'The corpse is prone and when the spirit flies
I show her my entitlement, blood-signed'
After the sorrowful loss of his beloved Gretchen, the soul-sold Faust is tempted by the demon Mephistopheles with the grandest distractions of politics and power. Eager for new sensations, Faust calls for a vision of the unsurpassed beauty of Helen of Troy, and then, overwhelmed, for her to be brought back from the underworld and delivered to him bodily. But even this does not bring contentment, or satisfy his appetite for fresh experience. Completed a few months before Goethe's death, the concluding part of his masterpiece is a rich and allusive work, weaving together a wealth of diverse philosophical ideas and influences, reworking the medieval myth of Dr Faustus and speculating upon the search for truth in the Age of Enlightenment.
David Constantine's major new translation includes a preface by A. S. Byatt on Goethe's Faust and other representations of the character throughout literature. This edition also includes an introduction by Constantine, chronology, notes, a synopsis of each scene and further reading.
Translated with an introduction and notes by DAVID CONSTANTINE and with a preface by A. S. BYATT
About The Author
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born in Frankfurt-on-Main in 1749. He studied at Leipzig, where he showed interest in the occult, and at Strassburg, where Herder introduced him to Shakespeare’s works and to folk poetry. He produced some essays and lyrical verse, and at twenty-two wrote Götz von Berlichingen, a play which brought him national fame and established him in the current Sturm und Drang movement. This was followed by the novel The Sorrows of Young Werther in 1774, which was an even greater success.
Goethe began work on Faust, and Egmont, another tragedy before being invited to join the government of Weimar. His interest in the classical world led him to leave suddenly for Italy in 1786 and the Italian Journey recounts his travels there. Iphigenia in Tauris and Torquato Tasso, classical dramas, were written at this time. Returning to Weimar, Goethe started the second part of Faust, encouraged by Schiller. In 1806 he married Christiane Vulpius.
During this late period he finished his series of Wilhelm Master books and wrote many other works, including The Oriental Divan (1819). He also directed the State Theatre and worked on scientific theories in evolutionary botany, anatomy and color. Goethe completed Faust in 1832, just before he died.
- One of those great works of literature into which a writer has been able to combine his ranging preoccupations and understanding as he worked.- -A. S. Byatt, from the Preface
Series: Penguin Classics
For Ages: 18+ years old
Number Of Pages: 384
Published: 1st June 2009
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.6 x 13.0 x 2.3
Weight (kg): 0.29
Edition Number: 2