What edition of Faust should I read?
May 4, 2010 7:10 PM   Subscribe

What's a good translation of Goethe's Faust? Possibly with annotations or commentary?
posted by sonofslim to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I thought David Luke's translation provided a very accessible and yet refined text.
posted by clockzero at 7:17 PM on May 4, 2010

I'm not familiar with other translations, nor with the original (since I can't read German). But, as a single data point, I found Walter Kaufmann' s translation quite enjoyable. There are no annotations, but the introduction was lengthy and very helpful.
posted by 256 at 7:26 PM on May 4, 2010

I highly recommend Walter Arndt's translation, edited by Cyrus Hamlin (ISBN-0-393-04424-6). It is an annotated edition. This was the text we used 15 years ago in a class for German Studies majors and I still have it on my shelf for occasional reference. Remarkably, Arndt's translation ably captures, in English, Goethe's lyrical use of German.
posted by lerchclarion at 7:46 PM on May 4, 2010

I really liked David Luke's translations of both parts, available in the Oxford World Classics series. Part One won the European Poetry Translation prize in 1989. I test-drove sections from a couple of different versions and Luke's translations were by far the most readable, most instantly enjoyable and most informative. The detailed introductions and explanatory notes were excellent and really helped me understand the work as a whole, despite it being written over so long a period and at times haphazardly revised.
posted by mediareport at 8:50 PM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

I originally tried to read it for a college class, with Walter Arndt's translation mentioned above. I couldn't get through it.

The translation I did eventually read, and thoroughly enjoy, is this one by Stuart Atkins. I seem to recall that Harold Bloom specifically suggests this translation somewhere in his book "The Western Canon." It's not as heavily annotated as others, but since the English used is more "modern" I think fewer notes are necessary.
posted by dnash at 7:05 AM on May 5, 2010

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