Talk:Faust, Part One

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Removed WikiProject Theatre tag[edit]

According to the main article, Goethe's Faust is a closet drama, meaning it was meant to be read rather than performed. As there is no reference to performances, I'm assuming this is true. There have been many theatrical works called "Faust" or similar, but they have (or will eventually have) their own pages.--Dereksmootz (talk) 17:59, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

I have restored the Theatre tag, because according to the German version of this article, Faust has indeed been performed on stage. --Kyoko 23:57, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Even if it hadn't, it still belongs under the Theatre project, since this covers drama. DionysosProteus (talk) 11:48, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

Faust has been performed on stage several times, I can´t believe there is even a discussion about this! If I remember the lessons I had in German correctly it is one of the most performed plays, at least in Germany. Faust I is performed more often because it is easier to understand, unlike Faust II which is considerably longer and full of mythological references. (talk) 15:40, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

First published[edit]

In Henry Morley's 1883 introduction to the english translation of The First Part of Goethe's Faust, he says the play was first published in 1806. However, other sources say that Faust I was first published in 1808 in volume VIII of Goethe's Werke by Cotta in Stuttgart. I wouldn't give that much credence to Morley's introduction except that he was a Professor of English Literature at University College, London. Anyone know which is right? Kaldari (talk) 16:25, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

1808 seems certain; see File:Goethe Faust I 1808.jpg. 1806 is usually quoted as the year Goethe finished this version, but I've never heard of 1806 as the date of its first publication. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 05:19, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
1808! No doubt about that. -- (talk) 10:24, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Article title[edit]

As it stands this is awkward. Was someone trying to translate the title on the title page? Because that's not what it means. A better translation would simply be "Faust, a tragedy (First Part)" ZarhanFastfire (talk) 05:58, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

I agree it's awkward. However, the suggested title doesn't quite conform with Wikipedia's style for titles. I think Faust. A Tragedy (Part I) might be better. But more importantly, what is it normally called in English literature? I think that might be Faust. Part I or Faust, Part I. Your edits changed it from Faust: The First Part of the Tragedy to Faust: a tragedy and that is no improvement and you should revert it until a better title is found. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 11:34, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Being a library cataloguer, I am evidently less familiar with Wikipedia's title guidelines than yourself. My understanding was that in English, subtitles and similar things took colons rather than full stops (though this is common in German books). Please go ahead and make the change yourself, and if you can change the title of the article itself to conform with that title, please do that as well; I evidently don't know how. As an aside, in future you may wish to consider whether your tone encourages others to cooperate with you in what is after all a community endeavor, which requires all of us to be civil and treat others with respect. ZarhanFastfire (talk) 03:46, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
I'm not going to change the article's name until there is reliable evidence of wide-spread use of another title. Instead, I'm going to restore the headword consistent with the article name. As for your allegation of incivility: please cite which of my remarks you find incivil. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 10:09, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
1. If you want reliable sources for which forms of the title are most common in English, this is easily done. The shortest form will simply be Faust, Part I as you said. A Google search of Faust Part 1 gives you over 6 million hits whereas the title above gives you a little more than a hundred thousand. A WorldCat search of titles can be done too when I return to work if you prefer. If you'd like to spend more time on permutations and combinations by all means do due diligence, but for my part I'm satisfied with Faust Part I.
2. To say that the title as it is "is awkward" is an understatement because it is based on an incorrect translation of an erroneous transcription of the German title page appearing in the image of the article (I have since corrected this)--though it does occur to me that perhaps we should probably be using whatever is used in the German article for this, i.e., what is most common German usage for the German title rather than transcribing from an early edition of the work (It will almost certainly simply be Faust I). Anyway, to then say that my change was "hardly an improvement" (yes, I am aware you have edited your contribution to the talk page) because it did not "quite" conform to style guidelines--struck me as less than collegial, unnecessarily harsh in tone, and bordering on uncivil (mind the typo "incivil"). No, I'm not planning to make a big deal out of it. Let us move on. ZarhanFastfire (talk) 19:50, 27 December 2014 (UTC)
  1. Google search results do not qualify as reliable sources, but Faust Part I (or is it Part 1?) seems to be lacking some punctuation.
  2. How is Faust. Eine Tragödie. an incorrect transcription of the title page? You replaced it with Faust : eine Tragödie which is plainly not correct. I don't think it's ever called Faust : eine Tragödie, erster Teil (your text) in German and I suggest you revert those changes; I'm not willing to "move on" from that change. As for "Faust I": that is probably the most used term in non-formal writing, but serious reprints and playbills in German will use the full title.
  3. Where did I edit an earlier contribution of mine on this talk page? If the term "no improvement" offends your sensibilities, you need to grow up. I could have called your placement of your initial contribution here in the middle of this talk page "incompetent", but on the advice of Wikipedia:Competence is required, I didn't. If you find fault with my use of "incivil", you might want to take this up with the editors of Wiktionary and others. I'm aware that "uncivil" is the more common form, but not exclusively so. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 11:16, 28 December 2014 (UTC)


I have to agree with the OP, the title is not only mannered and unwieldy, but also simply wrong in various ways:

1. It grates in English, and it's not a translation of any German title. If "Faust: the first part of the tragedy" (ignoring capitals etc.) is indeed a correct translation of this play's title, then the original would have to be called something like "Faust: Der erste Teil von der Tragödie" (or "des Tragödies"), which it wasn't. Transcriptions of the title pages of the first editions published during Goethe's lifetime appear to read: "Faust. / Der Eine Tragödie" and "Faust. / Der Tragödie / zweiter Teil". So the Germans retrospectively call the original "erster Teil" and we call it "part one". NB Although the Teutophones say "Faust, erster Teil", in normal speech the Anglophones don't say "Faust, first part" : and conversely "Henry the fourth, part one" is natural to the English, but - strangely annoyingly - the Germans don't say "Heinrich der vierter, Teil eins".

2. Let us not forget Goethe himself (quoted in an English translator's foreword, ref: Faust: A Tragedy tr. David Syme, 1834, p. iv):

Of the two modes of translating I certainly prefer that "which," in the words of Goethe, "requires that the author of a foreign nation be brought to us in such manner as we may regard him as our own," - to that other - "which, on the contrary, demands of us that we transport ourselves over to him, and adopt his situation, his peculiarities."

In other words, Goethe would prefer that we thought of him as an English playwright and referred to this part of Faust err- which technically would be Fist, Part one - as if it were a well-known Shakespeare play such as The First Part of Henry the Fourth. Hmmm, see what I mean? Neither is there a WP article on Shakespeare's less-popular follow-on called The Second Part of Henry the Fourth, although that's how it appears on its title page in the First Folio. (It would be lovely if German WP supported me, but they worryingly seem to believe that the Shakespeherian [sic] Henry was only half a king, thus weakening my argument somewhat: how about Heinrich IV, der Halbenkönig?)

3. Annoyingly, many people don't always refer to plays by their original title pages: z.B. the FF title-page of a certain Shakespeare play reads "The Tragedy of Anthony and Cleopatra", although it's commonly called Antony and Cleopatra. Let's assume - for the sake of argument - that Shakespeare wrote it in German, and that the title-page of the first edition (like the title-page of "Faust. / Der Eine Tragödie") read "Antonius und Cleopatra. / Der Eine Tragödie". To further assume, let us imagine that this ShaksGoethe wrote a sequel, whose title-page read "Antonius und Cleopatra. / Der Tragödie / zweiter Teil", just like "Faust. / Der Tragödie / zweiter Teil". The resulting en:WP article might well be called Anthony and Cleopatra: The First Part of the Tragedy, but it would be slightly missing the point: and since there is a clear precedent in Henry IV, Part 1, may I civilly suggest that Goethe's ghost would be content with Faust, Part 1? >MinorProphet (talk) 16:48, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

Goethe's ''Faust, Part 1'' for maximum clarity? Johnbod (talk) 17:18, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
You taking bets on how long Shakespeare's Henry IV, the First Part of the History would last? I'm always up for a good Fausting myself. Now that I come to think about it, howzabout Fist, Part 1 for a start on rehabilitating Goethe into "das Land ohne Kultur" with a bang? Hmm, I reckon he might really like that. >MinorProphet (talk) 23:43, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

No response in five months. Having also noticed that Faust, Part 1 (see Revision history) was changed to Faust Part One by the original creator of the article, I feel (despite my advocacy of 'Henry IV, Part 1') that Faust, Part One is best. That particular page doesn't exist at the moment, so I'm going going to make the move. >MinorProphet (talk) 06:44, 24 September 2015 (UTC)

Corrections to my first lengthy post: 'Tragödie' is a feminine noun, as any fule kno, or if I had read either ZarhanFastfire's initial post or the title-page of Part 1 correctly. >MinorProphet (talk) 07:24, 15 November 2015 (UTC)
It's actually "Das Land ohne Musik", rather than 'Kultur' but the same idea still applies in 2016. MinorProphet (talk) 22:33, 30 September 2016 (UTC)
Somwhere, some time ago, I came across an explanation of why 'Fist' is not in fact an accurate rendering of 'Faust' (possibly because it's just someone's name), but it's late. MinorProphet (talk) 04:19, 16 September 2017 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Faust, Part One/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

==C Class== I rated this article C Class for wikiproject Germany because it is realtively well sectioned, contains a picture, and a good amount of information. It still requires massive cleanup and more references however before it can be even considered for B class. --Banime (talk) 13:48, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

Substituted at 18:17, 17 July 2016 (UTC)