Goethe's Faust, Part I (Paperback)
A New American Version
New Directions, 9780811200561, 192pp.
Publication Date: January 17, 1957
Goethe said that all his works were "one long confession," and certainly into Faust, this greatest masterwork of German literature, on which he worked sixty years, he welded his own search for meaning of existence and of the soul.
From the wager between God and Mephistopheles and the pact Faust makes with the latter—that this genial, urbane devil could have his soul if ever Faust became satisfied with any experience or knowledge Mephistopheles could show him—the drama unfolds in scenes that are human and compelling, that hold the reader by their despair and ecstasy, their tender love, passionate desire and wisdom, but also by their gaiety, humor, and irony. As Faust proceeds with his devilish guide, it is his striving for understanding that becomes important, not the attainment, and in fact this is what saves him in the end.
Part I of Faust, which Goethe published twenty-four years before its sequel, deals with Faust's journey through the everyday world and his love for Gretchen. It is made especially memorable in this translation, which Victor Lange, Chairman of the Department of German at Princeton, has called "certainly the most usable and most appealing Faust translation in English. It is modern without losing the dignity of the original and is perhaps the only translation that conveys something of the freshness and poetic vitality of Goethe's own speech."
About the Author
C. F. MacIntyre (1890-1967) said of himself: "My background includes the Scotch Highlands, the bluegrass hills of Kentucky and as much of Europe as I could get at various times." His mother was a student of Latin and Greek but she taught him to read Baudelaire early; his father was more interested in France and Egypt, and he read aloud to his son most of the world's classics. In late adolescence Maclntyre made many canoe and sailing trips, usually alone. He also did about 5000 miles of hoboing. He took a Ph.D. at the University of Marburg, where he fell under the spell of Gothic architecture, plainsong and stained glass. Besides his translation of of Faust, Part I, he published translations of Fifty Selected Poems by Rilke, One Hundred Poems from Les Fleurs du Mal, and Rilke's Life of the Virgin Mary. He was also known for his volumes of original verse, Cafes and Cathedrals, The Black Bulls and Poems.
Praise For Goethe's Faust, Part I: A New American Version…
— Victor Lange
Goethe is generally recognized as the greatest German of all time, and Faust as his most important single work.
— Walter Kaufmann