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Faust | [Johann Wolfgang von Goethe]

Faust

Faust is one of the pillars of Western literature. This classic drama presents the story of the scholar Faust, tempted into a contract with the Devil in return for a life of sensuality and power. Enjoyment rules, until Faust’s emotions are stirred by a meeting with Gretchen, and the tragic outcome brings Part 1 to an end. Part 2, written much later in Goethe’s life, places his eponymous hero in a variety of unexpected circumstances, causing him to reflect on humanity and its attitudes to life and death.
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Publisher's Summary

Faust is one of the pillars of Western literature. This classic drama presents the story of the scholar Faust, tempted into a contract with the Devil in return for a life of sensuality and power. Enjoyment rules, until Faust’s emotions are stirred by a meeting with Gretchen, and the tragic outcome brings Part 1 to an end. Part 2, written much later in Goethe’s life, places his eponymous hero in a variety of unexpected circumstances, causing him to reflect on humanity and its attitudes to life and death.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

Public Domain (P)2011 Naxos Audiobooks

What the Critics Say

“Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award: If it’s been a while since you tackled Goethe's Faust like, forever don’t wait a moment longer. John R. Williams's sparkling English translation is delightful, full of wit and delicious rhymes, and would be reason enough to fling yourself at it, but this full-cast production more than doubles the pleasure. The actors play it as if we were all Faust and hell were going to be a lot worse than other people. The performances are marvelous, and the sound effects clever and often gorgeous (the choir!). After this rendering of 'Walpurgisnacht,' you’ll never see Halloween the same again. One might call this Harry Potter for grown-ups, except that the good guys well, I wouldn’t want to give away the ending. What a great theatrical experience.” (AudioFile)

“Goethe's Faust has had a huge impact on both musical culture and the Western legacy at large. So it seems fitting that we mention a rather wonderful dramatic enactment of the work on a new Naxos audiobook. It's abridged, which is a fine thing since a full version would last a veritable eternity. In effect Naxos AudioBooks has done for Faust what some of the classic London recordings of the '60s did for opera. It conceives of the soundstage and special potential of the modern recorded medium and how they can heighten appreciation for the work in ways that the stage or the book format cannot. So this production has very well-conceived sound effects, music, voice alteration and excellent dramatic recitation by the actor-reciters. Listen straight through and you get a vivid experience of the Faust drama in ways you would not get in any other form. The English translation is mellifluous and not stilted, and the recitation is terrific. Anyone who has appreciated the various settings of Faust by Gounod, Berlioz, Schumann, etc., will revel in the full drama enacted in the spirit Goethe intended. Of course this is a long work even in its abridged form. The ideal way to experience it first hand is in this audiobook. It makes what could easily be a bit of an ordeal an exciting and sonorously delightful experience, if you are a person of some patience. Highly recommended.” (Grego Applegate Edwards, Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (118 )
5 star
 (53)
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4.3 (99 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Ki Seattle, WA 12-04-11
    Ki Seattle, WA 12-04-11 Member Since 2008
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    "Mixed Feelings"

    Unless you're familiar with Faust, before listening to this, I would 1) go to the Naxos Audiobooks website and read about this particular production of Faust.

    Part 1 has a clear narrative and the performance sparkles.

    Part 2, through no fault of the performers, is difficult to follow if you don't already know the story. I kept thinking I had missed something and kept rewinding. Eventually, I read the study guide posted above so I would have a clue what is going on with the story. The narrative of Part 2 is simply nowhere near as compelling as Part 1.

    The performers do a wonderful job. It is simply difficult for someone unfamiliar with Part 2 of Faust to follow along without some outside help.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Utah 07-16-13
    Amazon Customer Utah 07-16-13 Member Since 2009

    tired teacher

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    "A Great Classic"

    I'm giving it five stars with reservations, those being that I do not totally understand it yet. I am working on it though. It is a great morality play and a bit of a cautionary tail, and I like that a lot. But there is also a ton of symbolism in it, which I also like, but which I do not fully understand. With the aid of critical analyses, I am learning, though, and will probably reread and re-listen to the story when I get most of that into my head.

    The story of Faust is one of a tired and disillusioned old man who, in his deepest darkest thoughts, feels like his life has been such a failure that, when he gets the chance, he sells his soul to the devil in exchange for youth, success, fortune and romance. There is always a dear price tag attached, however, as Faust learns to his horrific consternation.

    Sad that we English speakers have to read a translation, but even with that, it is obviously expertly written. I guess foreign speakers feel the same way about Shakespeare, and I hope for their sakes that they have quality translations. Being unable to be anything but ignorant on the subject, I feel that this translation is superior. The beauty of the poetry is breathtaking, and can't help but be favorably compared to Shakespeare. The subject matter is earthy and less than beautiful, yet so relevant, mainly because it is human beings that read this story, and we human types are less than perfect, and often less than beautiful. Our base desires are often selfish, try as we might to rationalize them with "good" motives.

    All in all, this is a story I am not finished with yet, and it will probably never be finished with me. At least, not on this earth.

    The narrators in this drama are top notch. It was a joy to listen to from that angle.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurel Ferndale, WA, United States 01-09-12
    Laurel Ferndale, WA, United States 01-09-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Not unabridged, but excellent"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is a good abridgment of Faust and is very well presented.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It gives the story in a nutshell.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cheresse Arvada, CO, United States 09-29-12
    cheresse Arvada, CO, United States 09-29-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Goethe's play wasn't usually performed in full..."

    ...and now I understand why. The classic tale about a man's deal with the Devil for untold earthly pleasures had a sorrowful and encompassing first half that seems to tell a complete part of the story, which I really enjoyed.

    The second half of the play was not really related to the first. It was divided into little story-acts that didn't always relate to each other and often left me confused. While it was easy to follow the first half and infer what would be happening on stage, it was a lot more difficult to do so with the second. Apparently, Goethe wrote the first part long before the second, and the second was published posthumously. It focuses on different themes and has less of a linear narrative, all of which served only to confuse me as I listened. It doesn't help that many of Faust's trials in the second part involve mythical places and allusions that aren't easily described through dialogue alone. The play does its best with sound effects that make the listening experience more enjoyable, and the actors were brilliant. But I think I would have enjoyed it more if it were only the first part.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clayton Bosler Redondo Beach CA USA 09-03-12
    Clayton Bosler Redondo Beach CA USA 09-03-12 Listener Since 2009

    Clay

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    "Beautiful performance!"
    What made the experience of listening to Faust the most enjoyable?

    The beautiful performance!


    Any additional comments?

    This is the way to really enjoy Faust! Beautifully performed, with a full tapestry of voices and sounds. Well done!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bryan PROVO, UT, United States 08-21-12
    Bryan PROVO, UT, United States 08-21-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Prepare to be enthralled"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely.
    A lot of my friends are into classic literature and—while this is technically a play—listening to it on audio makes it accessible to experience anytime.

    The story is amazing. If you haven't read it and you like stories like Paradise Lost, The Divine Comedy, and Homer's epics, then this is for you.

    The performance is absolutely stellar. The performers do a fantastic job of bringing it to life.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It's thought provoking, inspiring, insightful, and beautiful.


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Life.

    They really pulled the beauty out of this story.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Mmm, no. It was much more one of those stories that maintains a consistent amount of inspiration inside throughout.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gretchen Underwood Swissvale, PA United States 08-11-12
    Gretchen Underwood Swissvale, PA United States 08-11-12 Member Since 2012
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    "I wish I would have read it instead."
    Any additional comments?

    I really wanted to enjoy this performance, and my rating has nothing to do with the narrator's skill. I really believe that there are some books that are best read "the old fashioned way," and this is one of them.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Sonoma, Ca, United States 01-19-12
    Jeff Sonoma, Ca, United States 01-19-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Excellent performance of classic work!"
    What did you love best about Faust?

    The wonderful reading, next would be the great sound effects that didn't sound corny at all.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe? Why or why not?

    I don't know quite what to think of Faust. Part 1 was excellent and very thought provoking, but part two is confusing and almost makes the reader think he has switched to a book by a different author, or at least skipped the middle book in a trilogy.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The satanic poodle.... :)


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jerry saint-lazare, Quebec, Canada 01-04-12
    jerry saint-lazare, Quebec, Canada 01-04-12
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    "Just about as good as it gets"
    If you could sum up Faust in three words, what would they be?

    Dramatic, moving, thought provoking


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Faust?

    Gretchen Tragedy, Walpurgis Night,


    Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    These are veteran actors who provide an excellent reading.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Faust is really best served as poetry. This audible reading provides more than enough to stimulate the listener's imagination.


    Any additional comments?

    A few quibbles: It would be nice to be able to search the poem by section. Being one large file makes it a little difficult to move back and forth between selections. However, the pdf included does give the listener a guide to the divisions for the presentation.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam Motes Tampa 09-06-13
    Sam Motes Tampa 09-06-13 Member Since 2011

    Audible obsessed lifelong learner.

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    "Seller beware"

    Classic tell of selling ones soul to the devil for fleeting happiness. Faust definitely gets more than he bargained for.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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