Friday, November 29, 2013

Faust: 15% Complete

I'm still enjoying Faust.  One of the things I like best about it so far is how Goethe (I'm assuming this is a product of the original German, not something added into the translation) mixes different styles of poetry and prose depending on the mood or the character.  Some of the characters use very short, clipped rhymes and meter and some use longer, more sonnet-like poetry when they speak.  It adds a whole other dimension to an already complex fabric of words and emotion which I'm really enjoying.
This quote I just like because of the images it conjures up, and because it talks about reading classic literature, obviously a soft spot for me!
"Excuse me! in these olden pages
We catch the spirit of the by-gone ages,
We see what wisest men before our day have thought,
And to what glorious heights we their bequests have brought."
The word of the day is "famulus" which is "an assistant or servant, esp. one working for a magician or scholar." (definition from The New Oxford American Dictionary).
I hope all my American readers had a happy Thanksgiving.  Let the Christmas festivities begin!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Faust: 9% Complete

I'm slowly but surely working through Faust which I'm thoroughly enjoying.  It's actually a little bit more difficult to read than I was expecting, but I find if I slow down and really pay attention to the words and the rhymes and the lyrics, it's really enjoyable.
As far as a quote goes, I could pretty much quote the whole piece as I've read so far; it's that poetic and lyrical.  But I managed to select one.  This quote is God talking to Mephistopheles (the demon).  Mephistopheles points out that Faust is not the most loyal follower that God has, and God says,
"He serves me somewhat darkly, now, I grant.  Yet will he soon attain the light of reason.  Sees not the gardener, in the green young plant, that bloom and fruit shall deck its coming season."
The word of the day is "stager" which is an archaic term for an actor.
This Thanksgiving I'm grateful for the access, the education and the time (however scarce) that allows me to read these wonderful works of literature.  At no time in history has wonderful literature been so available to us at our fingertips, and this is a wondrous thing.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Faust: Beginning

Well, I'm back.  Basically I lost my motivation to work on the project for a while, and then I started nursing school and that has eaten up a lot of my time.  But I'm getting better at studying now so I have a little free time and I figured I could work on the project a little at a time.

I know I left off in the middle of A History of the English-Speaking Peoples but I will come back to that at some point.  The problem is, I had to check it out of the library so the setup was not very conducive to my slow reading pace.  So I've decided to move on to a Kindle book, and then come back to Churchill when I have more time.

A quick update on me, since so much has happened since I last was here: I got married in September, I started nursing school two weeks later (my husband is also a nursing student) and I turned twenty-five four days after I got married (it was a busy couple of weeks).  This officially means I have less than five years to finish the project, and I haven't done the calculations yet, but I'm sure I'm way behind pace.

So the next book I'm going to tackle is Faust by Johann Wolfgang van Goethe.  This is a tragic play in two parts written in German in the mid-1700's.  The version I am reading was translated by Charles Timothy Brooks. 

The play tells the traditional German story of Heinrich Faust, a dissatisfied scholar who sells his soul to the devil.  According to Wikipedia, this play is considered one of the greatest works of German literature.  Franz Liszt, the great Hungarian composer, wrote a symphony called Faust Symphony and Charles Gounod wrote an operatic version as well.  There is apparently a musical version by Randy Newman and there are Czech and Russian film adaptations as well.

The Kindle version I have has 226 pages and will probably take me a while to finish because nursing school and work are eating up the majority of my time.

But at least I'm back!