West-East Divan: The Poems with "Notes and Essays": Goethe's Intercultural Dialogues

By Wickersham, Erlis | Goethe Yearbook, January 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

West-East Divan: The Poems with "Notes and Essays": Goethe's Intercultural Dialogues


Wickersham, Erlis, Goethe Yearbook


Johann Wolfgang Goethe, West-East Divan: The Poems with "Notes and Essays": Goethe's Intercultural Dialogues. Martin Bidney, trans. "Notes and Essays" translation assisted by Peter Anton von Arnim. Binghamton, NY: Global Academic Publishing, 2010. 474 pp.

This is an unusual scholarly book, a delightful combination of solid research and poetic inspiration, as befits a project whose major purpose is to offer a contemporary translation of Goethe's West-Östlicher Divan. Before the book was published, Peter Anton von Arnim unexpectedly died. He had assisted the author in translating the prose essays entitled "Notes and Essays," which Goethe had written to accompany his poems. Martin Bidney 's tribute to Arnim is a lovely sonnet that appears in the prefatory pages of the book. He also proffered a sonnet to his mentor, Katharina Mommsen, and acknowledged his indebtedness to her in other parts of the text as well. What is unusual about this translation is that all of the author's notes to accompany Goethe's Divan poems are also in poetry, creating an interesting dialectic between author and interpreter, expressed in different and mutually complementary kinds of poetry. Goethe's are firmly rooted in his times and imitative of their Eastern counterparts while Bidney's are contemporary, of course, but also delicately respectful of their antecedent.

One of the most surprising facts about the project is that Goethe's own "Notes and Essays" have never appeared in English before. Some readers may not know how advisable it could be to read both together or assign both to advanced students. Students without an excellent reading knowledge of German will be particularly grateful for this translation. Certainly, contemporary students can be expected to have a more vivid interest in Goethe's west-eastern understandings and intentions than readers from earlier times. Scholars, too, will welcome these competent translations of poetry and notes together.

Goethe himself well understood that he might have to wait for an appreciative authence for this undertaking; yet his admirable foresight and lively interest in the subject remain one of many hallmarks of his genius. Bidney explains that Goethe wrote these extensive notes and essays in order to facilitate access to his main poetic work. Goethe's commentary begins with short chapters about ancient peoples like the Hebrews and Persians. He discusses history, offers remarks about Muhammad (190-92), Persian poets, and technical aspects of their poetic tradition. Goethe includes some of his own poems as well as original Persian texts. He writes a brief segment entitled "Exchanging Flowers and Symbols," rather more extensive notes about a future Div an, and some brief comments about other scholars or travelers interested in this area. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

West-East Divan: The Poems with "Notes and Essays": Goethe's Intercultural Dialogues
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.