comments about literature
A literary work cannot only be the presentation
of a vision of a world and therefore this famous
question: What does the author want to tell us
with his work? is perfect nonsense. The author
does not want to say anything. If the author wanted
to say something, he could do so in words, clear
and simple. It would not be necessary that he
wrote a novel, a poem etc. that the reader deciphers
the enigma. A literary work is the expression
of what cannot be described with words. If Faust
was the pure presentation of a vision of a world,
it would be a weak work. The majority of the interpretation
see in Faust the presentation of a vision of mankind,
of humanity. They try to reduce Faust to what
we have called the line of narration are therefore
In the same way absurd is the famous discussion,
whether literature has to be a world in itself,
l'art pour l'art, separated from the social context.
This does not exist. The literature does not explain
the world, but it describes feelings that an individual
has in reflection of the social context. The literature
does not explain the world, but it is not outside
the world. It is neither the presentation of a
vision of the world, but it is neither l'art pour
l'art apart from any social context. Mario Vargar
Llosa said something very true in his famous book
"History of a deicide".
"Writing novels is an act of rebellion against
the reality, against God, against the creation
of God, which is the reality. It is a tentative
correction, a change or abolition of the real
reality, of its substitution by the reality that
the novelist creates. He is a dissident: creates
an illusive live, creates verbal worlds because
he does not accept the live and the world like
they are (or like he thinks they are). The root
of his vocation is the feeling of dissatisfaction
against the live; each novel is a secret deicide,
is a symbolic assassination of the reality."
||The line of narration
If we have a closer look at the line of narration
in Faust, the bet between the Lord and Mephistopheles
makes us realise that the concept is not very
strong. There are lots of ambiguity and contradictions.
The first contradiction is that not Mephistopheles
saves Faust. Faust did not know how to escape
from his situation and his sterile live. Without
Mephistopheles Faust would have committed suicide.
But still more important is that the main idea
undergoes an important modification. Mephistopheles
was not needed to cheer up Faust. Mephistopheles
is not reason for the situation Faust is in. What
he actually does is to cheer Faust up by doing
things that are morally not accepted. The main
problem at the climax of the tragedy is that his
deception turns into a moral problem.
Two very different things get mixed up: The line
of narration is not a very strong idea and the
book does not get its strength from this line
of narration, but from the separate parts that
often do not have anything to do with this main
line. Therefore we are going to discuss the Faust
now less systematic, but present some verses.
Possibly Goethe did not see Faust as a homogeneous
work, because we find these verses in the book.
|| Wird vieles vor
den Augen abgesponnen,
So daß die Menge staunend gaffen kann,
Da habt Ihr in der Breite gleich gewonnen,
Ihr seid ein vielgeliebter Mann.
Die Masse könnt Ihr nur durch Masse zwingen,
Ein jeder sucht sich endlich selbst was aus.
Wer vieles bringt, wird manchem etwas bringen;
Und jeder geht zufrieden aus dem Haus.
Gebt Ihr ein Stück, so gebt es gleich in Stücken!
Solch ein Ragout, es muß Euch glücken;
as they gaze, much is reeled
off and spun,
So that the startled crowd gapes
all it can,
A multitude you will at once
You then will be a much-loved
You can compel the mass by mass
Each in the end will seek out
something as his own.
Bring much and you'll bring
this or that to everyone
And each will leave contented
when the play is done.
If you will give a piece, give
it at once in pieces!
Ragout like this your fame increases.
A ragout is presented, everyone takes what he
or she likes and in the end all are content. This
is, what we now will do, take some parts of this
Faust is a very dense text and one can read it
many times and always find something new. A text
this full cannot be presented like a drama for
theatre, because no-one is able to catch so much
information just listening to it once.
The selection of verses is totally arbitrary and
does not follow any systematic. Neither can be
said, that they are the most important. They were
chosen, because the author of this chapter liked
Everyone who studies philology knows the problem,
that some interprete a piece of literature this
way and other another way. This leads to eternal
discussions. This type of problem could not be
understood by the author of this chapter. If a
work enriches the life, if it reveals us something,
if it allows us to see its beauty, if it amuses
us or whatever, then it is correct. If the Goethe
wanted to say this or something else does not
have any importance. The only interest is, that
interpretations give us something, those are wrong,
that are sterile and boring and therefore are
forgotten within two weeks.