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Faust, Part One (Oxford World's Classics)
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The Faust legend is better known to English-speaking readers through Marlow's tragedy than through the later drama from Goethe, Germany's greatest author. Various 20th-century translators have tried to make Goethe's most famous work palatable to contemporary English audiences. With its facing German text, Walter Kaufmann's 1961 translation is most valuable for the serious student. Here, Greenberg has come closest to a version that might encourage stage productions. It boasts outstanding poetry and the use of the American vernacular, which makes the flavor of the original accessible to non-German speaking readers. Recommended for subject collections but also for smaller libraries wanting a good translation of this classic author.-- Ingrid Schierling, Univ. of Colorado at Colorado Springs

This difficult work has defeated many translators, not only as a result of its sophisticated verse style and varying tone but because it has dramatic flaws that Goethe's wit and lyric powers, embedded in the original, made beside the point. Greenberg's brief introduction considers this history of translators' failures and submits that what previous attempts have lacked is a natural idiom; this translator attempts ``a free-ranging diction, meters looser, often, than those Goethe uses, and a much looser rhyming made up of half rhymes, assonance, and consonance.'' Yet Greenberg's spirit of compromise is hard to accept, especially his slackening of meter. Rhymes, for their part, are usually much less than ``half,'' and the mangled stresses, particularly at line breaks, are a great loss. These disappointments are compounded by how little success Greenberg makes of his vaunted natural idiom, as shown in such lines as ``So let's hear the terms, what the fine print is; / Having you for a servant's a tricky business'' and ``Now try and tell me, you know-it-alls, / There's no such thing as miracles!'' Rather than engaging a living language, he seems to look for idiom in pastiches of jargon. (Dec.)

`Luke has done us all - including, if one may say so, Goethe - a potently good turn. We should take advantage of it.' D.J. Enright, Observer `a translation "for our time" without signs of strain.' D. J. Enright, The Observer `At last! A translation of Goethe's masterpiece which reads like a masterpiece in English. David Luke conveys the meaning, intellectual passion and Byronic raciness of the original. This is a poet's as well as a scholar's version, for David Luke has written original poems of great distinction.' Stephen Spender, Spectator 'scrupulous and well-informed, backed up by scholarly clarification of the text's difficult history ... one of the most spirited efforts to capture the great poetic drama' Independent 'a translation of really poetic quality, preceded by an informative introduction and a most useful synopsis of the various stages of composition of the drama ... This reissue is most welcome: for over and above having available for the non-Germanist an English version of this novel.' The Classical Era 'signs of struggle are remarkably few ... The price he pays for rhyming is never too high, and the profits are immense. Michael Hamburger once noted that while Faust had been translated again and again, no single version had established itself as a standard text for the English-speaking world. With his Parts One and Two, both in Oxford University Press World's Classics, Luke has provided us with exactly that.' Times Literary Supplement

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