Best Faust Translation

By Rakib Sarwar Written by Rakib Sarwar
Updated on August 12, 2023

There are many translations of Faust, but which one is the best? There are many factors to consider when determining the best Faust translation, such as how well the translator captures Faust’s themes and ideas, and how readable the translation is. Here is a look at some of the most popular translations of Faust and why they might be considered the best.

The best translation of Faust (Parts 1 and 2) is currently the David Luke version. It is worth reading “Faust” in translation because it can give readers a new perspective on the original work. Goethe’s Faust rhymes differently in translated English, but it does not take away from the power of his words.

Who translated Faust First?

The first complete translation of Faust into English was by British poet, writer, and artist John Anster (1885-1954).

In 1926, J. M. Dent & Sons, Ltd., and E. P. Dutton & Company published Anster’s translation in London and New York. He also released a revised edition of his translation in 1929, which was published by J. M. Dent & Sons, Ltd.

Anster’s translation of Faust has been criticized for being too free, as he attempted to capture the feeling and atmosphere of the play rather than a word-for-word translation of the text.

What is the best English translation of Goethe’s Faust? 

This is a difficult question to answer, as it depends on what kinds of things you value in a translation. For example, some people prefer translations that are more literal, while others are looking for a translation that is more readable. Some people prefer translations written in modern English, while others are seeking one that is closer to the original German text.

The following are four of the best English translations of Faust, ranked in order of preference. We also have a list of other great titles you might enjoy if you’re looking for something different to read. Enjoy!

1) The David Constantine translation is more literal and tries not to alter any meaning from the original German text.

2) The John George Robertson translation (published in 1957) focuses on Goethe’s life and work rather than simply translating the poem word-for-word.

3) The Nicholas Boyle translation is an accurate and updated edition of a translation first published in 1966.

4) The David Luke translation is also more literal and is closer to the original German text.

5) The Stephen Mitchell translation is more readable than Constantine’s but it lacks some of his accuracies.

6) Charles Hope’s translation is also more readable than Constantine’s but it too lacks some of his accuracies.

The best translation of Faust (Parts 1 and 2) 

As soon as possible after publication, David Luke translated Goethe’s Faust Part One. Luke’s version represents an accurate and updated edition of a translation first published in 1966.

Charles Hope’s new translation is also more readable, but it lacks some of the accuracy found in the David Constantine translation, which was published in 1852.


Is it worth reading “Faust” in translation? 

Yes, of course, it is worth reading Faust in translation, with over 100 different translations available today. So if you don’t mind what you read, I am sure that there is a version of this work available for you. But if you want to find the most accurate and literal translation, I would probably go for David Constantine.

But there are also other great translators such as John George Robertson and Nicholas Boyle who have also done an excellent job. So whichever one you pick, I am sure you will enjoy the experience of reading Faust.

How does Goethe’s Faust rhyme in translated English?

It depends on the translation, but most translators try to preserve some aspects of rhyme in their English version. Some use patterns of stressed syllables that rhyme perfectly within the English line, while others use different forms of rhyme such as false rhymes and assonance. Some also use rhyme in specific areas to highlight significant moments.

The best translation of Faust, in terms of capturing the poetic elements and retaining the rhyme scheme, is probably David Luke’s. However, it is also the most expensive and may be difficult to find. If you’re looking for an affordable option that is still fairly true to the original, James Russell’s version is a good choice.

Ultimately, whether or not it is worth reading Faust in translation depends on your own preferences and understanding of the text. If you like German literature and want to read one of the greatest works ever written by a German author, we recommend reading an English translation.