Please can someone who knows Faust in the original German recommend a reliable and worthwhile English translation?
Hi, I'm a long time reader, first time poster to this forum. Anyway, the entry said to start my first post today so here I go. Faust is my absolute favorite book, I have many copies but I always like the Bayard Taylor translation, it is so poetic and I think really captures the essence of the original german version. (I have several of the german copies too). Anyway, I was very surprised to find a totally new publish book of the Taylor translation on Amazon.com today. The cover was really cool, it was modern, so many of the other re-hashes are so boring, like the last one I bought from Penguin, blah! I never heard of this new publish company but I've ordered a copy and will fill you in after I receive it. Am I allowed to put a link in my post? Here it is, my apologies if this is out of line: amazon.com/Faust-Bayard-Taylor/dp/B00196CRJG/ref=sr_1_18?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1212718604&sr=8-18 If not allowed, I'm really sorry, but you can find it by searching in Amazon "Faust Bayard Taylor" it's like the 17th entry in the list - there's probably other ways of finding it but that's I how found it. Anyway you can't miss the cover, I thought it was cool, so figured this would be a good first post subject for me. Thanks! W.
There are many ways to read “Faust” by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe. It can be compared to walking a path through a woods. The path can simply be the means to go from Point A to Point B; or, the journey itself can be an adventure. And, even if it is decided that the journey is to be an adventure in itself, there are levels of immersion in the experience. Observations can be limited to general notice of the trees, shrubs, plants, and wildlife along the path; or, given more time, identification of the flora, fauna, and features of the landscape can be made. And, given the person has the interest, a few steps can be taken off the path to more closely observe the plants, animals, and geology that is not easily discernable to someone directly on the path. Explore long enough and one might even connect with the spirit of the woodlands. To make the reading of “Faust” into an adventure of discovery and enlightenment, the reader has to be willing to make adjustments to his/her viewing point. This book was not written by a stalwart in the mainstream of a rationalism. Goethe was born on August 28th, 1749, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The range of Goethe‘s interests and pursuits is astounding. He first studied law in college. Then, while recuperating from a life-threatening illness, he read many books on mystical subjects, including books on alchemy written by such men as Paracelsus, Basilius Valentinus, and Franciscus Mercurius van Helment. From this period forward, he also created lyric poetry. Soon, he became the personal advisor and counselor of Karl August, Duke of Sachse-Weimer. In this capacity, his duties and responsibilities were many and diverse. He handled not only social matters such as correspondences, interviews, conferences, and travel; but, also, duties such as serving as inspector of mines. He was also, for a period of two years, the director of the Weimer Theatre. During his tenure he only supervised stage productions but also wrote plays. Natural science, history, and folklore were lifelong interests. Though out his life, Goethe was a keen observer of nature and pursuing scientific studies. His publications in this area include a work on the archetypal stages of development in plants, a study of optics, and a study of the colors created from light. Arguably, Goethe was a true “Renaissance Man” who strove to learn much in a great number of areas of study. “Faust” was written over a period of 60 years. It was completed shortly before Goethe’s death on March 23rd, 1832. In an essay, Tom Raines, clues readers into what appears to be the viewing point of Goethe: “A contemporary of Goethe’s, born some six years before him, was the philosopher Kant, whose ideas still stand behind much of our modern thinking. It was Kant who stated that the type of intelligence necessary to know these hidden processes in organic nature would be an intuitive intellect – intellectus archetypus – that, Kant asserted, was beyond the capacity of humankind. Nature, when revealed, manifests both the truth of scientific knowledge and the beauty of the creative act. But these were separate for Kant: Science was separated from Art. Goethe, however, brought art into his approach to science and made of them a unity. He did an enormous research work on how to observe Nature and in so doing brought a new approach to natural science. He was both a student and a ‘revealer’ in artistic form, of the secrets of inner human nature and the outer manifestations of ‘Mother’ nature. His own experiences showed him that through a willingness to observe with the senses, free of any preconceptions, deepening this process to the point of becoming aware of one’s inner responses, then one could come to an intuitive knowing of Nature’s hidden processes. He held the conviction that both art and science led to, and sprang from, the ‘primal source of all being’ out of which came the whole of creation.” So, for those of us firmly rooted in reasoning, logic, and, rationalism of today, many preconceptions and premises need to be set aside in order to experience the rhetorical and metaphysical feast Goethe sets for the reader willing to sample the exotic and often complex dishes. Another facet of reading “Faust” is seeking out language that closely conveys the original meaning in the German text. Readers need to be realize that many translations do not carry alchemical and mystical references that were included in the original work. If one is interested in exploring the multi-faceted text created by Goethe, one needs to search out a work by a translator who was sympathetic to the hermetic tradition--or who did not remove key words through sheer ignorance. In truth, it may be easier to study Faust by reading two translations--one with a more modern English usage so that the plot can be followed; and, a second one that retains the arcane language and esoteric flavor of the original work. As an example of what it can be easy for a reader to miss, let us consider the Prologue. The Prologue is set in Heaven and three archangels are addressing God. Raphael, is the first to speak: "The sun-orb sings, in emulation, ‘Mid brother-spheres, his ancient round: His path predestined through Creation He ends with steps of thunder-sound. The angels from his visage splendid Draw power, whose measure none can say; The lofty works, uncomprehended, Are bright as on the earliest day." While it is easily discernable to most that this paragraph pertains to the Sun moving through space, what might be missed is that this passage pertains to an ancient theory pertaining to our solar system. The singing of the sun refers to the “harmony of the spheres” in which each planet was said to emit a tone which blended together into a heavenly tune. This planetary harmonic concept is known in Latin as Musica universalis. Musica universalis (or music of the spheres) is an ancient philosophical concept that regards proportions in the movements of celestial bodies — the Sun, Moon, and planets — as a form of musica (the Medieval Latin name for music). Some maintain that this 'music' is not literally audible, but simply a harmonic and/or mathematical concept. The Greek philosopher Pythagoras is frequently credited with originating the concept, which stemmed from his semi-mystical, semi-mathematical philosophy and its associated system of numerology of Pythagoreanism. It is written that Pythagoras said he could actually hear the harmony of the planets. Samsara
I am new to this site... so hopefully I am doing this correctly. I am reading Goethe's Faust. Actually, I have read it, and I did really enjoy it. I was just wondering if anyone could find a significance to Faust's line "Who will teach me? What must I avoid?" I had to write a paper on it and I got it done, but I just hope I was right. I was wondering if any of you had any ideas on the matter. Thanks!
In Part One, Scene V, of Faust, by Goethe, Mephistopheles, while in a tavern, sings a song about a black flea in the court of a king. In way of introducing the song, he mentions that he had recently been in Spain. I am wondering what was the source of the song? At this point, I have deduced that the king must be King Charles IV of Spain and the “flea” could be Manual de Godoy, who rose up from the military ranks to become Prime Minister of Spain. While Godoy was in the favor of Queen Maria Luisa, it is written that his government was corrupt and that he was not well liked by citizens of Spain. In fact, according to one article I read, "....after Charles IV’s first abdication. Godoy who was captured and mauled by a mob in Aranjuez, was rescued by the French and sent to France. He died in Paris." Can anyone confirm this theory or provide other information? The text I am using is an English translation of Faust, in the original meters, by Bayard Taylor, which had an original copyright date of 1870. The words to the song are as follows: MEPHISTOPHELES (sings) “There was a king once reigning, Who had a big black flea, And loved him past all explaining, As his own son were he. He called his man of stitches; The tailor came straightway: Here, measure the lad for breeches. And measure his coat, I say! BRANDER But mind, allow the tailor no caprices: Enjoin upon him, as his head is dear, To most exactly measure, sew and shear, So that the breeches have no creases! MEPHISTOPHELES In silk and velvet gleaming He now was wholly drest-- Had a coat with ribbons streaming, A cross upon his breast. He had the first of stations, A minister’s star and name; And also all his relations Great lords at court became. And the lords and ladies of honor Were plagued, awake and in bed; The queen she got them upon her, The maids were bitten and bled. And they did not dare to brush them, Or scratch them, day or night: We crack them and we crush them, At once, whene’er they bite. CHORUS We crack them and we crush them, At once, whene’er they bite.” Thanks for any help! Susan
"Raphael: The sun-orb sings, in emulation, Mid brother spheres, in his ancient round: His path predestined through Creation He ends with step of thunder-sound. The angels from his visage splendid Draw power, whose measure none can say; The lofty worlds, uncomprehended, Are bright as on the earliest day. Gabriel: And swift, and swift beyond conceiving, The splendor of the world goes round, Day's Eden-brightness still relieves The awful Night's intense profound: The ocean-tides in foam are breaking, Against the rocks' deep bases hurled, And both, the spheric race partaking, Eternal, swift, are onward whirled. Michael And rival storms abroad are surging From seas to land, and land to sea. A chain of deepest action forging Round all, in wrathful energy. There flames a desolation, blazing Before the Thunder's crashing way: Yet, Lord, thy messengers are praising The gentle movement of Thy day. The Three Though still by them uncomprehended, From these the angels draw their power, And all Thy works, sublime and splendid, Are bright as in Creation's hour. Mephistopheles Since Thou, o Lord. deign'st to approach again And ask us how we do, in manner kindest, And heretofore to meat myself wert fain, Among thy menials, now, my face though findest. Pardon, this troop I cannot follow after With lofty speech, though by them scorned and spurned: My pathos certainly would move thee to laughter, If Thou hadst not all merriment unlearned. Of suns and worlds I've nothing to be quoted: How men torment themselves, is all I've noted. The little god o' the world sticks to the same old way, And is as whimsical as on Creation's day, Life somewhat better might content him, But for the gleam of heavenly light which Thou has lent him: He calls it Reason--thence his power's increased, to be far beastlier than any beast. Saving Thy Gracious Presence, he to me A long-legged grasshopper appears to be, That springing flies. and flying springs, And in the grass the same old ditty sings. Would he still lay among the grass he grows in! Each bit of dung he seeks, to stick his nose in. The Lord Hast thou, then, nothing more to mention? Come'st ever, thus, with ill intention? Find'st nothing right on earth, eternally? Mephistopheles No, Lord! I find thing, there, still as they can be. Man's misery even to pity moves my nature; I've scarce the heart to plague the wretched creature” The above quotation is from an English translation of Faust, in the original meters, by Bayard Taylor, which had an original copyright date of 1870. This version retains many references to Hermetics, astrology, and alchemy. For instance, in the very Prologue (cited above), Goethe describes the condition of the universe (macrocosm) and humanity which reflect the Hermetic principle of “As above, So below.” Also in Part One, Scene 2, “Before the City Gate,” the author clearly proclaims his knowledge of alchemy when Faust states: "My Father's was a sombre, brooding brain, which through the holy spheres of nature groped and wandered, with labor whimsical, and pain; Who, in his dusky workshop bending, With proved adepts in company, Made from his recipes unending, Opposing substances agree. There was a Lion red, a wooer daring, Within the Lily's tepid bath espoused, A both, tormented by the flame unsparing, By turns in either bridal chamber housed, If then appeared, with colors splendid, The young queen in her crystal shell, This was the medicine--the patients' woes soon ended, And none demanded: who got well? Thus we, our hellish boluses compounding, among these vales and hills surrounding, Worse than pestilence, have passed. Thousands were done to death from poison of my giving; And I must hear, by all the living, The shameless murderers praised at last!" Yet, within this same quotation, Goethe’s Faust establishes that he, himself, saw only bad in the alchemical practices of his father. And, thoughout the early chapters there is evidence that the younger Dr. Faust has abandoned much of the alchemical practices while he still pursues Hermetic practices such the invoking of Spirits. Given the vastly different scientific and cultural views of the world we now live in as compared to when Faust was written (and translated), I am looking for others who have read a translation which retained the original focus on Romantic thought as well as the Hermetic, astrological and alchemical aspects of the works. I am hoping to discuss these aspects in respect to main theme (s) of the book. For instance, I would like to discuss the varying levels of interpretation of the alchemical process sited above such as the a whole layer of alchemical symbolic pertaining to the colors of the lion and the lily as well as the actual process of which the goal was to produce an elixir to be used as medicine against the plague. For instance, with the imagery of marriage, a union occurs between the masculine Scarlet Lion (perhaps, reddish mercuric oxide) and the feminine lily (perhaps, hydrochloric acid) which are heated over a flame to yield the offspring of the young queen. At the same time, the analogy of the red lion and the lily can refer to the raw material of our experience, our thoughts and feelings, and the metaphysical goal to reach a direct Gnostic of reality. I am hopeful others who share my interest will join in the discourse.
I know that the real Faust(us) was a magician (doctor?) (and people would say that he sold his soul and that he practiced the "dark arts") and he became legend. That I know of, there are two Faust(us) plays. Anyone out there know who wrote their version first? was it von Goethe or Christopher Marlowe? (both versions have a different title) one of 'em is called "The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus" (something like that)
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust In English Please. It is old enough that copywrite can't apply... I think... I mean... it is written by Geothe...
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