Faustus, from the German of Goethe
London: Boosey & Sons, 1821. First English language edition. First appearance of this controversial translation, over which translation attribution is still debated. Bound in twentieth century full calf with gilt to spine, measuring 279 x 226mm. Bound without half title, otherwise collating complete including frontis and 26 plates (27 plates in all): viii, 86, . A Very Good+ to Near Fine copy with minimal scuffing and wear to corners. Typical light scattered foxing throughout. Small bookbinder's ticket to front pastedown; discrete library ticket to rear pastedown "From the Collection of David & Patricia Corey" (library auctioned 30 May 2018 in Norfolk). In all, an extremely pleasing example of this classic narrative of temptation.
Considered the first substantial translation into English of Goethe's work, controversy still exists over who deserves credit for it. Though Coleridge had begun a translation for John Murray in 1814, he declared that it was never completed. "In 1820, when demand was high in England for a translation to accompany Retzsch's iconic illustrations, George Soane answered the call with a series of excerpted captions. He was followed by Daniel Boileau, who contributed to the Boosey edition...both sold out quickly, but Thomas Boosey had initiated plans for a second edition of this version two months before the first edition appeared. He thus turned to Coleridge for 'friendly advice'...The new text was twenty-nine pages longer, and could be bound with the plates or separately as an original publication" (Burwick & McKusick). (Item #5419)