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     Literature Goethe: Faust II. How to read this text?

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Exercise: Goethe, Faust

  II. How to read this text?


This text tries to explain one of the most complicated and, at the same time, greatest works of the German literature, 'Faust' by Goethe. This text is very dense and to present it in a clear and interesting way is quite difficult. 'Faust' by Goethe is at the same time a way of seeing the world, let us say a philosophy and a text of beautiful and true verses. It describes psychological phenomenons as well as subtle emotions very precisely. Challenges can arise because of the differences in languages can make it quite difficult to catch the beauty, and the point of the original text.

When trying to interpret a piece of literature usually we search for that what we think runs like a thread through the whole work. This thread in Faust is the bet that the Lord makes with Mephistopheles. The bet is regarding the philosophy of mankind. Faust can be considered a weighty piece of literature and some parts are so strong that they seem to be separate pieces of literature in their own right in these places the thread is easily lost. May be the strength of Faust is not that it presents a homogeneous vision of man and the world, but that the parts in themselves offer deep insight. The author feels there is no need for a poem to explain the philosophical conception of humanity

Faust is a very heterogenic piece of work. The influence it has comes from the huge amount of precise psychological descriptions, the descriptions of nature and the subtle emotions and above all the powerful language.

Given the dense structure of the text the author feels it is best to first present the "thread of things". This will be done in the next chapter followed by a summary of the content of the text. After this, there will be discussion about the most important verses in the work. The author has chosen "The most important verses " subjectively, because they seem to be the most beautiful. Last but not least you'll find a complete translation of the work, made by G. M. Priest in 1808.

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