Item #15372 FAUST: A Dramatic Poem. Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von.
FAUST: A Dramatic Poem.
FAUST: A Dramatic Poem.
FAUST: A Dramatic Poem.

FAUST: A Dramatic Poem.

Translated into English prose, with remarks on former translations, and notes, by The Translator of Savigny's "Of the Vocation..." [Abraham Hayward]. London: --MDCCCXXXIII.

First Edition in the English language of Goethe's final version of the legend of Faust -- this being a copy of the private issue printed for the translator (considered to have preceded the trade issue). The legend of Faust, and his pact with Mephistopheles whereby he pledged his soul for the instant gratification of unbound earthly knowledge, is known as far back as a German chap-book in 1587. Christopher Marlowe wrote his dramatic version around 1604, and a 1725 version of the chap-book is known to have been read by young Goethe (1749-1832). In Goethe's reworking of the story (as a hybrid between a play and an epic poem), which in all took him about sixty years to write, Faust becomes a dissatisfied intellectual who yearns for "more than earthly meat and drink" in his life; nonetheless, his first use of his new power is to seduce a teenage girl.

Goethe completed a preliminary version of the legend (later referred to as Part One) in 1806; it was published (in German) in 1808. Goethe's much-revised edition was published twenty years later, in 1828-1829: it is noteworthy that the major sub-plot involving the teen Gretchen (to be "Margaret" in English versions), was entirely an invention of Goethe -- not in the original legend. In 1831 he finished writing Part Two -- which was published posthumously in 1832: quoting from the Faust website, "In contrast to Faust Part One, the focus here is no longer on the soul of Faust, which has been sold to the devil, but rather on social phenomena such as psychology, history and politics."

As for English translations, there was an 1821 English edition of Goethe's preliminary (1808) Part One -- which translation was in 2007 attributed to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, though this has since been rebutted. Following Goethe's final German version of the legend in 1828-1829 and his death in 1832, there were two English editions in 1833, both translated by Abraham Hayward: the privately-printed-for-the-translator issue (as here -- with no mention of a publisher on the title page), plus a trade edition (also arranged by Hayward) published a month (?) later by Moxon of London. Compared to the 1821 translation of Goethe's draft, Hayward's translation is not only of Goethe's final text, but it is also acknowledged to be a truer translation.

This private edition consists of an 87-page "Translator's Preface," 203 pages of text, and 74 pages of Notes / Appendix / Corrigenda. (The final page of text includes the doom of Margaret followed by Mephistopheles's final line to Faust, "Hither to me!").

This copy is bound in very early (contemporary?) purple watered silk, stamped in gilt on the front cover and spine; we have never seen a copy in any earlier binding (wrappers?). As with many of the privately-printed copies, Hayward's calligraphic signature appears on the title page; also, his handwritten corrections appear on pages lviii and 192 (in some copies there are additional corrections on pages 16, 209 and 246). Condition is remarkable for a 190-year-old volume in what likely is its original cloth binding: some wear along the rear joint (but the volume is tight and the original endpapers are intact), some sun-fading to tan, light wax residue on the front paste-down. In all, a quite collectible copy; both this privately-printed issue and the trade issue are very scarce.

Provenance: Hayward's aim with the private issue was to be able to give copies to friends and associates: accordingly, this copy is inscribed by him on the front free endpaper, "J. Shapland Stock Esq. | from the Translator | A.H." (the barrister John Shapland Stock authored numerous books, including POEMS, Chiefly Translated from the German (London 1862).) Stock in turn inscribed, on the same leaf, "indorsed to James Colquhoun | J.S.S." (likely the 4th Baronet of Luss, MP for and Lord Lieutenant of Dunbartonshire). At the top of the title page is a private library number, which is said to be that of Æmilius Irving (1823-1913), a prominent Ontario lawyer and member of the Canadian Parliament. Item #15372

Price: $3,250.00

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