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Goethe (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe小部分)

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe—poet, painter, dramatist, biologist and master of the erotic arts—died on March 22nd 1832. He worked away at “Faust”, on and off, for around 60 years; the piece is widely held in near-mystical awe

Goethe was a complex writer who defied full comprehension
The “giant of Weimar” died on March 22nd 1832

Conflicting spirits

Mar 11th 1999 | WEIMAR

He would have loathed the fuss being made over his 250th birthday. Goethe mugs, Goethe T-shirts, Goethe doormats sporting the great man's preferred greeting of “Salve”, which even in the 18th century sounded friendlier than “Heil”. Whatever blips the German economy may suffer this year, the Johann Wolfgang von Goethe industry looks set to boom as never before.

The brouhaha may be more than enough to cause the poet and painter, dramatist and theatre-director, botanist and biologist, minister, muse and master of the erotic arts to roll over in his grave; or rather in the tomb he shares in the Thuringian town of Weimar with Friedrich Schiller, his former old chum and near-neighbour. Then again, perhaps it may not.

Part of the problem is that for anything one can say about Goethe, the opposite tends to be just as true. Were he to rise from the dead this year (a feat which might not astonish his most zealous fans), he would wrinkle his sensitive nose over the baser acts of adulation by his countrymen. After all, it was Goethe who sniffed that “there is nothing more odious than the majority”, and who welcomed Napoleonic invasion as a means of sensitising what he regarded as vulgar German palates to the delicacies of superior French culture.
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On the other hand, didn't Goethe encourage Johann Peter Eckermann, the tireless amanuensis he met in 1823 whom he knew was recording his words for posterity? And did he not really adore, despite intermittent grumbles, the homage from the hundreds of admirers who beat a trail to his Weimar door?

At any rate, the scientist in him would have been intrigued to learn that Goethe-ites have set up an Internet website chronometer that ticks off in milliseconds the time to their idol's birthday on August 28th. That same day, moreover, rehearsals are due to start under the director Peter Stein for what is billed as the first wholly uncut performance of both parts of “Faust”. No mean feat, this; all 12,111 lines of it are expected, or at least intended, to hold audiences in thrall for at least 17 hours.

The full staging of this marathon would surely have extracted an oh-so-human shiver of pride from the “giant of Weimar”. After all he worked away at “Faust”, on and off, for around 60 years and the piece is widely held in near-mystical awe, even by the many who have neither read it nor seen it in its habitually truncated, roughly six-hour, form. It hardly seems premature, 167 years after the master's death, to give the whole drama a whirl at last.

Perhaps, too, Goethe's sense of irony would have been tickled by the spectacle of at least a score of German towns (including his birthplace of Frankfurt-am-Main, that “tiresome hole” as he once put it) vying with one another to put on the worthiest celebrations. There will be marathon tours, by train or bicycle, to Goethe shrines, a congress about “Goethe's spiritual Europe”, radio features about his many affairs and a new film about Christiane Vulpius, his long-time mistress whom he finally married. So by the end of 1999 Goethe will be known through and through, right?

Wrong. But then Goethe always was a complex writer who defied full comprehension. The legend of Faust has been treated by many artists from Christopher Marlowe to Liszt (another Weimar resident). But it was Goethe who, in the richest of verse, made of it a drama with truly Germanic resonance. As Willi Jasper, in a fine new book (“Faust und die Deutschen”; Rowohlt), points out, Faust's duality became a symbol of the national propensity to aim for the stars and plunge into the depths. Extolled by poets and philosophers, instrumentalised both by Nazis and communists, Faust, together with Mephisto, seemed to be Germany made flesh. Yet so much of Goethe's other work is anything but typisch deutsch. Look at his “West-östlicher Divan” love poems, for instance, with their Mediterranean lightness, wit and playful eroticism, or his “Italienische Reise”.

Goethe's restless curiosity led him to develop theories about everything from the structure of bones to the properties of colour. His writings on science alone filled more than a dozen volumes. Not that he always got it right. His disquisition on light, aimed at disproving Newton, was way off-beam. Though try telling that to his most ardent (unscientific) followers.

Despite the awe of these fans, much of Goethe's scientific writing now goes unread, and there are signs that even his literature may be under threat. A survey last year showed that even in Frankfurt, of all places, only 8% of those questioned had “recently” read any work by their city's most famous son. A quarter of those aged under 25 had never read a single one. German politicians wrung their hands and appealed for a “return to the classics”—and to the greatest classic in particular.

Weimar—bolstered by its appointment as “European city of culture 1999”—is doing more than most to shock people into taking a new look at Goethe. Pop singers are being invited to give their own versions of Goethe texts. A Catalan theatre group is presenting a so-called “cyber-drama” called “F@ust:version 3.0.” A full-scale replica of Goethe's first house in Weimar has been built on a meadow close to the original—in principle to encourage deep thoughts about reality and imitation. At any rate, note the cynics, it will mean double entrance money.

Nifty ideas, of course, but will they and the rest of the birthday shindigs really make Goethe easier to fathom? They may even tend to do the opposite. As the old saying goes, “We know for certain only when we know little. With knowledge, doubt increases.” The author? Take a guess.

British Museum
German literary giant Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born#onthisday in 1749. He turned his hand to poems, novels, dramas, memoirs and scientific texts. Goethe was one of the leading thinkers of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and composers including Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert (among many others) set his poems to music.http://ow.ly/mwWI303fHvs
Find out more about Goethe’s importance to Germany in former Director Neil MacGregor’s BBC podcasthttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04k6rcd

書緣:歌德 2005
Goe·the (') pronunciation, Johann Wolfgang von 1749–1832.
我對於楊武能『三葉集:德語文學文學翻譯比較文學』(成都:巴蜀,2005)的最大懷疑乃是他對郭沫若翻譯Faust的評價與我先前的說法矛盾-----張蔭麟 著《素癡集》,百花文藝出版社,2005 年,就多少可以了解其功力。
書中有篇『評郭沫若譯『孚士德』上部』( 1928),我認為道盡所謂「惡譯」之說法。此文可以作為「譯評」之範式,對「惡譯」現象有所描述。
…….其謬誤荒唐,令人發噱之處,幾乎無頁無之。若為詳盡之『郭譯『孚士德』上部糾謬』,無恐篇幅足以譯本埒 ……


The most important of Goethe's works produced before he went to Weimar were his tragedy Götz von Berlichingen (1773), which was the first work to bring him fame, and the novel The Sorrows of Young Werther, influenced by James Macpherson's Ossian, which gained enormous popularity during the so-called Sturm und Drang period. During the years at Weimar before he met Schiller he began Wilhelm Meister, wrote the dramas Iphigenie, Egmont, and Torquato Tasso, and his Reineke Fuchs.
To the period of his friendship with Schiller belong the continuation of Wilhelm Meister, the beautiful idyl of Hermann and Dorothea, and the Roman Elegies. In the last period, between Schiller's death, in 1805, and his own, appeared Faust, Elective Affinities, his autobiographical Dichtung und Wahrheit (Poetry and Truth), his Italian Journey, much scientific work, and a series of treatises on German art.
In addition to his literary work, Goethe also contributed significant work to the sciences. In biology: his theory of plant metamorphosis stipulated that all plant formation stems from a modification of the Leaf. He is also known for his discovery of the intermaxillary bone in humans. He considered his Theory of Colours to be his most important contribution to science.
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