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Goethe's Faust


The legend of Faust grew up in the sixteenth century, a time of transition between medieval and modern culture in Germany. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) adopted the story of the wandering conjuror who accepts Mephistopheles's offer of a pact, selling his soul for the devil's greater knowledge; over a period of 60 years he produced one of the greatest dramatic and poetic masterpieces of European literature.

The best translation of Faust available, this volume provides the original German text and its English counterpart on facing pages. Walter Kaufmann's translation conveys the poetic beauty and rhythm as well as the complex depth of Goethe's language. Includes Part One and selections from Part Two.

"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


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