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Faust: First Part (1988)

Faust: First Part (1988)

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3.92 of 5 Votes: 2
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0553213482 (ISBN13: 9780553213485)
bantam classics

About book Faust: First Part (1988)

First impression: Goethe could write his tuckus off. Rarely have I encountered prose that commingles in such bounty the trifecta of being, at once, gorgeous to the eye, imbued with passion and saturated with depth and meaning. Faust has all three and I was pulled into the seductive narrative from the momentous opening (wonderfully titled “Prologue from Heaven”) through the final dramatic climax.I must briefly pause here to add a qualifier to my comments which relate to the version I experienced and not to my enjoyment of it.***, usually a professional, high quality purveyor pulled a bit of a bamboozle on me in this case. I acquired the “unabridged” reading (by full cast) which came in at 4 hours in length. Now, that is just about right for Part 1 of Faust and so I thought I was in for a treat as I listened along with my own copy of the novel. Turns out, much to my chagrin, that the 4 hours was an “adaptation” of both Parts 1 and 2. Thus, as wonderful as the experience was, I did not get a chance to absorb all of the detail and nuances of the story.I plan to read the complete Faust (Parts 1 and 2) in the future and will share my thoughts on the work as a whole at that time. ***End sad story pauseSo God, like a lonely parent maybe in need of a hug, allows Satan to throw a temptation Faust’s way to prove that the man is still “of the flock” in a scaled down, boil-free, version of the Book of Job. As my introductory quote illustrates, Faust is a brilliant scholar who has completed a study of all the world’s knowledge (and I thought I read a lot) and yet feels no wiser for the accomplishment. Feeling that there is more to existence than rote knowledge of the past (which echoes Goethe’s own belief in the primacy of emotion over reason) Faust longs for deeper meaning and understanding that is hidden from him. He becomes depressed and contemplating suicide (Goethe’s non-subtle hint that Faust’s faith is more than a tad shaky allow the Devil "access" to him).Faust is visited by Mephistopheles and offered a life of hedonistic excess and earthly pleasures as a means of gaining greater understanding of the universe. Faust, who apparently had never watched any episodes of The Twilight Zone, foolishly agrees and bargains away his soul. Faust will die and the Devil will win if Faust can ever be made to be “content” with a moment in his life. If ever I lie down in sloth and base inaction, / Then let that moment be my end! / If by your false cajolery / You lull me into self-sufficiency, / If any pleasure you can give / Deludes me, let me cease to live! / I offer you this wager!" From here the two take flight (literary) on a world-wind tour of debauchery and more debauchery. “Let's plunge ourselves into the roar of time, the whirl of accident; may pain and pleasure, success and failure, shift as they will -- it's only action that can make a man.”Soon after this, we are introduced to Gretchen, the other main player in this tragedy, whose relationship with Faust will explore key issues of faith and redemption. It was this relationship that I thought received the shortest shrift in the adaptation that I listened to so I will leave further thoughts on this until I have experienced the complete work. The language is gorgeous and drips emotion on almost every line. Some might think this falls too far into the realm of melodrama, but I loved it and found it vigorous and passionate. The end is wonderful with the necessary questions answered but certain larger queries left for us to contemplate. A wonderful experience (abridged though it may have been) and one that I strongly encourage everyone to read. 4.0 stars. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!P.S. I didn’t have a place to slide this into my review, but I wanted to share one last quote from the story, this one from the devil. He and Faust have begun their tour of vice and come across a coven of witches who don’t recognize the Prince of Lies. "Do you know me now? Skinny, cadaverous bitch, / do you know your lord and master? Why don't I / Smash you to pieces, tell me why, / You and your ape-familiars? Must I teach / You some respect for my red doublet? What / Is this cock's feather, eh? My face / have I been hiding it? You learn your place, / Old hag! Am I to name myself or not?"Good, good stuff.

Who knew that this book, one of the most famous in literature, was actually two separate works that seem only slightly related? I certainly didn't. The first part is a fairly ordinary play that gets dunked in profundity through the inclusion of Mephistopheles. There are only a few main characters here, and there wasn't much depth to any of them. I've heard that the German is tremendously good, but it's impossible for me to judge. I switched back and forth in this part between two different translations. I liked the free kindle version better than my Oxford edition, but I wasn't really taken in with the language of either, except in some small parts. On its own, I have to say that I enjoyed the first part.The second part is unlike anything I've ever read. If I didn't know that it had been invented in my lifetime, I'd swear that Goethe got himself into some very, very fine LSD. It's very weird, jumps all over the place, and gives the impression that anything, no matter how fantastical, could be made to occur. It feels like it could never be produced as a play. There are way too many speakers -- I hesitate to call any of them characters. In this second part, a mood might start talking, or a mythological creature, or an inanimate object, or anything at all for that matter. And I have no idea how, if staged, anyone would know which "character" was speaking at any time. (Unless, like in a childrens play, Thales or Speed-Booty, wore a placard saying who he was.)The stage directions can be just as dumbfounding. At one point, one direction says: "To the younger members of the audience who did not applaud." Now how exactly is one supposed to pull that direction off in a manner that is at all intelligible? What if the entire audience applauded? It is one of the stranger directions I've ever seen in a play, and it made me think that Goethe may have been over a hundred years ahead of his time. Or maybe he just realized that this was a "play" that would only ever be read, and he was just having some fun with the directions. Ultimately, this work is a long piece of lyric poetry, and I'm willing to accept that in German it is remarkably great poetry. I suppose that people who don't speak English might have just as hard a time figuring out what's so great about Shakespeare, and that makes me sad. But, reading Proust made me decide to learn French. I never felt anything like that tug towards German while reading Faust.

Do You like book Faust: First Part (1988)?

this book is a treasure and a very rare treasure..i read most of the pages twice to satisfy my eyes with those words ..(lets not forget the big work the translator made) ** David Luke ** in my opinion the award of greatest translation of any work should go to David Luke he deserve it.mmmm what else should i write ... inspiring, you can live the moment both in tragedy and thrilling situation.. the ending of the part one WOW i will run to the libraries to search for the second part ** i hope i can find it with David Luke translation.Goethe i am your newest fan..."you not recognize your lord and master here before your eyesyou scare crow what shall hold my sentence backthe blots you out you and your monkey packsee you scarlet jerkin and not trembletoo blind the cockerel's feather to perceivewhen have you known my countenance dissembleor must i wear my title on my sleeve"
—Arto Marashelian

My review:Faust is the classic tale of man's introspection in his pursuit of life, where great wisdom brings greater bruden. Finished in 1832, this 'closet drama' has a gothic style with all advantages of Elizabethan inspiration from the likes of Shakespeare and every scientific, religious, philosophical, achaeological... engineering down to the kitchen sink available to him. Really--if you're the type who likes to look into your authors, Goethe is a fascinating genius of a man. Like most people with a story to be told, he projects himself into the shoes of Faust quite fluently.To keep my synposis brief, Heinrich Faust is a dying breed among the world's professions: the alchemist--a scientist of worldly metals and unworldly essences, forever searching for the universal and complete truth. In the beginning, god and Mephistopholes (Satan) are chatting before the pearly gates about the weakness of mortals and eventually their challenging opinions come to a bet against the soul of Faust. God Believes that Faust, although capable of unwholesome things, being a creature of several sciences, will know his soul's purity before his end, and so Satan sets out to tempt him. Some introductions follow of how inconsolable Faust has become of late, to the point that he sends an understudy away to take his own life, but he is stopped and so Satan and Faust meet. Faust, being the scholar that he is, eventually agrees to Satan's promise but on an oath agreeing that only if Faust should attain a moment so blissful that he wished it would last forever would Satan have his soul. Now, on to the slightly more interesting stuff.Faust is divided into two parts. For those of you who really like to look into an author's work, this is a diamond mine for you. Looking at Goethe's life will reveal deep personal connection, but even on the surface this division on plots sets the stage for parallelisms between Faust's life, painstakingly placed enigmas between two lovers Faust has and their reasons for failed fatherhood. Although there were not as many conflicts/arguments of spirituality, philosophy, or even sinful knowledge as I would have liked, I think the neutrality is a design of enjoyment.Like most pieces of the great art (har har, it's an alchemy pun!) Faust is written in in more rhyme/meter than it is prose; because the piece is written and translated beyond the period of nominative pronouns like thy and thou, this makes the reading flow like textual ambrosia for even the most modernized reader. That being said, it is a very long imbibe in two parts. I strongly recommend this book to anyone of its intended religious audience as well as anyone who can just enjoy a good smart-read.

'Through many a long day you'll be taughtThat what you once did without thinking,As easy as if it were eating or drinking,Must be done in order: one! two! three!But truly, this though factory of oursIs like some weaver's masterpiece:One treadle stirs a thousand threads,This way and that the shuttles whistle,Threads flow invisibly, one ... strokeTies a thousand knots .... The philosopher steps inAnd proves to you it had to be so;The first was so, the second was so,And therefore the third and fourth were so.If the first and second hadn't existed,The third and fourth would never have existed.And this is praised by every scholar,But never a one becomes a weaver.To know and describe a living thingYou first get rid of all its spirit:Then the parts are all in the palm of your hand,And all that you lack is the spirit that binds them!Encheiresis naturae, chemists call it,And fool themselves and never know it'
—Terry Clague

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