point of Faust is, or which of the many views of life it presents is the correct one. It is par excellence the Romantic masterwork precisely because it explores a wide variety of polar opposites without resolving them. Goethe has created a microcosm of life, trying to preserve its complexity, its tensions, and its dynamism. Appreciating the work's complexity and enjoying it should be your goal. One the most important tensions expressed in this work is between learning and experience. Faust himself rejects scholarship for life, but it would be a mistake to suppose that Goethe unequivocally endorses this view. Mephistopheles, who is usually both truthful and wise, warns him against this enthusiasm for raw experience; and Goethe himself was a scholar and bureaucrat who greatly valued the learning of the past and aimed at joining the pantheon of classic writers. Faust is a part of Goethe, but so is Mephistopheles. I think because Goethe puts this story in a somewhat classical setting, I expected the moral to be more clearcut and have been struggling to find it. This synopsis helps me understand why I see so many different conclusions. And, I love the idea of it being a musical comedy (-: Barb
Topic: Faust Discussion (32 of 41), Read 43 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Marcy Vaughan vaughan@yahoo.com Date: Tuesday, August 13, 2002 10:55 AM Barb, I thought you’d be interested in this portion of a letter written by Goethe in 1827, responding to the inquiries of a reader concerning the central “idea” of Faust: “They come and ask what idea I meant to embody in my Faust; as if I knew myself and could inform them! ‘From heaven through the world to hell,’ one might say in a pinch; but that is no idea but the course of the action. And further: that the devil loses the wager, and that a man continually striving from difficult errors towards something better, should be redeemed, is an effective – and, to many, a good enlightening – thought; but it is not an idea that is the foundation of the whole and of every scene in particular. Indeed, that would have been a fine thing had I wanted to string such a rich, variegated, and extremely versatile life, as I represented in Faust, on the meager thread of a single central idea! […] My opinion is this: The more incommensurable and incomprehensible for the understanding a poetic creation may be, the better.” -Marcy
Topic: Faust Discussion (33 of 41), Read 42 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Jody Richael jodyrichael@cs.com Date: Tuesday, August 13, 2002 11:49 AM I read the introduction in the study guide as well and I was relieved when it said trying to find out the point was futile - because I was struggling with it as well! Marcy - I like your thoughts about the ethos of activity and vigor and the most dangerous sin being inaction. I think that interpretation fits in the story very well. I'm not sure if Goethe really believed that himself (as the study guide states also). The comparison with Job is very interesting. Job stays faithful to the 'one true way'. Faust may always remember what the one true way is, but what is the point of knowing it if you are not on it? I think someone mentioned that Faust was still redeemed. There is obviously still more storyline in Part II but I got the impression that Faust was already doomed to live in hell with Mephistopheles. Faust basically said he did not care what happened to him in the next life as long as he got what he wanted out of this life. I think it is interesting that Mephistopheles doesn't really care what pleasure or treasure Faust wants - he knows they will all ultimately ruin him. Why is that? Because ultimately they are all purely selfish? Jody
Topic: Faust Discussion (34 of 41), Read 43 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Jody Richael jodyrichael@cs.com Date: Tuesday, August 13, 2002 11:51 AM One more thing - I found this quote on Faust. Goethe makes the career of Faust as a whole emblematic of the triumph of the persistent striving for the ideal over the temptation to find complete satisfaction in the sense, and prepares the reader for this interpretation by prefixing the "Prologue in Heaven." Jody
Topic: Faust Discussion (35 of 41), Read 31 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Marcy Vaughan vaughan@yahoo.com Date: Wednesday, August 14, 2002 12:11 AM Jody – In earlier versions of the Faust story the contract between Faust and the Devil was a fixed term pact, and Faust was doomed to live in hell with Mephistopheles. But in Goethe’s version, Faust proposes a wager to Mephistopheles in place of the pact. As you pointed out, Jody, Faust does say “he did not care what happened to him in the next life as long as he got what he wanted out of this life.” Immediately following this, however, Faust says that he doubts Mephistopheles’ ability to fulfill his end of the bargain (lines 1675-1687). It is then that Faust proposes the wager: if any moment, however brief, is so charged with pleasure for him that it extinguishes his restless urge to forever reach beyond the illusory satisfaction of the moment, then that will be the day of his death and he will serve Mephistopheles forever (lines 1692-1698). You’re right that Mephistopheles doesn't care what particular pleasure or treasure Faust wants – any will due, as long as it lulls Faust into a sense of contentment, even for a moment, and his striving ceases. (This relates directly to the quote you posted in message #34.) I’m not sure who’s reading part two, so I want to point out that this would be a potential spoiler. ********Spoiler Alert********* When Faust dies from natural causes at an old age, Mephistopheles says, “Fie! / No pleasure sated him […] He sturdily resisted all my toil; / Time conquers, old he lies here on the soil” (lines 11588-115993). -Marcy
Topic: Faust Discussion (36 of 41), Read 33 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Dottie Randall randallj@ix.netcom.com Date: Wednesday, August 14, 2002 04:03 AM So many ideas to take into this re-read here, thanks to you all! Marcy I doubt the spoilers matter all that much --- I probably will read the excerpts included in the Kaufmann if no other part of the second part -- but I loved that line you quoted there -- makes me anxious to get into those excerpts once I finish the re-reading. Dottie TC: There's a lot of reasons. Her: Okay. Give me one, just one. TC: Oh, honey, don't let me commence. from Hidden Gardens, in Music for Chameleons ... and I might well add my own 'Oh, honey, don't let me commence.'
Topic: Faust Discussion (37 of 41), Read 34 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Wednesday, August 14, 2002 07:46 AM Thank you for that excerpt from Goethe's letter, Marcy. I absolutely love to read comments on their works from the author. I believe someone said that there is a Norton Critical Edition of Faust and they usually include such tidbits. In going back to reread the Prelude in Heaven, I came upon the Prelude in the Theater which I had forgotten. I find this an absolutely classic conversation between the warring aspects of a writer's mind: the Poet, the Comedian and the Manager. My favorite quote is from the Poet who says: What's brilliant gleams an instant and is gone, What's true survives for all posterity. And, also, the comedian's lines: Age doesn't make us childish, as they say, It only finds us real children still. Barb
Topic: Faust Discussion (38 of 41), Read 33 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Dottie Randall randallj@ix.netcom.com Date: Wednesday, August 14, 2002 05:53 PM Barb wrote: My favorite quote is from the Poet who says: What's brilliant gleams an instant and is gone, What's true survives for all posterity. Barb, this one was one of my own favorites -- it really struck a deep chord with me. Dottie TC: There's a lot of reasons. Her: Okay. Give me one, just one. TC: Oh, honey, don't let me commence. from Hidden Gardens, in Music for Chameleons ... and I might well add my own 'Oh, honey, don't let me commence.'
Topic: Faust Discussion (39 of 41), Read 28 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Marcy Vaughan vaughan@yahoo.com Date: Wednesday, August 14, 2002 07:11 PM Barb - I did find the text of that letter written by Goethe in the Norton Critical Edition of Faust. It's definitely worth seeking out! Dottie - I think the selections of Part II in the Kaufmann edition are definitely worth reading. The scene entitled Entombment in Part II is my absolute favorite - a true gem of a reward for making it to the end! -Marcy
Topic: Faust Discussion (40 of 41), Read 9 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Jonathan Metts jonathan@planetgamecube.com Date: Saturday, August 17, 2002 08:11 PM When I read Faust, Part One for a class, I think we used the Priest translation, or at least something like it. It was very King James-ish, rather hard to follow unless you paid absolute attention while reading. One curious thing that happened to me, and perhaps as a result of our translation, was a complete misunderstanding of the last section of the poem. I never interpreted the lines to say that Faust and Gretchen had made love or had a child at all. The child Gretchen drowned seemed to me to be her baby sister or whatever the text briefly alludes to. I guess in the end it was just me not paying attention, or not reading something correctly. I asked my teacher if this could be a matter of interpretation, because my subsequent writing assignment probably would have dealt with it, but he said that Faust and Gretchen absolutely, definitely had sex and a child. Just out of curiosity...did anyone else get the same impression as me? (Probably not.) Jonathan Published daily at PlanetGameCube.com
Topic: Faust Discussion (41 of 41), Read 5 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Sunday, August 18, 2002 09:15 AM My translation is incredibly straightforward, Jonathan, so I did understand that Gretchen had a child. But, as you can see if you read the notes here, it was very hard to tell that she and Faust had actually started having sex or, at least, when it happened. With a more complicated translation, I can understand how you would have missed more. BTW, Harold Bloom has a section on Faust in his Western Canon. I've just started reading it. In Bloom's usual contrarian fashion, he includes Part II in the Canon, the part that is known as the most difficult, of course. That made me smile. Barb
Topic: Faust Discussion (42 of 47), Read 34 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Jody Richael jodyrichael@cs.com Date: Monday, August 19, 2002 11:39 AM Hi Jonathan, I read the Priest translation and I understood that they had had sex and that Gretchen had gotten pregnant but it wasn't clear enough that I caught the fact she had drowned the baby. I also thought she was talking about another baby and that her baby was still alive somewhere. After I read some notes that explained things I went back and re-read it and you can see the actual events. Marcy - I made a post a couple of days ago but apparently it didn't actually post. The gist of it was just to say thanks for your comments on the text. Jody
Topic: Faust Discussion (43 of 47), Read 29 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ernest Belden drernest@pacbell.net Date: Tuesday, August 20, 2002 10:46 PM At Ruth's suggestion I ordered the German-English translation by Kaufman. Since it arrived just a few days ago I am only 2/3 through. I usually read the left page in German first and occasionally have a look at the translation. Sometimes I don't remember a German term and have to look it up in the translation. If the same word means one thing in German and something else in English I am really puzzled. Also some of the German sounds a bit archaic to me. Well it was written at least a couple hundred years ago... I must have read this book with interest and intensity in my youth since many of the lines are so familiar I know them by heart. But there are also surprises, parts that I have totally forgotten. The essence I do remember. Well I can't be very specific at this point as I have to think it through but can make one important generalization. This tragic drama stands alone in beauty and language. The interactions of characters show Goethe's genius. More later! Ernie
Topic: Faust Discussion (44 of 47), Read 32 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Dottie Randall randallj@ix.netcom.com Date: Wednesday, August 21, 2002 10:14 AM Ernie -- very interesting to hear your perspectives on the side-by-side versions in this volume -- I am re-reading this at this point and have been listening to a couple of opera versions and reading the notes therein -- if I find anything worth sharing in those notes I'll post them -- but I will definitely be back with more as I re-read. Dottie -- who has gone a bit Faust crazy it would appear 'We live in the dark, we do what we can, the rest is the madness of art.' from a character in Henry James' book (possibly The Middle Years) quoted by TC in Music for Chameleons. "...and the darkest part of the dark, the maddest part of the madness, is the relentless gambling involved." TC referring to writers.
Topic: Faust Discussion (45 of 47), Read 16 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ernest Belden drernest@pacbell.net Date: Thursday, August 29, 2002 05:40 PM The other day I finally sat down with my outline in front of the computer as I was ready to post it. Well, not for the first time, it all disappeared when I was finished. Must have hit the wrong key. But could this have been a blessing in disguise? I had not gotten around to look at 3 important sources. So I had time to do it. So now I have another problem. Where to get started.... Well since I read it in the original German text and made some comparisons with the Kaufman translation I can start from here. No translator, regardless of skill, can do justice to Goethe's writing as found in this play. Strangely enough quite a few of the lyric passages came back to me, though I may have first read the drama in my teens or early twenties. It was the beauty and meaning that may have caused me to remember some key sections. I vaguely remembered that the story of Dr. Faustus goes way back in history and that such a person may have actually existed about 1540 AD. Interestingly enough the story became popular to the point that several books were written about him way before Goethe dealt with the same subject. The essence of the Faustian personality, his search for meaning and his appeal to the Devil to help him procure knowledge or satisfaction in life are also mentioned in these precursors. The Faustbuch was published anonymously in 1587 and described the hero as a most questionable individual who was accompanied by the remorseless fiend Mephistopheles. Subsequently a number of still famous writers continued the myth. What stands out in my mind and is also mentioned by other commentator is the broad range of Goethe's Faust. He changes styles, meters, places, ideas time after time. Supposedly this is not due to careless scattered writing but may be an outlet for Goethe's broad knowledge and genius. One commentator believed that Goethe wanted to create a universal appeal for his work. In this, he differs from Shakespeare who seems much more focused and cohesive in his dramas. The basic story deals with search for meaning and the limitations of humans to understand the reality of their goals. Faust hoped that selling his soul to the devil he will achieve true wisdom and ultimate satisfaction. By contrast his assistant Wagner feels that having read the right books will do the job. That all this can be presented with incredible beauty and sensitivity is the miracle of this play. The implied and sometimes expressed lesson is as follows: A decent human being in spite of his (her) many mistakes will in the end return to the rightful path. Ernie
Topic: Faust Discussion (46 of 47), Read 12 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Saturday, August 31, 2002 10:16 AM Ernie, thank you so much for this informative and insightful note. I really enjoyed it. Can you elaborate on the difficulty of translating this piece and give an example of what the translation doesn't quite communicate? I find that fascinating. Barb
Topic: Faust Discussion (47 of 47), Read 12 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ernest Belden drernest@pacbell.net Date: Saturday, August 31, 2002 04:02 PM Hi Barb, I will give it a try though it may turn out to be incredibly difficult for the reader that is. How are you doing Barb? Ernie
Topic: Faust Discussion (48 of 54), Read 25 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ernest Belden drernest@pacbell.net Date: Friday, September 06, 2002 01:54 AM Hi Barb, I will give it a try but it may not make much sense unless you know both languages. I picked a few passages I especially like and write it in German and also in translation. If I can't get it all done this evening will do some more tomorrow. Habe nun ach Philosophie Juristerei und Medizin Und leider auch Theologie Durchaus studiert mit heissen Bemuehen. Da steh ich nun, ich armer Tor! Und bin so klug als wie zuvor. I have, alas studied philosophy, Jurisprudence and medicine too, and worst of all, theology With keen endeavor through and through- And here I am , for all my lore The wretched fool I was before. ----- (Not too bad really) Next my favorite passage: Vom Eise befreit sind Strom und Baech Durch des Fruehlings holden, belebenden Bick. Im Tale Gruenen Hoffnungsglueck Der alte Winter, in seiner Schwaeche zog sich in rauhe Berge zurueck... ------ Released from the Ice are river and creek Warmed by the Spring's fair quickening eye; The Valley is green with hope and joy The Hoary winter has grown so weak He has withdrawn to the rugged mountains. ------- Faust: Kannst du mich mit Genuss betruegen- Das sei fuer mich der letzte Tag Die Wette biet ich Mephistopheles Topp! Faust: Und Schlag auf Schlag Werd oocj zim Augenblicke sagen: Verweile doch! Du bist so schoen! Dann magst du mich in Fesseln Schlagen Dann will ich gern zugrunde gehn! Dann mag die Totenglocke schallen Dann bist du deines Dienstes frei Die Uhr mag stehen, der Zeiger fallen Es sei die Zeit fuer mich vorbei! --------- If ever flattering you should wile me That in myself I find delight If with enjoyment you beguile me, Then break on me eternal night This bet I offer Mephisto... I accept it Faust: Right. If to the moment I should say: Abide, you are so fair- Put me in fetters on that day I wish to periish then I swear Then let the death bell ever toll Your service done, you shall be free The clock may stop, the hand may fall As time comes to an end for me. ------ (There are a few more passages that I would like to present if anyone is interested) Ernie If you enjoyed reading this, please thank Ruth and Barb, they asked for it.
Topic: Faust Discussion (49 of 54), Read 23 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Friday, September 06, 2002 07:28 AM Ernie, are these your translations of the German? If so, would you tell us where the passages are so we can look at the differences with the translations we have? Also, did you find places where the translation from German to English simply could not convey the original thought? If so, could you give us an example of that? And, I appreciate your time in doing this so much. Thank you! Barb
Topic: Faust Discussion (50 of 54), Read 28 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ernest Belden drernest@pacbell.net Date: Friday, September 06, 2002 11:25 PM Barb, This is the Walter Kaufmann translation 1963,1990. While I could not possibly go through the whole tragedy and compare German with the English, the places that I remembered in German and quoted above seem to be we artfully translated. As a matter I can't understand how someone could do such a good job as some of it rhymes and the rhymes are of various types (I can't remember any more about these types). Some critics have admired the variety of rhymes to do justice to a scene and to the reader's feelings. In other words the play is a great work of art and reading it once more continue to admire Goethe's genius. My admiration may be due to a few things that I know about the man. He was an open minded science oriented (he did research) liberal and supposedly an atheist as well.(I have been told). I can't detect any feelings of hate or contempt in any of his writings. He was indeed a fine person, a gentleman. Once while in Strassburg (now France) I saw an inscription on a house that Goethe together with the Duke had stayed there. If I remember correctly there were also rough paintings of them on one of the walls. (Not unusual for Europe). I stood in awe for some time looking at the house. It may interest you to know that one of my teachers of German literature told the class that Goethe's best love poetry was written at an age when most men have lost interest in this sort of thing. Elderly Germans like their food and beer sitting around the Stamm Tisch at their favorite tavern. They usually discuss politics, wars, the evil of the Frenchman, etc. (Stamm Tisch is a table reserved for the same group of people for certain days of the week). I often wondered what their wives are doing during these sessions. They are not gathering at the tavern. Nowadays they probably watch Amerikanische Filme on TV. It was fun for me to turn back to these almost forgotten memories of culture and life style as I was raised with some of it. The Austrians are quite similar to their German brethren but talk with a different accent. The Germans accuse the Austrians for being "talkers" but not "doers" and that especially applies to their military exploits. A few Austrians including my father, my uncles, and other veterans of WWI would agree with this. Ernie
Topic: Faust Discussion (51 of 54), Read 27 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ernest Belden drernest@pacbell.net Date: Sunday, September 08, 2002 01:28 AM Barb, I looked at the Victor Lange (formerly prof. at Cornell U.) translation. Unfortunately the verses are not numbered and have to be found by looking through the whole thing. Well I found one part that I quoted before that may offer you an opinion. Now I have to look up the Kaufmann translation myself to form an opinion. Faust: When on my idler's bed I stretch myself in quiet There let, at once my record end! Canst thou with lying flattery rule me, Until, self-pleased myself I see,-- Canst though with rich enjoyment fool me Let that day be the last for me! The bet I offer. Mephistopheles: Done Faust: And heartily! When thus I hail the moment flying: "Ah still delay- thou art so fair!" Then bind me in thy bonds undying, My final ruin then declare! ------- Ernie
Topic: Faust Discussion (52 of 54), Read 25 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ernest Belden drernest@pacbell.net Date: Sunday, September 08, 2002 01:38 AM cont'd Then let the death-bell chime the token Then art thou from thy service free! the clock may stop, the hand be broken Then Time be finished unto me! (This should be added at the end of my last posting) Ernie
Topic: Faust Discussion (53 of 54), Read 20 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Barbara Moors bar647@aol.com Date: Sunday, September 08, 2002 08:56 AM Ernie, I am really enjoying your comments on what you have heard about Goethe and, also, about German culture. It fleshes out the experience of Faust. Also, I love comparing these translations. And, it's good to know that Kaufmann got it right, even with the daunting task of choosing English words that rhyme. Randall Jarrell, who did my translation, did it in free verse so that he could be more true to the original meaning without being tied to the need to rhyme. However, I think he loses the flavor when I read Kaufman translation excerpts that I've seen. Here are his translations of your first two examples: Law, medicine, philosophy And even--worse luck--theology I've studied with passionate resolution, I've learned, alas! from top to bottom; And stand here now, poor fool that I am, No wiser than I was before. ------- Spring's radiant life-giving look Has rescued river and stream from ice; The bliss of hope greens every valley. Old Winter, his strength almost gone, Withdraws into the rugged hills And from them, fleeing, sends back weak Sleet showers that speckle the green plain. ------ What do you think? Barb
Topic: Faust Discussion (54 of 54), Read 19 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ernest Belden drernest@pacbell.net Date: Monday, September 09, 2002 01:17 AM Jarrell is not bad at all, still I prefer Kauffmann. But actually the samples on which we base our opinions are small and limited. Because of my early reading I am crazy about the genuine Goethe lyrics. Isn't it strange that English poetry, and I took some at the Chicago Highschool shortly after I arrived in this country but even at this period of my life it was a disappointment. I really tried to get the feel of Shakespeare by reading and seeing his plays. I can only admit that I truly enjoyed one movie version of Hamlet. After that, when I go back to Hamlet I do enjoy it. Perhaps a person's initially acquired language sticks with you and readily converts into poetry when exposed to it. Pat was an English Lit. major in college and just loves poetry. She also advised me to read poetry in English out loud. We got the same advise from one of our contributors - the professor I think. Actually I have not really read the best of English poetry. When I tried to do so it became too difficult and I gave up on it. Ernie PS. When I find a bit of time, I will quote more Faust, that I have checked off, both in German and in the Kaufmann translation.

 

 

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

 
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