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Goethe's Faust: Part I & II

A Companion to Goethe's Faust: Parts I and II edited by Paul Bishop (Studies in German Literature, Linguistics, and Culture: Camden House) This summary as does the volume is designed for readers of the German edition and is only accessible to English only readers in parts. In "Literary Techniques and Aesthetic Texture in Faust," Ritchie Robertson investigates Goethe's use of poetic language in his drama, and he subdivides his study into four sections: dramatic poetry, biblical and literary allusion, liturgy, and complex words. In turn, Robertson examines the metrical forms used, and their significance; the intercultural aspect of Goethe's language; and finally, a selection of the key words that run, like leitmotifs, through the text. For example, Mephisto's words to the Student, "So wird's Euch an der Weisheit Briisten / Mit jedem Tage mehr gehisten" (1892‑93) recall Faust's earlier cry "Wo fag ich dich, unendliche Natur? / Euch Bruste, wo?" (455‑56). Likewise, breasts, and their milky product, form part of a nexus of images of organic fluids; in the opening Night scene, Faust desires "daig ich erkenne, was die Welt / Im Innersten zusammenhalt, / Schau alle Wirkenskraft and Samen" (382‑84). Or, to take a different example, the rhyme pair "Gestalt ‑ Gewalt," which first occurs when the dog transforms itself into Mephisto (1251‑52), emerges later in Gretchen's song at the spinning‑wheel (3395‑97), and is repeated later, in Part Two, in the form of Faust's question before he descends to Persephone to bring back Helen: "Und sollt ich nicht, sehnsuchtigster Gewalt, / Ins Leben ziehn die einzigste Gestalt?" (7438‑39). Leaving aside the fact that this rhyme‑pair occurs elsewhere in Goethe's works (for example, in "Erlkonig": "`Ich liebe dich, mich reizt deinc sch6ne Gestalt; / Und bist du nicht willig, so brauch' ich Gewalt"') and the further intertextual connotations this implies, the rhyme on "Gewalt" and "Gestalt" brings together, phonetically; two distinct thematic elements of Faust: the problem of violence and power, and the desire to structure and give form. Moreover, even such simple lines as Gretchen's "Nach Golde drangt, / Am Golde hangt, / Doch Alles. Ach wir Armen!" can be read in a variety of ways: as a sociological statement; as an anthropological statement; as, in the light of the Satanic properties of gold revealed in the Walpurgisnacht, a religious statement; as a statement of Gretchen's own financial plight; or as an allusion to Virgil (the auri sacra farces or "accursed gold-lust drives" of the Aeneid, Book 3, line 57) (Gaier, 9-10).

Writing in the historically charged year of 1945, C. G. Jung wrote:
Faust erreicht nirgends den Charakter der Wirklichkeit: er ist kein wirklicher Mensch, and kann keiner werden (wenigstens nicht im Diesseits), sondern er bleibt die deutsche Idee vom Menschen, and damit eine, wenn auch etwas iibertriebene and verzerrte Spiegelung des deutschen Menschen
. (Jung 1974, 233).

In "The Character and Characterization of Faust," Martin Swales examines the Faust legend, and the use that Goethe made of it. Behind the (at first blush, German) figure of Johann or Georg Faust, the disreputable fifteenth‑century scholar, lies that more universal perennial dissent from the Western Christian tradition dubbed heresy. The story of the first act of "simony," committed in the first century A.D. by Simon Magus of Samaria, is told in the Acts of the Apostles (Chapter 8); but, according to a second or third‑century legend, Simon later went to Rome and acquired the name of Faustus, meaning "the favored one" or "the blessed" (Faustus, for faves‑tus, from favor, favos, "favorable"). In German, the name "Faust," meaning "clenched fist," may well al­lude to the Stoic metaphor for "understanding" (Prokhoris, 179). His story became entangled with that of Faustus of Milevis, the late fourth-­century propagandist of the heresy of Manichaeism. This Faustus ac­quired fame in Rome as a famous rhetorician, whose views were com­bated by St. Augustine (Wills, 34). Subsequently, this figure became associated with an actual historical individual, born circa 1480 in Knitt­lingen near Bretten in Germany, and this obscure figure, an itinerant scholar, trickster, charlatan, and quack, became crucially fused with the heretical material of the earlier legend. Thus, at the beginning of the sixteenth century, the essential elements of the story as Goethe knew it (from the puppet‑play version) were in place. In the chapbook versions, the tale of Faust is a moral lesson, warning against the dangers of nec­romancy and black magic, whilst at the same time exciting the curiosity (allegedly the vice targeted by the work) of the reader. Above all, Faust began to emerge as a Renaissance figure, associated also with the other face of the era, the Reformation (and, in Germany, Luther in particu­lar); he is inherently a figure of the scientific revolution, for the period of the historical Faust is also the age of Leonardo da Vinci, Christopher Columbus, Machiavelli, Erasmus, Copernicus, and Paracelsus (Edinger, 13). And Faust also comes to stand as a pivotal figure in the change from the Christian era to a period of renewed paganism; or, viewed from a different perspective, from the "age of superstition" to the era of Enlightenment (that "second Renaissance"), of secularism, and "mod­ernity." As Swales points out, the Chapbook version published by Spies in Frankfizrt in 1587, mediated the main material of the legend both to Christopher Marlowe and to Goethe. But whereas Marlowe's play is a tragedy of learning, Goethe's Faust is much broader, and could well be called a tragedy of being.

One approach to that tragedy is offered by Alberto Destro in "The Guilty Hero, or the Tragic Salvation of Faust." Like Franziska SchoBler, who will be discussed below, Destro finds it helpful to com­pare Faust 11 with Goethe's late novel, Wilbelm Meisters Wanderjabre. (The fact that Goethe, in his diary, referred, at different times, to both works as his "Hauptgeschafi" might be taken as a sign of the intimate relation between these two works.) If the sin of the traditional Faust was intellectual curiosity and presumption, then the flaw of Goethe's Faust is much less precise. In one of his last conversations with Ecker­mann (6 June 1831), Goethe referred to the passage in which the famous lines, "Wer immer strebend sich bemuht, / Den konnen wir erlosen" (11936‑37), as being the "key" to Faust's salvation, and it is appropriately the richness of the concept of Streben in Goethe's play that lies at the core of Destro's essay. Following Faust's "assumption" in a sumptuous, neo‑Baroque apotheosis, Mephistopheles is distracted from his prey by the seductive posteriors of the impudent angels, and the true counterpart in Goethe's version to the famous conclusion of Marlowe's play is not so much the celebrated Cborus mysticus, most memorably set to music in Mahler's Eighth Symphony, but the much less mystical, down‑to‑earth‑ and earthy‑ confusion of Mephisto (11753‑58, 11796‑800). In "The Character and Qualities of Mephi­stopheles," Osman Durrani examines this figure of the Devil in Faust, and offers an explanation of Mephisto's perennially fascinating effect. According to Eckermann's report of a conversation of 3 May 1827, we should regard not only Faust and "das dustere, unbefiiedigte Streben der Hauptfigur" but also "den Hohn and die herbe Ironie des Mephi­stopheles" as, so Goethe is recorded as saying, "Teile meines eigenen Wesens." Certainly there is a psychological dimension to the relation­ship between Faust and Mephisto; Jung, for example, argued that Me­phisto symbolized Faust's "Shadow," an autonomous complex split off from Faust's main personality and hypostatized as the Devil (1974, 242). Far more problematic is the relationship of Mephisto to God, "der Herr," and in part Goethe's play is an exploration of the problem of Evil and the tradition of theodicy. In an early essay "Zum Shdk­speares-Tag" (1771), Goethe de‑absolutized Evil and saw it as, in its way, a "necessary evil": "Das, was wir bos nennen, ist nur die andre Seite vom Guten, die so notwendig zu seiner Existenz and in das Gan­ze gehort, als Zona torrida brennen and Lappland einfiieren mul, daf3 es einen gemagigten Himmelsstreich gebe" (HA 12, 227). This is why the Lord tells Mephisto in the "Prolog im Himmel": "Du darfst auch da nur frei erscheinen" (336). For Mephisto's agency is restricted to the phenomenal world, and his freedom is precisely that ‑ mere appearance ‑ and not absolute.

According to Camille Paglia, "Faust has a variety of sexual personae, more than any other work of major literature" (254). Although some of these figures are androgynous or bisexual (Mephisto becomes Phorkyas, and at the Carnival the Thin Man, now male greed, was once female avarice), many of them are feminine, forming a pattern of unity and continuity as well as difference and contrast throughout the work. Opposing the more positive feminine figures ("das schonste Bild von einem Weibe" Faust sees in the Witch's mirror [2435], Gretchen, the Mater dolorosa, the Mothers, Helena, Galatea, the Mater gloriosa), there are the more negative aspects of the feminine (illustrated by the witches of the Kitchen Scene and the first Wa1purgisnacht, Martha, Gretchen's mother, Lieschen at the well, Lilith, the court ladies, the Si­rens, the Lamiae, the Phorcyads, and the Four Grey Women of Mid­night). In "Figurations of the Feminine in Goethe's Faust," Ellis Dye tackles the difficult question of the function of these female figures and the concept of the Feminine, asking why das Emig-Weibliche does not push, but pull.

A more particular but no less perennial problem for Faust criticism and scholarship has been posed by the three figures who feature in the scene entitled "Finstere Galerie" in Act 1. Although we never actually see them, the Mothers are described to Faust by Mephisto (6214-16, 6218-20, 6222-26), and the entire episode forms a counterpart to the "Hexenkuche" scene of Part One (Bub, 779). When asked about the Mothers (10 January 1830), Goethe remained mysterious about them although, as Eckermann mentions, such a coy response was not untyp­ical ("er aber, in seiner gewohnlichen Art, hullte sich in Geheimnisse"). In "The Problem of the Mothers," John Williams surveys the critical literature on this problem, investigates the historico-cultural background to these figures, and draws some conclusions about their func­tion within the play. If, to achieve rejuvenation and get Gretchen in Part One, Faust first has to visit the Witch, then the visit to the Moth­ers, in Part Two, forms the precondition to his first encounter with Helena; while, on the second occasion, he has to descend to Per­sephone (Goethe's plan to write a dialogue between Faust and the beautiful goddess who languishes in the underworld, discussed with Eckermann on 15 January 1827, remained unexecuted). When, at the beginning of Act 3, we see Helena, the setting, like the metre, is classi­cal; but when the setting moves inside the palace of Menelaus, the buildings, like Faust's costume, are medieval. The significance of this juxtaposition of classical antiquity and early modernity is examined in Anthony Phelan's essay, "The Classical and the Medieval in Faust, Part Two." Moreover, the relationship between the classical and the modern was a problem that preoccupied many German eighteenth and nine­teenth‑century thinkers and writers; H61derlin, for example, wrote to Casimir Ulrich Bahlendorff on 4 December 1801: "Aber das eigene muS so gut gelernt seyn, wit das Fremde. De8wegen sind uns die Grie­chen unentbehrlich. Nur werden wir ihnen gerade in unserm Eigenen, Nationellen nicht nachkommen, weil, wit gesagt, der freie Gebrauch des Eigenen das schwerste ist" (Holderlin, 426). Seen in this context, Act III represents a "confrontation between modern and classical" in which "Faust, as representative of the modern intellectual world, is once again" -- as in his encounter with Gretchen -- "invincible and remains the irresistible vortex whose legacy in Part Two, as in Part One, is the dead child" (Weisinger, 393).

Helena's opening monologue has strong echoes of an earlier work by Goethe, the opening lines of Iphigenie auf Tauris (Weisinger, 389), but there are also connections between Faust 11 and more contempo­rary works of Goethe. In "Progressive and Restorative Utopia in Faust 11 and Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre," Franziska Sch6sler relates the second half of the drama to the major Wilhelm Meister novel of the late period, with particular reference to the "historical" panoramas of these two works. By stressing the details of historico‑economic signifi­cance, she shows how they point to the transformation of a subsistence economy into a capitalist economy of profit‑and‑loss and the creation of artificial needs. Sch6Qler contrasts the agricapitalism of the Oheim in the Wanderjabre with the carnival masque scene from Part Two and the introduction of paper money, thereby uncovering the radical ten­dencies of modernization that are humanized in both works. Against such tendencies, Schof3ler then opposes the notion of the "restorative utopia," which envisages the restitution of such classically‑inspired ethi­cal models as the kalokagatbia, the Greek educational ideal of Good­ness and Beauty. Accordingly, Sch69ler reads Makarie of the Wanderjabre as an incarnation of the obsolete model of micro‑ and macrocosm, against the background of the Marian vision, inspired by Dante, at the end of Faust 11, with all its neo‑Platonic overtones. By the same token, the ideal of the "Schone‑Gute" ‑ developed in the second Meister novel through the figures of the beautiful widow, of Su­sanne in Lenardo's diary (a.k.a. Nachodine), and Makarie ‑ shares a similar conceptual basis with the figure of Helena. The evocation of these restorative utopias, in which Goethe draws on classical notions, is, Sch6gler argues, far from naive or simplistic, for an awareness of their anachronistic status is articulated in the form of irony or the apparently esoteric narration. By means of her accomplished analysis, SchoAler succeeds in demonstrating the wide‑ranging historical dimension of both texts, and in revealing their parallel structures.

Having heard the news that, following the Trois glorieuses of the July Revolution, Charles X of France had abdicated, leading to the eventual transferral of monarchical power from the House of Bourbon to its junior, collateral branch, the House of Orleans‑Bourbon, on 2 August 1830 Frederic Soret reportedly visited Goethe, who greeted him with the exclamation: "Der Vulkan ist zum Ausbruch gekommen; alles steht in Flammen, and es ist nicht ferner eine Verhandlung bei ge­schlossenen Turen!" (Eckermann, 2 August 1830). As it turned out, however, Goethe was not referring to the political events in France, but to the dispute between the French zoologist Georges Cuvier (1769­1832) and the scientist $tienne Geoffroy Saint‑Hilaire (1772‑1844), whose Principes de philosophie zoologique had just been published. Given the long‑standing importance to Goethe of science and the significance he attached to his own scientific work (see Stephenson, 1995), it is not surprising that Faust, too, reflects this engagement. Taking as his starting‑point Faust's desire to know "was die Welt / Im Innersten zu­sammenhdlt" (382‑83), Peter Smith investigates the presence of scien­tific themes in Goethe's dramatic poem. Equally, Goethe's claim in "Einwirkung der neueren Philosophie" (1820) that "fur Philosophie im eigentlichen Sinne hatte ich kein Organ" (HA 13, 25) should not obscure the fact that he had read widely in Spinoza, Kant, and the German Idealists. In turn, such thinkers as Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling. (1775‑1854) and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770‑1831) sought to align Goethe with their own positions; indeed, Hegel wrote to Goethe on 24 April 1825: "Wenn ich den Gang meiner geistigen Entwicklung ubersehe, sehe ich Sie uberall darein verflochten and mag mich einen Ihrer S6hne nennen; mein Inneres hat gegen die Abstraktion Nahrung zur widerhaltenden Starke von Ihnen erhalten and an Ihren Gebilden wie an Fanalen seinen Lauf zurechtgerichtet." In "Goethe's Faust and the Philosophers," Cyrus Hamlin examines both the philosophers' response to Faust, and the extent to which the work incorporates philosophical themes. In the course of his discussion, the argument of Schiller's Uber die asthetische Erziehung des Meuschen (1795) emerges as of central importance for understanding the philo­sophical significance of Faust.

In "The Diachronic Solidity of Goethe's Faust," Roger Stephenson sums up the significance of Faust as a canonical text and as a constitu­ent of world literature. The intellectual framework of his essay is an elaboration of a pair of concepts derived from contemporary linguistics and anthropology: the "diachronic," or the study of linguistic or cul­tural phenomena through time, as opposed to the "synchronic," the study of the structure of phenomena, independently of their develop­ment through time (Wilkinson 1973, 146‑47). Thus a diachronic analysis concentrates on the forms of thought that recur, revealing be­hind what may appear to be time‑bound thoughts a historical dimen­sion that could take the form of a perennial problematic or represent a reformulation of a traditional idea. As well as being an exercise in "morphological" analysis (see Willoughby 1970), Stephenson's paper suggests that there is still room ‑ nearly two centuries on ‑ for original and innovative research to be undertaken on this eminently "dia­chronic" text.

The final two essays reflect on the current attempt to come to terms with Faust from a more pragmatic, experiential angle. In "Translating Faust," David Luke offers an unabashedly "personal statement," based on his experience of translating both parts of Goethe's dramatic poem. The range of stanzaic and metrical forms used in Faust‑ blank verse, doggerel (Knittelroers), and hymnic structures, as well as, in Part Two, ottava rima, terza rima, and trimeters (discussed in detail by Ritchie Robertson) ‑ poses a particularly difficult challenge to any translator. The first English translation of Faust was published in a review of Part One in the Monthly Review, 52 (1810), and in 1822 Shelley made translations of sections of Faust. In 1823, Lord Francis Leveson Gower published Faust.‑ A Drama by Goethe, and Abraham Hayward offered a prose translation in 1833, while Charles T. Brooks translated Part One using English equivalents of the German versification in 1856. Bayard Taylor's famous verse translation appeared in 1870‑1871. Of the twentieth‑century versions, those by the poet Louise MacNeice (Parts One and Two, abridged, 1952), Bayard Quincy Morgan (Part One, 1954; Part Two, 1964), Barker Fairley (1970), Philip Wayne (1958­1959), Stuart Atkins (Part One, 1962; Part Two, 1984), Walter Arndt (1976), and, most recently, by John Williams (Part One, 1999), as well as the version by Luke (Part One 1987; Part Two, 1994), offer differ­ent attempts to come to terms with Goethe's use of metre. Barker Fairley (1969‑70) illuminated the difficulties facing the translator. For many lines from Faust have taken on a proverbial status in German, in a manner similar to Shakespeare's Hamlet in English, and it is not always possible to find a satisfactory equivalent for them. For example, "Zwei Seelen wohnen, ach! in meiner Brust" (1112) is difficult to translate because, as Fairley pointed out, in English, souls do not dwell in bos­oms. According to Elizabeth Wilkinson, there remains, in any case, an untranslatable element in Goethe's poetry, which she locates in "the as­similation of experience into language without the intervention of con­ceptual thought" (1948‑1949, 321).

In the final essay, Robert David MacDonald, a director of the Citi­zens Company, based in Glasgow, who has produced his own per­forming version of Faust, reflects on the problems of adapting and performing the play, based on his experience of directing the 1985 Glasgow‑London production. Goethe himself never lived to see a com­plete performance of his drama, and although parts of Faust 1 were performed in 1816, 1819, and 1820, Acts I to 3 of Faust 11 had to wait until 1849, when they were performed in an adaptation by Karl Gutzkow (1811‑1878), and the whole play was not performed until 1876. In 1895, Henry Irving's London production staged only Part One. As a result, the impact of the work was achieved mainly as a read, not as a performed, text. In terms of its reception, the work was fre­quently misunderstood by Goethe's contemporaries in terms of a Ro­mantic paradigm. Typical of the backhanded compliments paid to the work are the remarks of the Schlegel brothers; A. W. Schlegel, who wrote in 1811: "Bei solcher Unfahigkeit zur auiRem Darstellung ist dennoch aus dem seltsamen Werke erstaunlich viel fiir die dramatische Kunst, sowohl in der Anlage als Ausfiihrung, zu lernen" (279); and Friedrich Schlegel, in 1815: "Das Migverhaltnis zwischen der Poesie and der Buhne in Deutschland zeigte sich fortdauernd darin, daQ nach Klopstock nun auch Goethe manche dramatische Werke hervorbrachte, ohne alle Rucksicht auf die Buhne" (403). In terms of performability, the Schlegels might have had a point in the early nineteenth century, although the work has been performed in Germany very successfully since the 1970s and, as Robert David MacDonald suggests, much can be learnt about the play from its performance.

In 2000, in defiance of Goethe's occasional scepticism about the performability of Faust (see, for example, his conversations with Anton Eduard Odyniec of 29 August 1829 and with Friedrich Christoph For­ster of May 1829), the German director Peter Stein was responsible for staging the entire work at the Expo 2000 site in Hanover. Organised to follow up the celebrations of the 250th birthday of Goethe in 1999, this staging was the first unabridged professional production of the en­tire work (aside, that is, from productions of Faust 1 and Faust 11 at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland). In total, the play lasted ap­proximately 21 hours, and was performed during a marathon weekend, and over six evenings. Following its premiere on 22 and 23 July 2000 and its run at Hanover (from August to September 2000), the produc­tion was staged in Berlin (from October 2000 to July 2001) and in Vi­enna (August to December 2001). In the Hanover production, two actors, Robert Hunger‑Buhler and Johann Adam Oest, played Mephi­stopheles; Dorothee Hartinger played Gretchen; and in the part of Faust, the thirty‑one‑year‑old Christian Nickel, who was supposed to share the role with Bruno Ganz, not only played his part of the role but also stood in for Ganz, who had fallen, breaking his wrist and pelvis. (This was not the only mishap: in one rehearsal, Stein closed a metal door on one of his fingers, half of which then had to be amputated.)

The press release for the Hanover premiere emphasized the unique­ness of the production: "Fast ein halbes Jahrhundert nach der be­riihmtesten Faust‑Inszenierung durch Gustaf Griindgens bietet sich die em‑ and erstmalige Chance, anlaQlich der ersten Weltausstellung in Deutschland das gesamte Werk in ungekurzter Fassung auf die Buhne zu bringen [. . .] Dieses gewaltige Theaterstuck ist noch nie in seiner vollstandigen Gestalt ‑ von einem Berufstheater ‑ aus einem GuQ, in zeitlichem and ortlichem Zusammenhang gezeigt worden. Auch verfii­gen wir erst heute uber die technischen Moglichkeiten, auf Goethes wechselnde raumfche Vorschlage einzugehen." In a contribution written for Peter Stein inszeniert Faust 1 and 11: Das Programmbucb zur InszenierunB, edited by Roswitha Schieb (Cologne: Dumont, 2000), Stein himself explained how his interest in staging Faust had begun:

Letzten Endes begirint these Geschichte Mitte der 50iger Jahre mit den Versuchen eines Bildungsburgerknaben, den Faust 11 zu lesen. Ich hatte ‑ damals war das noch Pflicht ‑ den Faust 1 in der Schule gelesen and spannend, ja erregend gefunden, doch der zweite Teil wurde von den Lehrern als bedeutungsvoll, wichtig, ja besonders "goethisch," jedoch als zu schwierig, fur Jugendliche ungeeignet, zu gewichtig, auger Betracht gelassen. Der Hang zur Besserwisserei, sportiver Ehrgeiz, Entzifferungssucht, Lust an Sprache and Sprach­witz liegen mich immer wieder den Versuch unternehmen, diesen als unbesteigbar verschrieenen Bildungsberg zu bekraxeln. Anreiz waren auch die gnadenlosen Verrisse, die das Werk von seinem Erscheinen bis ins allerneueste Zeit immer wieder erfahren muSte and die in ihrer Gereiztheit die Schwierigkeiten der Interpreten bei der Bewaltigung ihrer Aufgaben verrieten.

Clearly, the real problem that confronted any staging of the entire Faust was not Part One, but Part Two. According to Stein, however, there were at least five compelling reasons for staging Faust IT First, the text was written as drama; second, it has a dramatic structure (a cy­clical macrostructure consisting of a series of stage "numbers"); third, its themes ‑ the relationship of humanity to the future, the predomi­nance of "virtual reality," the creation of artificial intelligence, the ex­ploitation of Nature, the increasing pace of life (Gocthe's "alles veloziferisch," Virilio's esthitigue de disparition) ‑ are all "modern"; fourth, it is presented as a tragedy, even if, in its details, it is a comedy; and finally, it is a late work: "Goethes Bezugnahme auf sein Jugend­werk Faust and die Tatsache, tag er als Form wieder das Theater wahlte, gaben ihm die Moglichkeit, all sein Wissen, seine Gedanken and Vorstellungen als Spielmaterial zu nutzen, es in die Luft zu werfen, allem and jedem, vor allem sich selbst zu widersprechen and so eine Frechheit and aggressive Kraft zu entfalten, die Alterswerken norma­lerweise nicht eigen sind." If, in turn, four major problems stood in the way of performing Part Two (its length, the space required, the rehearsal time required of the actors, and the financial aspect), then the Expo in Hanover, and the commercial sponsorship associated with the event, offered a solution to these difficulties.

Using two large stages in Hall 23 of the Hanover Expo, Stein tried to involve the audience by having the spectators move from one stage to the other after each interval. In the Carnival Masque scene and at a banquet set up in the scene in the Great Hall, the members of the audience themselves became part of the play. Declaring the perform­ance to be "an exhilarating experience," the reviewer for The Economist explained that "a nice air of theatrical communism prevails in that seats are not assigned" (16 September 2000). According to T. J. Reed, the production created "its own festive mood" ‑ and if, by the Sunday evening of the first performance, "people were faster out of their start­ing blocks (`manners are declining,' said someone behind me, but not in earnest), that only showed that the Faust experience was becoming a way of life with its own adaptations," and thus also becoming, pace Reed, "a minute equivalent of the way of life" that writing Faust was for Goethe (The Times Literary Supplement, 4 August 2000). Writing in The New York Times, Anne Midgette saw things slightly differently: "Moving from one space to another creates a kind of theatrical democ­racy: no-one is guaranteed a better seat than anyone else. An unfortu­nate by‑product of this concept, at least during the premiere, was a kind of cattle‑stampede effect every time the doors opened, as elegantly clad, presumably sophisticated men and women practically mowed each other down in their efforts to get a good spot" (6 August 2000). In sum, however, she concluded: "However flawed the production, there is something undeniably exhilarating about experiencing this whole text in two days." Writing in The Guardian, Michael Billington wrote: "The German critics accuse Stein of destructive fidelity to Goethe's text. But what I saw in his production was not pedagogic subservience but a total realization of the multiple levels of Goethe's work" (2 September 2000).

This remark highlights the fact that, if foreign theater critics and Aurlandsgermanisten broadly welcomed the performance, many Ger­man‑speaking critics were much harsher in their judgments. Reviewing the production for the Neue Zurcher Zeitang, Barbara Villiger Heilig made the apposite remark: "Peter Stein nahm schon vor der Premiere den Kritikern jeglichen Wind aus den Segeln, indem er offentlich er­klarte, sie warden seine Inszenierung garantiert verreissen. Schade, dass er einigermassen Recht behalten musste." For it was not just the con­servative German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that sharply criticized Stein's production ("Immer wieder zeigt Stein, wie schon er Massen choreografieren kann, wie er Spaziergange and Polonaisen and Paraden in den Griff bekommt, aber wenn es darauf ankommt, eine Welt sich um Personen drehen zu lassen, dann musste unter der Pappe dieser Welt auch irgendetwas lodern, was zu uns heraberbrennt"). For instan­ce, in the Berlin Tagesspiegel, under the headline "Peter Stein bezwingt auf der Expo in 22 Stunden die deutsche Riesendichtung. Umsonst," Rudiger Schaper disagreed strongly with the production values of the performance: "In selbstzerstorerischem Hass auf das Regietheater, das Stein auf hervorragende Weise mit begrundet hat, wurde der weltbe­ruhmte Theatermann zum Renegaten, zum Eiferer. Der anti­zeitgen6ssische Faust, das Ylassische schlechthin, schwebte ihm vor: nichts Geringeres, als Goethe noch einmal zu erschaffen, so wie der Mensch die Schopfung imitiert ‑ and usurpiert." Concluding his piece, this reviewer claimed: "Man sport die Enge der thuringischen Residenz. Man ahnt ein Lebenswerk, das Goethesche Lebensdrama: einen Kosmos zu erschaffen in einem Provinzkaff, in einer Welt ohne giiltige Religion, schon abgeschnitten von den Quellen der Antike and der Weisheit des Mittelalters. Tragischer Irrtum: Stein glattet, harmoni­siert, uberpinselt, was Goethe als wilde, an Stilen uberbordende, heil­lose Collage hinterlieB. Faust II ‑ kein Stuck, ein Steinbruch" (25 July 2000). Above all, Stein's fidelity to the text of the play, his refusal to cut any lines or to try, in the staging, to "update" the work, led Rein­hard Wengierek, the critic of the German dally newspaper Die Welt, to write: "`Am Anfang war die Tat!,' weiQ Faust. Stein weig es besser: Am Anfang war das Wort! Das ist sein Dogma, Textfrommigkeit seine Ideologie. Die Vernichtung des Rotstiftes mag unser Sitzfleisch qualen. Unsere Seele beghickt es mit einer Flut sonst selten oder nie gehorter Verse. Bewahrt uns vor Vergroberung, Verniedlichung, Verballhor­nung, Verbiegung aus dem eitlen Geist aktueller Moden. Stein spielt Goethe‑Museum. Faust in der Vitrine" (25 July 2000). If Georg Dierz's review in the Suddeutsche Zeitung found much to complain about in the logistics of the performance from the spectator's point of view ‑ "Der Dichter hat ein Uben lang daran geschrieben, der Regis­seur hat ein Jahr lang daran geprobt, jetzt wird ein Wochenende lang gesessen and gestanden [. . .] Wenn da die Kaffeemaschine nicht rich­tig funktioniert, ist da schon mal kein gutes Omen" ‑ his colleague, C. Bernd Sucher, was even more critical about what Stein had put on the stage: "Die Szenen ermuden, weil sie vom Zusachauer nichts ande­res fordern als horige Gefolgschaft [. . .] Dem Zuschauer bleibt nicht die geringste Moglichkeit, selber zu Women Raume, Farben and Ge­barden zu imaginieren [. . .] Abstraktion ist [Steins] Sache nicht. Vor lauter Vergnugen am Ausmalen vergisst er, dass im Zentrum des Faust nicht Maschinen stehen, nicht Kostume, Rustungen and Holzspielzeu­ge, sondern Menschen" (24 July 2000; 25 July 2000). And a reader's letter to the same newspaper, published a few days later, went even further, maintaining that Stein's "Mammutinszenierung [...] passt in unsere Protzgesellschaft, die mit Gigantismus ihre Brutalitaten zuzu­decken versucht," and in turn condemning Goethe as "ein schon zu seiner Zeit reaktionarer and moralisch diskreditierter Schriftsteller, der noch kurzlich als vorbildlicher deutscher Dichter gefeiert wurde, just in jenem Jahr, in dem Deutschland in die Liga der Kriegsaggressoren zu­riickkehrte," Faust as "ein Drama, das mit seiner Glorifizierung des mannlichen Raub‑ and Beziehungsmorders als Nationalkunstwerk der Deutschen fungiert," and "ein irres Budget, um dieses Werk in voller Lange zur Auffhrung zu bringen" (31 July 2000). In its own way, this letter demonstrates the apparent confusion in the minds of many of the professional reviewers as to which they disliked most: Stein's production, Goethe's play, Goethe himself, or German culture tout court.

Moreover, the discrepancy between the more generous attitude of foreign critics to Stein's production and the highly negative opinions on it of the German‑speaking reviewers does much to substantiate Goethe's suspicion of contemporary criticism ("Es versteckt sich hinter jenem Gerede mehr boser Wille gegen mich, als Sie wissen," he told Eckermann on 14 March 1830), as well as to demonstrate the con­tinuing power of Faust to fascinate ‑ and, above all, to provoke. Ac­cording to Peter Stein: "Beim Faust geht es um die Tragodie des modernen Menschen. Ich will ihn darstellen and begreifen. Die Interpretation muss das Publikum leisten" (in Spiegel Online, 19 July 2000). Likewise, this Companion to Goethe's Faust: Parts 1 and 11 is a further set of responses to that fascination and that provocation, and another set of attempts to make sense of the work. In another conversation with Eckermann on 29 January 1827, Goethe is reported to have said of Faust that "alles list] sinnlich and wird, auf dem Theater gedacht, jedem gut in die Augen fallen. Und meter habe ich nicht gewollt." That at the same time Goethe intended ‑ and achieved ‑ much else and much more is demonstrated by the breadth and variety of essays in this volume.

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