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Book Title: Faustus: From the German of Goethe Translated by Samuel Taylor Coleridge|
The author of the book: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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Reader ratings: 6.7
Edition: OUP Oxford
Date of issue: November 1st 2007
ISBN 13: 9780199229680
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 9.39 MB
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The major work of German literature, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust (1808), was translated into English by one of Britain's most capable mediators of German literature and philosophy, Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Goethe himself twice referred to Coleridge's translation of his Faust. Goethe's character wrestles with the very metaphysical and theological problems that preoccupied Coleridge: the meaning of the Logos, the apparent opposition of theism and pantheism. Coleridge, the poet of tormented guilt, of the demonic and the supernatural, found himself on familiar ground in translating Faust. Because his translation reveals revisions and reworkings of Coleridge's earlier works, his Faust contributes significantly to the understanding of Coleridge's entire oeuvre.
Coleridge began, but soon abandoned, the translation in 1814, returning to the task in 1820. At Coleridge's own insistence, it was published anonymously in 1821, illustrated with 27 line engravings copied by Henry Moses after the original plates by Moritz Retzsch. His publisher, Thomas Boosey, brought out another edition in 1824. Although several critics recognized that it was Coleridge's work, his role as translator was obscured because of its anonymous publication. Coleridge himself declared that he "never put pen to paper as translator of Faust," and subsequent generations mistakenly attributed the translation to George Soane, a minor playwright, who had actually commenced translating for a rival press.
This edition of Coleridge's translation provides the textual and documentary evidence of his authorship, and presents his work in the context of other contemporary efforts at translating Goethe's Faust.
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Read information about the authorJohann 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 his numerous poems, the Bildungsroman Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship and the epistolary novel The Sorrows of Young Werther.
Goethe was one of the key figures of German literature and the movement of Weimar Classicism in the late 18th and early 19th centuries; this movement coincides with Enlightenment, Sentimentality (Empfindsamkeit), Sturm und Drang, and Romanticism. The author of the scientific text Theory of Colours, he influenced Darwin with his focus on plant morphology. He also long served as the Privy Councilor ("Geheimrat") of the duchy of Weimar.
Goethe is the originator of the concept of Weltliteratur ("world literature"), having taken great interest in the literatures of England, France, Italy, classical Greece, Persia, Arabic literature, amongst others. His influence on German philosophy is virtually immeasurable, having major impact especially on the generation of Hegel and Schelling, although Goethe himself expressly and decidedly refrained from practicing philosophy in the rarefied sense.
Goethe's influence spread across Europe, and for the next century his works were a major source of inspiration in music, drama, poetry and philosophy. Goethe is considered by many to be the most important writer in the German language and one of the most important thinkers in Western culture as well. Early in his career, however, he wondered whether painting might not be his true vocation; late in his life, he expressed the expectation that he would ultimately be remembered above all for his work in optics.