Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Aimless Reading: The G's, Part 3.2 (Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe)


Faust, Part Two
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
von Goethe, Johann Wofgang
Faust, Part Two


Purchased at the Niagara Falls Outlet Mall Discount Book Store for $2.50.

I remember the first time I heard Goethe's name spoken aloud. I had a professor in college who taught modern American drama. The class was comprised of two elements: long, tedious theater anecdotes and unexplained references to figures, works, and ideas that no one in the class knew a thing about.

I was that kind of generous spirit that assumed the teacher was not just an ostentatious prick but rather a caring soul who wanted us to learn something on our own, so when I heard a reference I did not understand, I would go look it up, thinking it might give me a better understanding of what we were talking about in class. It rarely did, though it at least let me know when he was just showing off, which was often.

Anyhow, I can remember a whole class, I think it was on Eugene O'Neill, in which he dropped the name Faust into the discussion several times without ever telling us who this Faust was or what he had to do with Eugene O'Neill. And then he kept saying the name of the author, "Gurta." Gurta said this. Gurta said that, and so on. Well, I kept going to the library to look up Gurta, but there was no such author that I could discover. When I looked up Faust, I saw the name "Goethe," but the lack of an 'r' in the name threw me off the scent.

I have a memory of it taking me a long time to put two and two together, but it might not have been that long. Memory is funny that way.

from Faust, Part Two

When the petals, like sweet rain,
Deck the earth with fluttering spring,
When the fields are green again,
And to men their blessing bring,
Then the little elves, great souled,
Haste to help, if help they can,
Saint or sinner, for they hold
Heart's compassion for each luckless man.

2 comments:

rdeming said...

Ah man, I'm going through Pearlblossom withdrawal!

Michael Kelleher, Buffalo, NY said...

Sorry, hombre-- AWP all weekend. Back online tomorrow. PS -- saw Peter G and Roberto yesterday.