In 2011, Reclam published a two-volume Studienausgabe of Faust I and II (based on the Ausgabe letzter Hand), edited and with commentary by Ulrich Gaier. The following year, Edition Isele published Gaier’s Lesarten von Goethes “Faust.” These three volumes were originally published in 1999 as part of a box set titled Faust-Dichtungen (Reclam). The Studienausgabe and Lesarten von Goethes “Faust,” as Gaier explains in the preface to the latter, are revised and expanded versions of the second and third volumes of his Faust-Dichtungen (9). The publication history of these texts does not take away from their contribution to Faust scholarship or their usefulness for both scholars and students at all levels; however, readers should note that, due to their publication history, they do not necessarily reflect the most recent advances in the field. The correspondence between these texts is especially significant for readers of the Studienausgabe, as Gaier’s introductions to scenes and acts refer throughout to the various “readings” in Lesarten von Goethes “Faust,” which address the following categories: religious, natural philosophical, magical, historical, sociological, economic, anthropological, and poetic. In the preface to Lesarten von Goethes “Faust,” he notes that the earlier religious and historical readings have been expanded and that the poetic section has the most new material, including sections elaborating on lesser-known connections to art, music, and world literature as well as Goethe’s use of “Chronotextualität” and “Chronomarker zur Kennzeichnung der historischen Entwicklungsstufen der Handlung” (12). Gaier defines the former as “ein Verfahren Goethes, Kulturepochen durch Nachbildung der für sie kennzeichnenden Gattungen, Genres und Formen von Dichtung für den Leser und Hörer sinnfällig zu machen” (759). He then offers specific examples of “Chronomarker” from both parts of Faust and concludes that in the final scenes “Grablegung” and “Bergschluchten” Goethe merges the time periods between 1500 and 1830 (763). With some background on the history of these three texts, let us turn to Gaier’s primary argument, which runs throughout both Lesarten von Goethes “Faust” and the two volumes of the Studienausgabe.
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