The Tragedy of Faustus, Clavigo, Egmont, and The Wayward Lover


Whether Goethe should or should not have left his "Faust " a fragment, closing with the death of Margaret, is a question which has occasioned much controversy among his admirers. But there will always be many -- and their number is more likely to increase than diminish -- who will think that Goethe was himself the best judge of what was right, and that if he considered it essential, as unquestionably he did, to the fulfilment of the scheme on which the First Part of his great dramatic poem was based, that he should give in his own way the solution of the problem how Faust was to be extricated from the toils of the Evil One, into which he had plunged himself in a mood of weariness and despair, it cannot be otherwise than worth the while of literary students to make themselves familiar with what he had to say, whether they are satisfied or not with the way in which the Faust legend is illustrated, and the redemption of its hero is worked out.

It has been too much the habit of English readers to accept the eulogies of the Second Part of the "Faust" at second hand, and to decline to go through the fatigue of reading it with the care which it demands, and so following the destinies of Faust to the close. Nor, perhaps, is this greatly to be wondered at. The scheme of the book, teeming as it does with allusions to science, mythology, history, and art, unfits it for any but a highly educated and patient class of readers. It was avowedly for readers of this class . . .

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • London
Publication year:
  • 1902


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