“Faust is unquestionably Goethe’s most masterful and encompassing poetic achievement. It is a grand synthesis and in its grandeur it exceeds the limits of genre. Even to call it a drama doesn’t capture the achievement; it has epic and lyric qualities as well. The time covered in Faust extends from the beginning of the world all the way to Byron’s death in 1824 following the siege of Missolonghi. The work has a theological frame, a cultural-historical frame, and an artistic frame. It draws on the imaginary forms of bourgeois tragedy, Shakespearean drama, Renaissance lyric, the folk song, Calderon’s theatre, and Dante’s poetic vision. It combines the classical and the romantic, the high and the low, the mystical and the burlesque. Remarkably, all this holds together. If one were to search for a literary work that could genuinely be called a Gesamtkunstwerk–a total artwork–then Faust in its two parts would be the leading candidate for that title.” Read more...
The Best Goethe Books
David E. Wellbery,