For a Kinder, Gentler Society
Faust
A Tragedy in Two Parts
  • J W von Goethe, Trans. by Thomas Wayne
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Faust. A Tragedy in Two Parts
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In this fresh new translation of “Faust,”, the greatest work by Germany's greatest author, Professor Thomas Wayne brings us the immediacy, power, and passion of Goethe in modern language; his translation of Part One and Part Two is probably the most literal as well as literate version in English.

 


About the Author

Dr. Thomas Wayne is an English Professor at Florida Southwestern State College in Fort Myers, Florida. He has published two translations of Nietzsche's classics with Algora Publishing, as well as Hermann Hesse's much-loved Steppenwolf, now followed by Goethe's Faust.

His approach in translating these iconoclastic German powerhouses is to return the juice the authors originally intended, with all their verve and dynamic energy. He brings alive the best of German literature for today's readers.

About the Book
Part One, the shorter, simpler, more recognized section, contains the Gretchen story and the famous blood pact between Faust and Mephistopheles. Part Two is symbolical, allegorical, and experimental; even Germans find it unintelligible without...
Part One, the shorter, simpler, more recognized section, contains the Gretchen story and the famous blood pact between Faust and Mephistopheles. Part Two is symbolical, allegorical, and experimental; even Germans find it unintelligible without hundreds of scholarly footnotes, a notion which Goethe himself scorned.

Yet Wayne's way is accessible; it conveys the energy and eccentricities of the original without extra obfuscation.the greatest work by Germany's greatest writer, brings us the immediacy, power and passion of Goethe in modern language. Like certain Biblical verses, there are some unexpected word sequences, some thorny twists and turns. But each syllable is measured, hand-picked, important, creating a dramatic poem which resonates for readers today much as it did in the early 1800s when Goethe first wrote it.

Poet, playwright, novelist, memoirist, and aphorist, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a multifaceted genius, the equivalent of Dante and Shakespeare. He put all he had into his version of Faust, the man who sold his soul to the devil for worldly fame and riches. It is a fable for today and every day.


Preface
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) stands with a few other eminences such as Dante and Cervantes close to Shakespeare at the summit of literary excellence. But this consensus, while maintaining his grand reputation, does little to illuminate...
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) stands with a few other eminences such as Dante and Cervantes close to Shakespeare at the summit of literary excellence. But this consensus, while maintaining his grand reputation, does little to illuminate his essential genius for today’s English-speaking audience. Translation from the German, as discussed below, is only part of the problem. To make his case for our time and place is more difficult largely because of the sheer breadth of his reach, the desire and attempt which we may think inordinate in this age of narrow specialization to encompass everything relevant in life — all fields of knowledge and endeavor from the arts to science and philosophy, and in every form of prose and verse.

Goethe’s greatest work is Faust, a tragedy in two parts and comprised of 12,111 lines of varied verse, over 60 diversified scenes, and a variety of characters from Greek antiquity as well as medieval Europe and contemporary Germany. Part One, the shorter, simpler, more recognized part, contains the Gretchen story and the famous blood pact between Faust and Mephistopheles. Part Two is symbolical and allegorical and experimental; even Germans find it unintelligible without hundreds of scholarly footnotes, a notion which Goethe himself scorned.

So why do, or should, we read Goethe’s Faust today? As perhaps the last major attempt to bring the most disparate historical and mythological elements — in all their irrationality and perversity — of civilization into something like a dramatic whole, it stands as a supreme monument; given the universality of theme, the scope and richness of its content, together with an impression that things are being seen sub species aeternitatis, there are gems of thought and imagery shining everywhere in kaleidoscopic, multifaceted, multifarious splendor.

What is relevant and fresh and moving is the quality of imagination, on top of wisdom and moral insight and aesthetic delight — arresting revelations of the nature of things, not necessarily in keeping with the dramatic flow but often strangely and even startlingly offbeat. This becomes particularly true for anyone in the privileged if not altogether enviable situation of translating the work line after challenging line, as Tom Wayne does here, his purpose to make this masterpiece accessible to today’s reader, leaving the crabbed, thorny thickets of so many other translations behind.

Wayne’s translation aims for simplicity, naturalness, and above all accuracy; he retains the meter and surrenders the rhymes, except in songs and choruses where it is deemed more natural and appropriate. He adds nothing extra, skips nothing essential, takes no shortcuts or sidesteps — just as literate and literal as in his previous translations of Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra, Ecce Homo & The Antichrist, and Hesse’s Steppenwolf. Only in German could one ask for more.

Roger W. Phillips, PhD
Department of Modern Foreign Languages (emeritus)
University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee


Categories

Pages 434
Year: 2016
BISAC: FIC004000 FICTION / Classics
BISAC: FIC019000 FICTION / Literary
Soft Cover
ISBN: 978-1-62894-198-2
Price: USD 24.95
Hard Cover
ISBN: 978-1-62894-199-9
Price: USD 34.95
eBook
ISBN: 978-1-62894-200-2
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