Music in Goethe's Faust: Goethe's Faust in Music

By Neill, Sarah Elaine | Notes, December 2018 | Go to article overview

Music in Goethe's Faust: Goethe's Faust in Music


Neill, Sarah Elaine, Notes


GERMAN LITERATURE AND MUSIC Music in Goethe's Faust: Goethe's Faust in Music. Edited by Lorraine Byrne Bodley. Woodbridge: Boydell, 2017. [xix, 336 p. ISBN 9781783272006 (hardback), $99.] Music examples, illustrations, bibliography, index.

Music in Goethe's Faust: Goethe's Faust in Music is the result of an interdisciplinary conference from 2012, organized in honor of Nicholas Boyle, a Johann Wolfgang von Goethe scholar and author of the second chapter. At the core of the conference's inquiry was a fundamentally multifaceted question: Why has Goethe's Faust been so enduring throughout music history? Partly, this is a question of why the Faust myth has held such tenure in European musical thought, but more so it is a question of what Goethe's version revealed that others did not. The answers that the contributors provide are both representative of the wealth of possibilities within the original work and the myriad cultural contexts of the musical responses to it. In short, Goethe's Faust is not only a deeply musical text but also one that reflects matters-such as redemption and the human condition- that had deep significance in Goethe's own time and have remained acutely relevant since.

The literary and poetic analysis is sophisticated to such a level that scholars in multiple fields will find the volume to be valuable throughout, yet detailed music analysis is also not overlooked or avoided. This balance is due, in part, to the contributions by scholars with backgrounds in musicology, German literature, performance, and theater, among others. For academics, a distinct strength of the volume is the wealth of sources consulted and generously cited, giving the book a secondary function as a research guide.

Undoubtedly, cohesion is the greatest challenge of a book that explores a topic of such great breadth as Goethe's Faust and the musical works it inspired. Particular credit is due to Lorraine Byrne Bodley for an in-depth introduction that acknowledges the unfeasibility of completing a comprehensive study while also reaching to frame the central question as completely as possible. The book is a success in that it touches upon the origins of the Faust myth in the sixteenth century, the wealth of reactions in the nineteenth century, and recent productions even within the last decade. It also does justice to the many angles of interpretation that Goethe's Faust invites, from post-Christian modernity to existentialist questions about the value of life to the sheer variety musical and poetic structures present within Goethe's text.

Music in Goethe's Faust is structured in four parts: (1) "Goethe's Faust: Content and Context," (2) "Legacies: Goethe's Faust in the Nineteenth Century," (3) "Topographies: Stagings and Critical Reception," and (4) "New Directions: Recent Productions and Appropriations." The organization is roughly chronological, although part 3, which spans the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, is not explicit in this regard. Part 2, on legacies in the nineteenth century, receives the longest treatment-unsurprisingly, given the amount of existing literature on the subject and Bodley's own extensive research on Schubert. Given that part 3 is by far the shortest in length and number of chapters, it may have been worth integrating into parts 2 and 4 for a clearly chronological layout, especially given considerations of staging in part 4 and earlier discussions of critical reception in parts 1 and 2. Nevertheless, in general, the descriptive titles and comprehensive index will prevent readers from missing relevant discussions throughout the text. In its current form, the book also resists reinforcing a false delineation between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to which so many academic endeavors have fallen prey.

It is helpful to both seasoned scholars and newcomers to Goethe's Faust that the first chapter addresses reception history. Most critically, Bodley discusses lost histories and misperceptions around Goethe's own musicality that are foundational for arguments in the following chapters. …

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

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
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Music in Goethe's Faust: Goethe's Faust in Music
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?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
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.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, 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." (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

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.