A couple months back Books and Vines took a look at an amazing 1920 publication of Faust by publisher Julius Schroder as part of a series called Meisterwerke der Weltliteratur mit Original-Graphik (Masterworks of World Literature with Original Artwork). Recently while browsing books at Book Gallery in Phoenix, I stumbled on another old, beautiful edition of Faust, this one illustrated by the great illustrator Willy Pogany.
William Andrew Pogany (1882-1955), born in Hungary, illustrated over 150 books in his career. He is most famous for Art Nouveau style illustrations of classic myths and legends. I find his work colorful, representational and simply beautiful to look at, with an almost dream-like quality about it. Pictures below will highlight what I mean.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) is considered the foremost German writer of modern literature, with his Faust often being thought of as the greatest long poem in modern European literature. His written works cross many genre’s, including poetry, drama, prose, philosophy, and science. Besides Faust, his best known works are Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship, The Sorrows of Young Werther, Italian Journey, and his many poems (such as Marienbad Elegy). Goethe was a German da Vinci, being an artist, biologist, theoretical physicist, and polymath, in addition to being a writer. His work on plant morphology and color theory are especially noteworthy. His interests were vast and his influence has been profound across many fields, be it literature, science, philosophy, music and culture.
Faust was first published in 1808, and revised by Goethe himself in 1828/29. The story is familiar to almost all. Faust makes a deal with the devil. The devil will serve Faust while Faust lives on earth. In exchange, Faust’s soul belongs to the devil; Faust will serve the devil in hell. Goethe’s Faust has been enormously influential in literature and also in music. Goethe wrote a second part for Faust, called Faust Part Two, in 1831. It was published posthumously in 1832.
The illustrations by Pogany are just fantastic, as you can see below. The binding of this edition is classically beautiful, as is the type. Best of all, just look at the decorations around the initial letter for each chapter!
About the Edition
- First US edition, first printing; Originally published in the UK in 1908
- Printed in Great Britain by A.C. Fowler
- Illustrated with 30 color illustrations by Willy Pogany with printed tissue guards, plus initial letters and decorations
- Preface by Roger Ingpen
- Appendixes & notes
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