Faust, Part Two, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Julius Schroder’s ‘Masterworks of World Literature With Original Illustrations’

{Ed. Note: In December 2011 Books and Vines published an article by DlphcOracl on a magnificent volume of Faust, published by Julius Schroder in 1920 as part of his Masterworks of World Literature with Original Artwork. It turns out that DlphcOracl also has Faust Part Two from this same series by Schroder, which we now present to you below. For those who have not read the previous article, I include some information from it below for context.}

Despite its brief life and small output, Julius Schroder’s ambitious series Meisterwerke der Weltliteratur mit Original-Graphik is a remarkable achievement.  He began this series of fine press books in 1920, less than two years after the conclusion of World War I had left Germany devastated and demoralized.  Schroder published approximately 18 to 20 fine press books varying from well-crafted editions to truly extraordinary books. The press appears to have been active from 1920-1925 and the best books from this series are extraordinary.  Although Schroder’s tastes in subject matter for his Meisterwerke series are uneven, his choice of artists to illustrate this books was unerring — all of the books I have seen from this series have wonderful original illustrations.

It seems as if each book published by Julius Schroder in his Meisterwerke series had at least two editions —- a standard edition and a ‘Luxusausgabe’ or ‘Deluxe Edition’.  Within the deluxe editions a handful were “Super-Deluxe Editions” and included a separate portfolio of the illustrations, each hand signed by the artist. The quality and design of the standard editions and deluxe editions varied with each book, i.e., the standard version of the Faust I and II books is far more elaborate and beautiful than the standard edition of several less important books published in his Meisterwerke series, entirely befitting Johann Wolfgang von Goethe‘s status as a seminal figure in modern German literature.  In general, however, the Luxusausgabe versions were bound by Knorr & Hirth (Munich) in full vellum with a very elaborate combination of hand tooling and gilt ornamentation of the vellum.

My copy of Faust, Erster Teil (Part One), reviewed here, is typical of the Luxusausgabe editions, bound in full vellum with extensive tooling and gilt embellishment.  My copy of Faust, Zweiter Teil (Part Two), shown below, is the standard or less luxurious edition.  It is bound with cloth and does not contain the 20 original illustrations by Bruno Goldschmitt contained in the deluxe vellum edition. Why did I opt for the lesser of the two versions for Faust, Zweiter Teil?  Because I could not find a copy of the deluxe vellum edition in decent condition over several years of searching and my standard copy came onto the market in flawless, ‘as new’ condition, a rarity for any of the Julius Schroder’s books which are now ninety years old.  The full vellum binding is problematic in that nearly all of these books develop bowing or “saucerization” of the covers and the vellum is a dirt and grime magnet.  Invariably, it becomes somewhat dirty, slightly grubby, and is often stained or torn.  If I ever do locate a fine version of the deluxe edition of Faust, Part Two I will purchase it, though I am not optimistic about this happening.

One final note:  the editions of Faust I and II are unique amongst the Julius Schroder books in that they are the only ones I am aware of that are elephant-folio sized, measuring 13.5 inches in width by 17 inches in height. All of the other books, whether standard or deluxe edition, are smaller (although still folio sized). Again, this is indicative of the importance Dr. Julius Schroder attached to his Faust publications and Goethe’s central role in German literature and culture.

My edition shown below is a presentation volume from Dr. Schroder to his godchild Detlef Muller.  Underneath the colophon in Faust, Part Two is a handwritten note (in pencil) from Schroder to Muller. The pictures below include photo’s in which I have printed the original note by Schroder in German along with its English translation so that it correlates perfectly with the inscription.  The final two images show Volumes I and II together with a fountain pen placed between them to illustrate the monumental size of these books (17 inches height by 13 1/2 inches width).

Pictures

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Faust, Part Two, Julius Schroder Publisher, front cover
Faust, Part Two, Julius Schroder Publisher, rear board
Faust, Part Two, Julius Schroder Publisher, spine with gilt title
Faust, Part Two, Julius Schroder Publisher, Introductory page with publisher’s initials and crest (Julius Schroder)
Faust, Part Two, Julius Schroder Publisher, Title page #1
Faust, Part Two, Julius Schroder Publisher, Title page #2
Faust, Part Two, Julius Schroder Publisher, Act One, page one
Faust, Part Two, Julius Schroder Publisher, Sample page with Fraktur typeface (German Gothic script)
Faust, Part Two, Julius Schroder Publisher, Faust, Part Two colophon
Faust, Part Two, Julius Schroder Publisher, Presentation volume inscription by Dr. Julius Schroder, publisher
Faust, Part Two, Julius Schroder Publisher, Translation of Dr. Schroder’s inscription to his godchild Detlef Muller
Faust, Part Two, Julius Schroder Publisher, Faust, I and II, spines, with fountain pen placed between volumes for reference purposes
Faust, Part Two, Julius Schroder Publisher, Faust, Vol. I and II, front boards, with fountain pen placed between volumes for reference purposes

3 thoughts on “Faust, Part Two, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Julius Schroder’s ‘Masterworks of World Literature With Original Illustrations’

  1. Thanks for showing us this book DlphcOracl – an interesting ‘association’ copy. I hope you track down the ‘deluxe’ edition. This article prompted me to look back (again) at the Faust you posted earlier and it is just magnificent!

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