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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 1, page 85, February 4-5, 1850

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Identifier: DX08760490

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 1, page 85, February 4-5, 1850

Description: Gives his thoughts on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust.


[Johann Wolfgang von] Goethe himself said no one would like or understand the Second part of Faust unless he had thought and suffered much. I won’t be bold enough to say I do the latter, — but assuredly it has more fascination for me than the earlier part of the story. Its scope is so wide, has such grandeur of aim, and presents such a throng of finely drawn pictures. All Mankind are on the stage. Times, chronology, creed, fable, the lie of paper-promise-coin, all sported with. And the Phardalian Walpurgis night , what a picture. Mephisto , cold, impassionless, intensely devilish devil confronting the mystic Sphynxes, — snarled at by the Gryphons, his existence derided. Homunculus , that glorious pedant-created will o’the wisp, half Asmodeus in wit and shrewdness — Proteus. — and the wondrous Helen, with the daring bridging of Time and Space on the whole episode relating to her. Lastly the most grand conclusion of the wondrous drama — the triumph over the Sensual, and “justification” of All. / That the First part of Faust is more generally liked and known, is owing to the story of Margaret, which appeals to the sympathies. [Pierre-Jean] Beranger rightly divided the audience of the world into Women, who go for passion and sentiment, — thinkers who go for character and mind, and the Many — who demand Incident — All are right in wishing to be amused; — It is because each finds the several ingredients, in Shakspere [William Shakespeare], that the most commonplace dog is entertained and interested in his plays.

5. Tuesday. Out once or twice in the morning. Then Mose [among the Britishers] all day. Evening writing. As lonely as [Robinson] Crusoe

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1850-02-04

Type(s): Diary

Maker/Creator: Gunn, Thomas Butler, 1826-1903

Subjects: Books and reading


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