COLERIDGE, Samuel Taylor (trans.); GOETHE, Johann Wolfgang von.

Faustus: from the German.

London: Boosey and Sons, and Rodwell & Martin, 1821 Stock Code: 132612
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The translation Coleridge denied

First edition in English of Goethe's Faust, translated by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. When Faust, Part I first appeared in a finished form (1808) Coleridge expressed concern for the apparent immorality. Despite this, he briefly entertained a proposal in 1814 to translate the work, and returned to and completed the task in 1820-21. Coleridge denied that he ever "put pen to paper as translator of Faust", saying his reservation was "whether it became my moral character to render into English - and so far, certainly, lend my countenance to language - much of which I thought vulgar, licentious, and blasphemous", although he confessed that poetically it was "very pure and fine" (cited in Burwick, pp. 75-6). Despite his denial, the translation is now generally accepted as his, with letters from Goethe extant which state Coleridge as the translator. Coleridge only translated about a quarter of the play into verse, with the rest summarized in prose passages. He never attempted to translate Faust Part II, published in 1832 following Goethe's death.

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Quarto. Uncut in original reddish brown paper-covered boards, rebacked c.1900 with brown cloth and new endpapers, spine lettered in gilt, front cover with circular printed title label mounted in centre as issued.


With 27 plates including frontispiece, engraved by Henry Moses from the original copper etchings which Moritz Retzsch made for the German edition.


Half-title and list of plates present. Spine ends a little bumped and frayed, covers rubbed, light wear to board edges, sporadic light foxing. A very good copy.


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