Faust


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Acronyms, Wikipedia.

Faust

(foust),

Faustus

(fô`stəs, fou`–), or

Johann Faust

(yō`hän), fl. 16th cent., learned German doctor who traveled widely, performed magical feats, and died under mysterious circumstances. According to legend he had sold his soul to the devil (personified by Mephistopheles in many literary versions) in exchange for youth, knowledge, and magical power.

Innumerable folk tales and invented stories were attached to his name. The first printed version is the Volksbuch (1587) of Johann Spiess, which, in English translation, was the basis of Christopher Marlowe's play Dr. Faustus (c.1588). Many versions followed, ranging from popular buffoonery to highly developed art forms. Spiess and Marlowe represent Faust as a scoundrel justly punished with eternal damnation, but Lessing instead saw in him the symbol of man's heroic striving for knowledge and power and therefore as worthy of praise and salvation.

Lessing's view of Faust as seeker was continued by GoetheGoethe, Johann Wolfgang von
, 1749–1832, German poet, dramatist, novelist, and scientist, b. Frankfurt. One of the great masters of world literature, his genius embraced most fields of human endeavor; his art and thought are epitomized in his great dramatic poem Faust.
..... Click the link for more information.
 in one of the greatest dramatic poems ever written. He enlarged upon the old legend, adding the element of love and the saving power of woman and giving the story a philosophical treatment. Goethe first came to grips with the theme in 1774 (in what is called the Urfaust). The first part of Faust appeared in 1808; it is more suitable for the theater than the more profound and philosophic second part (1833).

The many subsequent Faust novels and dramas, among them those of Klinger, Chamisso, Grabbe, and Lenau, could not rival the power and fame of Goethe's work. A recent variant of the Faust legend is Thomas Mann's novel Doktor Faustus (1947, tr. 1948). Goethe's Faust inspired innumerable composers of operas, oratorios, stage music, and symphonic works, including Berlioz, Gounod, Schumann, Liszt, and Boito. Spohr's and Busoni's Faust operas are based on other literary models.

Bibliography

See H. G. Meek, Johann Faust (1930); P. M. Palmer and R. P. More, Sources of the Faust Tradition (1936).

Faust

 

(Faustus), the scholar hero of a German legend, originating during the Reformation, who made a pact with the devil to gain knowledge, wealth, and the experience of worldly pleasures. The legend of Faust, a historical figure of whom contemporary evidence survives, became inextricably entwined with traditional tales of magi, wandering scholars, and charlatans, incorporating elements of the fantastic from Christian hagiography and medieval demonology.

The first literary presentation of the Faust legend appeared in 1587, when J. Spiess published the Story of Doctor Johann Faustus, Famous Sorcerer and Practitioner of Black Magic. Thereafter, Faust became the hero of German Volksbücher (or Faust-books), a drama by C. Marlowe, puppet plays, and pantomimes. In the second half of the 18th century, several leading German literary figures revived interest in the Faust legend, among them G. E. Lessing, who interpreted it in accordance with the convictions of the Enlightenment. Faust, Lessing believed, had to be saved, because the search for truth to which he dedicated himself could never become the province of Satan. During the Sturm und Drang period, such poets as J. M. R. Lenz and F. M. von Klinger found a congenial theme in Faust. J. W. von Goethe, in his drama Faust (part 1, 1808; part 2, 1832), suggested that man can achieve success in his quest for an understanding of human existence only through faith in the power of reason and in his ability to change the world.

The romantic poets of the early 19th century, for example, A. von Chamisso and N. Lenau, also turned to the Faust legend. In their treatment, however, they generally introduced Byronic motifs, stressing those elements in Faust that suggested the discontented wanderer suffering from Weltschmerz. In recent times the most significant work on the Faust theme has been T. Mann’s novel Doctor Faustus (1947), which juxtaposed Faust’s tragic fate with the fate of the novel’s hero and, more broadly, that of all Germany.

The personality of Faust inspired many Russian writers, including A. S. Pushkin, V. F. Odoevskii, and I. S. Turgenev. During the crisis of bourgeois culture, the Faust legend was given an irrationalistic interpretation in the works of K. D. Bal’mont, V. Ivanov, and S. Solov’ev, among others. The progressive trend in creative adaptations of the legend was continued in works by A. V. Lunacharskii and M. Gorky.

The mythological nature of the Faust story permitted its treatment outside literature. It became the theme of operas by C. Gounod, I. Walter, and F. Busoni and symphonic compositions by R. Wagner, F. Liszt, and G. Mahler. Artists, such as E. Delacroix, M. A. Vrubel’, and M. Beckmann, illustrated the Faust legend and its literary interpretations.

REFERENCES

Legenda o doktore Fauste. Edition prepared by V. M. Zhirmunskii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1958.
Golik, I. “Bessmertie narodnoi legendy.” Voprosy literatury, 1962, no. 11.
Henning, H. Faust-Bibliographie, vols. 1–2. Berlin-Weimar, 1966–70.
Schroder, R. Gorkis Erneuerung der Fausttradition. Berlin, 1971.

L. E. GENIN

Faust

(Dr. Faustus) sells his soul to the devil in order to comprehend all experience. [Ger. Lit.: Goethe Faust; Br. Drama: Marlowe Doctor Faustus]
See: Devil

Faust

rejuvenated by Mephistopheles at the price of his soul. [Ger. Lit.: Goethe Faust]
References in periodicals archive ?
Written in the Age of Enlightenment, Goethe's epic poem has Faust saved from damnation by angels for his unending quest for truth.
One of the most glaring omissions in the Drew Faust article is the failure to mention "The Case for Reparations" put forward by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and published in the June 2014 issue of the Atlantic, bringing the young journalist national and international recognition.
With over 25 years of experience in the commercial real estate industry, including 17 years of fundraising achievement, Faust joins Cornerstone from JPMorgan Asset Management, where he served as managing director of its Global Real Assets Group.
COL Faust retired from Civil Service in October 2013 with more than 40 years of combined military and civilian service.
The resulting journey balances romance and temptation; and is widely regarded as a magical and tuneful masterpiece, based on Goethe's dramatic poem Faust, one of the great works of European Literature.
Faust recalls Zamperini humorously recounting his experiences as a long-distance runner in the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany.
This new Web site and advertising program provides Faust Appliance Repair and Service with a clear Internet access route for reaching precisely those potential customers as well as others dealing with a broken appliance.
Blanton's Houses and Households: A Comparative Study (1994), Faust suggests that the organization of space in these dwellings signals an egalitarian Israelite ideology and allows for adherence to the purity laws of Leviticus.
Bad Taste Company's Robbie Graham, says: "I am delighted and honoured to be nominated for such a prestigious award and have Faust recognised among such an amazing array of quality work.
Six years later, after Vladimir Putin had personally ensured the film's funding, the Faust that triumphed at the Venice Film Festival, where it won the Golden Lion, proved more metaphysical dirge than frothy operetta.
Citi Habitats agent Nathaniel Faust is a lifelong New Yorker with a passion for the city and though he just moved to Long Island City from his native Manhattan, he's all about NYC.
The brewery was acquired in 1875 by Johann Adalbert Faust, a cooper and brewer, and has remained in the Faust family ever since.