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Faust; a Tragedy, Translated from the German of Goethe   By: (1749-1832)

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In Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's rendition of Faust; a Tragedy, readers are immersed in a literary masterpiece that seamlessly blends philosophy, morality, and the human condition. This translation of the renowned German play captivates with its profound messages, vivid characters, and poetic language.

The story follows Faust, an ambitious and disillusioned scholar, who makes a Faustian pact with the devil, Mephistopheles. Driven by his insatiable thirst for knowledge and experience, Faust surrenders his soul in exchange for worldly pleasure and wisdom. As the narrative unfolds, readers are taken on a captivating journey through Faust's moral dilemmas, personal struggles, and ultimate redemption.

Goethe's brilliance lies in his ability to explore complex themes and ideals through richly developed characters. Faust's internal conflicts serve as a mirror to the human struggle between good and evil, and the consequences of one's actions. Through Faust's character development, Goethe effectively portrays the inherent flaws and desires that lie within each individual.

The poetic language throughout the play adds depth and beauty to the narrative. Goethe's mastery of verse is evident in the lyrical and rhythmic quality of the text, enhancing the emotional impact of the story. This translation does justice to the original German work, maintaining the integrity of Goethe's poetic expressions and allowing readers to appreciate the artistry of his writing.

Furthermore, Goethe's exploration of morality, the limits of human endeavor, and the pursuit of knowledge are themes that remain timeless and relevant even to this day. The examination of Faust's desires and his eventual redemption speaks to universal struggles and the complexities of the human experience. Through his cautionary tale, Goethe challenges readers to reflect on their own desires and the choices they make in pursuit of their ambitions.

The translation, though crafted with care and attention, may occasionally feel dense due to the complexity of the original German text. Some readers might find themselves needing to reread certain passages to fully grasp the nuances of the work. However, this is a minor drawback that does not detract from the overall quality of the translation or the power of Goethe's story.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust; a Tragedy is a literary masterpiece that continues to captivate readers centuries after its original publication. With its profound themes, compelling characters, and poetic language, this translation successfully brings Goethe's vision to life. It stands as a testament to the enduring power of storytelling and the exploration of the human condition.

First Page:












Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856, by CHARLES T. BROOKS, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Rhode Island.



Perhaps some apology ought to be given to English scholars, that is, those who do not know German, (to those, at least, who do not know what sort of a thing Faust is in the original,) for offering another translation to the public, of a poem which has been already translated, not only in a literal prose form, but also, twenty or thirty times, in metre, and sometimes with great spirit, beauty, and power.

The author of the present version, then, has no knowledge that a rendering of this wonderful poem into the exact and ever changing metre of the original has, until now, been so much as attempted. To name only one defect, the very best versions which he has seen neglect to follow the exquisite artist in the evidently planned and orderly intermixing of male and female rhymes, i.e. rhymes which fall on the last syllable and those which fall on the last but one. Now, every careful student of the versification of Faust must feel and see that Goethe did not intersperse the one kind of rhyme with the other, at random, as those translators do; who, also, give the female rhyme (on which the vivacity of dialogue and description often so much depends,) in so small a proportion... Continue reading book >>

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