FAUST AT LOEB
To the Editor of the CRIMSON:
Hats off, gentlemen, to Lucien Price's admirable suggestion that Goethe's Faust be performed annually in the Loeb Drama Center. This epic pageant wrestles with what are possibly the most significant themes in civilized thought, and it is arguably the greatest literary achievement between Shakespeare and Dostoevski.
Many theatre folk keep throwing up their hands and proclaim that it cannot successfully be staged. But my ears are still ringing with the sounds of the justly celebrated German-language production of Part One, which I witnessed in New York a month ago; and I recall seeing one impressive production in English. The viability of Part Two in this country is at present problematical, though Gruendgens and his Hamburg troupe have twice attempted it on their home ground.
Let us at any rate get on with Part One. If the Harvard community cannot at first offer an ideal performance, the project would still be rewarding all around. "For man must strive, and striving he must err," as Goethe has the Lord say to Mephistopheles....
It would be wisest to start with a production in English. I suspect that many have remained cool to the work because of inadequate translations, such as the almost-standard one of Bayard Taylor, the recent attempt by Alice Raphael, and a new one by Walter Kaufmann that is just now reaching the booksellers. But there is a superbly fashioned fresh translation (of both Part One and Part Two) by Philip Wayne, in the Penguin Classics series; and I urge its adoption for the first Loeb production.
Lucien Price has sounded the clarion call. Let us heed it, for it is more evidence of that rare wisdom that is both Price and priceless. Caldwell Titcomb '47