Wilhelm Meister's Theatrical Calling

Wilhelm Meister's Theatrical Calling

Johann Wolfgang Goethe, John R. Russell

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The original version of Goethe's Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship in its first modern English translation.
In 1910 a Zurich pupil showed his teacher a family heirloom, an eighteenth century manuscript that the latter identified as the long lost first version of Goethe's Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship (1796), which the author in effect suppressed; his work on the novel was interrupted by his journey to Italy in the late 1780s, and after returning to Weimar he abandoned the Calling while preserving much of its material and poetry in the Apprenticeship, where the medium remains the theatre but the focus shifts to the maturation of Wilhelm. However, the Calling is more than just an early draft of the Apprenticeship; it contains material not found in the later work and gives an entirely different view of the protagonist's family. At the centre of the Calling stands the theatre, and in following its youthful protagonist, the reader is systematically exposed to the many manifestations which characterise its development, from child's play through vaudeville and circus down to court theatre and ultimately modern theatre reflecting middle-class, urban life.


I want to applaud...this book; in this English version as well as in the original [it] is a good read. JOURNAL OF EUROPEAN STUDIES
Russell offers a vibrant translation. SOUTHERN HUMANITIES REVIEW

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