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Book ReviewsThought Provoked

Excerpt from a work in progress

By March 10, 2023No Comments

It appears, specifically in the mini-bio of The World’s Classics publication of Faust: Part One, that author Johann Wolfgang Goethe wrote this classic thing (“masterpiece”) over a period of thirty years. The introduction basically suggests to dismiss Part Two.

Reading Faust: Part One is not the first action.

First actions, going backwards and sideways, include:

Watching a movie trailer for A Man Called Otto. Remembering the book’s cover – not an American novel. Remembering the movie St. Vincent. Wondering if the two stories are related. Remembering the original, non-American (Swedish) novel is in the house, purchased last year for a coin (book ears chewed by dog) and called Ove. Remembering to read Ove before Otto movie is released. Losing interest in the commercialism or the prose or story arch or popular formula of today (which is apparently universal, therefore, including Sweden). Stopping reading. Hearing Ove’s story is based on a true story. Learning Ove is based on a blog about a real man. Finding St. Vincent is a different man who’s loosely based on creator Theodore Melfi’s life experiences. Watching A Man Called Otto at the theater opening weekend. Making note of The Master and Margarita (read by a character in the American-Otto version). Watching A Man Called Ove at home. (Briefly wondering why they didn’t change Called to Named to further Americanize the thing, the movie, the book, the story, the true story, the legend.) Remembering an unused, unchewed, copy of The Master and Margarita is also in the house (purchased from a since-bankrupt bookstore 10 years or more ago). Reading Margarita. Learning of Faust: Part One and the opera Faust. Remembering Goethe’s Faust is in the house (used – The World’s Classics – pocket-book). Learning The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe begins the familiar selling-your-soul story (from folklore). Knowing this book is not in the house. Recalling reading Stephen Vincent Benét’s short story “The Devil and Daniel Webster” and viewing the movie. Learning the Daniel version is based on a Tom version (1824 short story “The Devil and Tom Walker” by Washington Irving). Wondering if ever read the Tom version, since read Irving.

Maybe speed read Faust: Part One as did Doctor Faustus. Because there’s only so much time.

Dan Jones

Author Dan Jones

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