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Faust, First Part

(Goethe's Faust #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  60,804 ratings  ·  1,243 reviews
Goethe’s masterpiece and perhaps the greatest work in German literature, Faust has made the legendary German alchemist one of the central myths of the Western world. Here indeed is a monumental Faust, an audacious man boldly wagering with the devil, Mephistopheles, that no magic, sensuality, experience, or knowledge can lead him to a moment he would wish to last forever. H ...more
Paperback, German-English Edition, 327 pages
Published July 1st 1988 by Bantam Classics (first published 1808)
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Daniel Given that it's a translation of a work written in verse, different versions will be extremely different based on the translator's goals and competenc…moreGiven that it's a translation of a work written in verse, different versions will be extremely different based on the translator's goals and competency. I'm currently reading the Oxford World Classics version by David Luke. I've heard that Walter Kaufmann's translation is good as well, but he abridged the second part and I wanted to read the entire text by the same translator.(less)
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Ahmad Sharabiani
Faust: First Part (Goethe's Faust #1), Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Peter Salm (Translator)

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust is a tragic play in two parts usually known in English as Faust, Part One and Faust, Part Two.

Faust is considered by many to be Goethe's magnum opus and the greatest work of German literature.

The principal characters of Faust Part One include:

Heinrich Faust
Mephistopheles, the Devil
Gretchen, Faust's love (short for Margarete; Goethe uses both forms)
Marthe, Gretchen's neig
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: drama, favorites
I reread Faust yesterday, and it left me wondering ... pondering ... again ... as so often!

Why don't we talk more about Gretchen? And I mean Gretchen as a subject, not as a toy to be used by Faust and Mephistopheles in their joint midlife crisis distractive game?

Why don't we talk more about the amazing achievements of the modern world, in which a brother like Valentin wouldn't get to call his sister a whore for having a lover? Why don't we talk more about the bliss of choice? Gretchen today coul
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 experie
Aug 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read Johann Goethe's Faust in English and partially in German during a college course many years ago. It had a huge impact on me as a person and me as a writer. Due to it being somewhat "out there," I held back a full 5 rating; however, I cannot stress how much this book makes you think. Beware, it's a little heavy on the literary side, but it's still worth a read, even if you just read the first portion. That said, 4 out of 5 stars...

Detailed Review(about 1/3 of a paper I wrote about it a few
E. G.
Preface & Notes
Translator's Note
The Writing of 'Faust'
Further Reading

--Faust, Part I

Norah Una Sumner
A summary:


Mephistopheles: Yeah,sure thing bro,but before you do that I want to take you to this weird pub,hook you up with a minor whom you'll knock up & make you attend a completely pointless annual witch ball.Sounds good?

Faust: You had me at "hook up with a minor",bro.
Jun 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: classics
Faust is probably the most world known German poetry and translated in different languages, but can poetry be translated in a different language without loosing it‘s character and purpose?

Per definition poetry is literature that evokes a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience or a specific emotional response through language chosen and arranged for its meaning, sound, and rhythm.

I had a look at a englisch translation and depending on the translator, the writing still might have some r
Manuel Antão
Dec 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2004
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

To Plug the Mighty Hole Withal: "Faust - First Part" by Goethe

(original review, 2004)

I’m planning on spending a few weeks on Goethe’s Faust in multiple translations and as much of the German as I can manage, supplemented by hundreds of pages of notes and commentary.

I first read the book while in high school in the totally un-annotated Bayard Taylor translation from Modern Library – one of the texts I’m currently reading. I’m still pret
Dear friend, all theory is gray, and green the golden tree of life.

What else to say? Towering as an archetype, akin to Hamlet, the Inferno and White Whale -- this tale of pact has been absorbed into a our cultural bones, like an isotope. It is more telling to consider that I listened to Tavener while reading this. I recently gave Pandora a spin but found that I owned more Schnittke than was afforded by my"station" but if I leave such, will I miss those Penn Station ads?

I will say that I should'v
Sep 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Faust by Goethe was the very first book (apart from textbooks, of course) I ever put my hands on. It was assigned to me when I was in middle school for my Spanish class. I know it's a German play, but the teacher was encouraging us to read by asking the whole classroom to donate a book for the course, put it in a box with the others and then randomly pick up one of them each month — now that I think of it, the teacher should have payed more attention to the books we brought, since I don't think  ...more
Oct 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
There's something discomforting about the vague moral convictions of Goethe's Faust character. One would assume, that even a scholar living in Goethe's time would find the typical preoccupations of Christian morality somewhat boring, if not basically delusional and overzealous. After all, the cacophony of self-doubt racing through his mind is not initially brought on by anything that resembles religious guilt. He's a man plagued by the hermetic stuffiness of a lifestyle of perpetual deep thought ...more
Mar 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Not since watching Breaking Bad have I been so enthralled by a man's descent into depravity. ...more
Michael Finocchiaro
Goethe's Faust, particularly the first part is one of the monuments of western literature. The characters of Mephisto, Faust and Margarite and unforgettable. It has, of course inspired operas from Berlioz to Busoni and books writers such as Thomas Mann. It was actually adapted from an earlier version by Christopher Marlowe but Goethe's version is even more sinister and lifelike. a Must! ...more
Duffy Pratt
May 18, 2010 rated it it was ok
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 trans ...more
Oct 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Goethe’s Faust is a novel rich in metaphor, elaborate verse, imagery, depth, and meaning that not only employs symbolic characters and scenes, but also through such literary techniques weaves its main philosophy of striving and experience as mankind’s rightful path.

Ironically, Faust reveals his disapproval for books as a true source of knowledge in understanding the world; we must turn to life and living, and experience instead. I call this ironic because while he denounces books, Faust is a bo
Ivana Books Are Magic
I did like the first part more than the second one, but I must admit that I prefer the Marlowe's version. I suppose that is a very plain way of putting it, but there it is. I do see why Goethe's Faust is a classic. It is a highly praised book and deserving so. It is in many ways a timeless work, but it is not one of my favourite ones. Personally, I couldn't connect with this work of art on a deeper level.

Faust is known for the power of its language. Some of it might be lost in translation, I ca
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Sitting on the shelf with the children of Homer, Virgil, Dante, Shakespeare, Milton and Coleridge, Goethe's Faust is amazing in its poetry and depth. There are parts of this play/poem which seem to capture the whole drama of Man's fall and redemption within a single rhyming couplet. David Constantine's translation modernizes this amazing piece of High German lit, but George Madison Priest's translation seems, at least to me, to have a more seductive flow and more tempting poetry. ...more
What a tragedy! How beautifully, subtly crafted. This was one of the most heart wrenching books I've read in a long time. ...more
Mar 03, 2018 rated it liked it
This was assigned reading for university.

I was quite confused and disconnected from the play as I read it. Although I did understand and could follow what was happening, I was lost as to the relevance of the play. I did not enjoy reading it.

But then I continued on to analysing the play and studying it - and there was where I discovered its worth, the themes it discusses and could appreciate the wit and aim of the play more. But it still couldn't be counted as an enjoyable or very enlightening
Boy…this is very dramatic, isn’t it?

Philosophy, blasphemy, sorcery, seduction, murder and orgy–oh my!

So at the roaring loam of time
I weave the godhead’s living garment.

I didn’t have the kind of education in which this book was required reading - not that I ever really bothered to read whatever was required anyway. And failing to remember “Goethe” in answer to an IQ question 10 years ago has ever since bothered me to some degree or another. But if such things were in the works to ensure that when I did read this book I would be mos
Jan 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tricksters make this world...

Lord to Mephisto: "And never come but finding fault always? Never a thing on earth gives you content?"

The first conversation between the Lord and Mephisto begins with Mephisto's discontentment towards people in earth. He cannot understand the disparity between humans. The discontentment isn't really a discontentment but inability to accept the things the way they are. Isn't that ambition all about? He doesn't say that out loud but its given to him as an answer by the
Wiebke (1book1review)
Kinda grateful I didn't read this in school. I would have hated it and probably not understood the writing as well as now. I actually really enjoyed the writing a lot more than I had thought I would.
On the other hand I kinda miss reading this slow as you do in school and discuss different sections on the way. I tend to not go beyond my own ideas and understanding when I read a book on my own.

I also need to say a few words on the audiobook I listened to, Jürgen Fritsche does an amazing job at nar
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.





Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
yep, i have the same reason to be here as everyone else; this was assigned reading in high school and probably will be for a very long time to come just as many generations had to read this before.

and, to be honest, this wasn't as bad as i thought it would be. surely, there was a lot of confusion, nonsense (seriously, what was this witch ball and especially the play after that about?? some shakespeare reference???), weird witches and singing ghosts.

but i really have to give goethe credit for a
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What is Faust?

To me, there is no answer to that question. Faust evades description and assignment. It is many things at once: pure poetry, closet play, classical tragedy, and even comedy. It is irreverent to its own material, changing in focus and mood at whim. Goethe shamelessly cuts into the most dramatic moments of the Gretchen tragedy to include completely spurious epigrams. At a glance, the wager between Faust and Mephistopheles seems almost tacked on to the parts dealing with his relati
Sara Jovanovic
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
When I was reading Ulysses, I thought Circe chapter was crazy and wondered why Joyce immersed himself as much into creating that play like chapter. Older plays aren't as dramatic, are they? But now I understand why. Because this was insane.

I debated for so long during my reading time whether to give this one or two stars. At the end, I decided it was worth two. It isn't the worst book I've ever read, but I definitely didn't enjoyed it. So what exactly made me raise my rating? I have to say that
aPriL does feral sometimes
Apr 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary
Brilliant. Cannot be read fast and cannot be read once. Definitely stopped me with cold shivers when the genius of the writing surprised me at my first reading. I had no idea if what was possible in writing until I started reading the Great Books. If the play of smart writing rings a bell within you, you have to read a good version of this.
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This beautiful translation of this amazing book is a must read. It is a thought provoking cautionary tale that I cannot wait to discuss with the group of women I am reading it with. Now to see if part two is as good.
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
summary/review 1 7 Jan 16, 2017 08:51AM  
Best Modern Version of Faust 1 40 Jun 07, 2014 07:34AM  
Classic Literature - Pretentious or Valid? 21 290 Jun 07, 2014 07:22AM  
Gothic Literature: Faust, by Goethe Part one (i-XXV) 16 79 Mar 11, 2014 05:33AM  
Brain Pain: Discussion - Week Four - Faust Part Two - p. 135 - 240 3 11 Mar 03, 2013 01:27AM  
Brain Pain: Discussion - Week Three - Faust Part Two - p. 135 - 240 7 7 Mar 03, 2013 01:06AM  
Brain Pain: Discussion - Week Two - Faust Part One - p. 63 - 133 27 30 Feb 18, 2013 04:29PM  

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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer. George Eliot called him "Germany's greatest man of letters... and the last true polymath to walk the earth." Goethe's works span the fields of poetry, drama, literature, theology, humanism, and science. Goethe's magnum opus, lauded as one of the peaks of world literature, is the two-part drama Faust. Goethe's other well-known literary works include h ...more

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