Faust: Parts I & II(NHB Classic Plays)

Faust: Parts I & II(NHB Classic Plays)

by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Howard Brenton

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A two-part version of Goethe's great work, retaining the mighty scope, linguistic daring and philosophical intricacy of the original.

God and Mephistopheles make a bet on who can win the soul of Dr Faust. The good doctor signs a contract that offers him boundless knowledge and sensual gratification - but on one condition...

Faust: Parts I and II was designed to be performed in two parts of two and a half hours each, but can also be cut to make one long play.

'Vigorous, colloquial and often very funny' - Guardian

'Witty and actable' - Financial Times

'Full of intellectual swagger, robust humour, driving poetical passion and barefaced cheek' - Sunday Times

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781780015576
Publisher: Hern, Nick Books
Publication date: 12/04/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 282
File size: 1 MB
Age Range: 12 Years

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Faust 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Warning--this is not the complete Faust as advertised. Only part one.
EA-Bucchianeri More than 1 year ago
Goethe¿s ¿Faust¿ is arguably the most important milestone in Romantic literature. Taking the famous medieval legend of Dr. Faustus and his pact with the devil, Goethe adapted the tale of old, and transformed it into a great love story, and a probing poetical tract on the nature of good and evil, salvation and damnation, failing and striving, the innate search for truth and lasting fulfilment.

Part One (first published 1808) features Faust¿s disgust with his life and the world at large, and attempting to unite with the Spirit of creation and soar above the petty corporality of earth, the proud old scholar is dashed to the ground, for he must first work his salvation out on earth by the sweat of his brow before he can be admitted into the presence of the Deity. In desperation, Faust tries to commit suicide, but then makes a wager with the devil: if Mephistopheles can show him that one moment of bliss he is searching for and succeeds in persuading him to cease all his human striving for that one moment, then his soul is forfeit. The devil agrees to the wager, grants Faust the gift of youth, and the adventures begin. He meets young Margareta and falls in love, a romance that leads to tragedy for the innocent maiden.

David Luke¿s award-winning translation is one of the best I have read. While the rhythms do jar on occasion, this does not take away from the `flow¿ of this rendition. There will always be discrepancies when a text is taken out of its original language in any case, so it is more constructive to concentrate on the `readability¿, this translation succeeds in portraying the mood of Goethe¿s text and the personality of his vibrant characters. In some instances, it may be argued the translation is too modern, for example, lines [2065-2070] when Mephistopheles prepares his magic flying cloak for their journey to a new life of youthful debauchery:

¿One merely spreads one¿s cloak¿you¿ll find
It give us aerial elevation.
Though, please, this bold step for mankind,
Imposes luggage-limitation.
I¿ll set the burners going, heat some air, and lo!
We travel light, the earth lies far below.¿

Did Neil Armstrong land on the moon in Goethe¿s time? Of course not, but Luke¿s witty lines humorously displays Mephistopheles¿ rakish personality and has become one of my personal favourites in this English edition.

The book features an informative introduction on Goethe¿s biography and the composition of Part One and includes a graph displaying how he edited and added to the scenes until he arrived at the text we know today.
There is also a select bibliography, a general chronology of Goethe¿s life and career, and helpful explanatory endnotes for those who wish to study the details of the text more thoroughly. For ¿Urfaust¿ scholars, Luke highlights the lines that were part of Goethe¿s early draft.

E.A. Bucchianeri, author of ¿Faust: My Soul be Damned for the World¿
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Genius for its time. It is no wonder that Mellville cites him in his work.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think that 'Faust' is a excellent book. It displays the remmicks of good and evil and respresents of how one's soul is a very important source of who one is. Goeth has really captured the true essence of the human soul.
miquixote on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What does Faust mean? Tough to find too many books more open to interpretation since Columbus landed on American soil. Obvious comparisons with Adam and Eve and the serpent: except the sinner/first one to bite the apple/knowledge-seeker here is a man (yup, feminists have jumped all over that one). interpretations still up for grab: is the sinner a rebel? overly ambitious? is wanting knowledge a deadly sin (ie. pride) -- should Faust be punished? ; or maybe the socialist interpretations are right and Mephistoles symbolizes dissidence -- truth seekers may just be rejecting oppression...down with the elites, closed minds and limited worldviews! Is Mephistopheles the tempter, trying to destroy Faust or is he freeing him? This book was also the center of a cultural war of interpretation in Germany between the Nazis and the spirit of the Weimar....we all know who won that battle... What Goethe was really trying to say, you'll have to decide for yourself...The cultural war (or class war?) is far from over...so read it!
multifaceted on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure what to think of the tone of the book over all, as I come away from it with a feeling that Faust is being condemned to the devil for seeking too much knowledge. I feel like there is also something of the old "doctor wanting to be god" joke in here, as well. But I get the feeling that, over time, Faust will come to be one of my favorite characters, along with Voltaire's Candide and Camus' Meursault. And there is definitely something "absurdly" tragic about Goethe's character, as well. Because, to me, Faust isn't just about someone who makes a deal with the devil to make his life better. Rather, it's about someone whose thirst for knowledge is never slaked, who seeks to know everything and what it's like to be everyone. Or, should I say, Faust seeks to be omniscient. (And I have to wonder, is that necessarily a bad thing? Would the world be worse off if we knew just what it was like to be the millionaire in his mansion, or the low class beggar in the city?) But to get back on track: at the same time, he realizes he is merely only a human, and he is burdened, depressed, and frenzied by the knowledge that he probably can never know everything--and there is something so full of humility, so pathetically human about his situation. This leads him to not just "make a deal" with the devil, but to acquiesce to Mephistopheles as a sort of last resort. Why not, if there is no other way he can gain omniscient knowledge, anyway? Of course, Mephistopheles makes him become enamored with a woman, and this love transports Faust, and makes him finally feel like he has gained everything he's ever wanted. Where am I going with this? I don't know, because I don't quite know what Goethe was going for, either. But Faust's words say it all the better:"And here, poor fool! with all my loreI stand, no wiser than before"
gbill on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sequels are never as good as the originals. :-( It may be sacrilege to say it and the books were meant by Goethe to be read as a unified whole, but part two diverges way too far into classical allegory for my tastes. Only for the hardcore. Bring a headlamp and leave a popcorn trail, you might get lost.Just a few quotes:On life; I thought of the mist trail in Yosemite when I read these lines:¿And so I turn, the sun upon my shoulders,To watch the water-fall, with heart elate,The cataract pouring, crashing from the boulders,Split and rejoined a thousand times in spate;The thunderous water seethes in fleecy spume,Lifted on high in many a flying plume,Above the spray-drenched air. And then how splendidTo see the rainbow rising from this rage,Now clear, now dimmed, in cool sweet vapour blended.So strive the figures on our mortal stage.This ponder well, the mystery closer seeing;In mirrored hues we have our life and being.¿On marital dissatisfaction:¿Observe the married creature:There I begin; and can in every caseThe purest bliss by idle whims deface,So varies mood and hour and human nature.And holding in his arms what most should charm him,Each fool will set his dreams on some new yearning;From highest joy, now grown familiar, turning,He shuns the sun, and takes the frost to warm him.With practiced hand I rule in these affairs,And bring in Asmodeus, trusty devil,To sow, when time is ripe, conjugal evil,And thus I wreck the human-race in pairs.¿
lizzyforshizzy More than 1 year ago
A great journey-of-the-soul type book (even if you're an atheist). Just a wonderful human argument which any and all humans experience at one time or another.
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Very cool
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