The Faust Tradition from Marlowe
German 298C / Foreign Languages 100
Fall Semester 1999
MW 2:00 - 3:15 / Taylor 105
Prof. Christine Manteghi
The legendary Faust, a man who sells his soul to the devil to achieve
his personal aspirations, has appeared repeatedly in masterpieces of world
literature, art, and music since the 16th century. Who was Faust and why
has he fascinated writers, artists and thinkers for centuries? In
this course, we will examine the development of the Faust motif through
time, from the legend’s origins in the Renaissance-Reformation period through
the Enlightenment and the trials and tribulations of the twentieth century.
Primarily through our readings of literary texts, but also in the media
of art, music, and film, we will explore such questions as: What is the
Faustian nature? What facets of the Faust motif have ensured its lasting
relevance through 400 years of historical and social transformation?
How does each age adapt the motif to its own concerns, and where do the
elements of continuity and change lie? What does the prevalence of the
Faust motif in the Modern period say about humanity and the times we live
These texts are available for purchase at the A.S. Bookstore:
Christopher Marlowe. Doctor Faustus and Other Plays. Oxford/New
York: Oxford UP, latest ed.
German 298C students should additionally buy the German texts:
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Faust. Trans. Walter Kaufmann. New
York: Doubleday, latest ed.
Thomas Mann. Doctor Faustus. The Life of the German Composer Adrian
Told by a Friend. Trans. H.T. Lowe-Porter. New York:
Heinrich Heine. Der Doktor Faust. Ein Tanzpoem. Stuttgart: Reclam,
In addition, copies of texts & excerpts will be distributed &
readings will be made available in the limited loan area of Meriam Library
as the semester progresses. These include but are not limited to:
Thomas Mann. Doktor Faustus. Das Leben des deutschen Tonsetzers
erzählt von einem Freunde. Frankfurt a.M.: Fischer,
Johann Spiess. Historia von D. Johann Fausten (1587). Excerpts.
The Historie of the damnable life, and deserved death of Doctor
John Faustus (1592). Excerpts.
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing. Faust fragment (1755-67).
Heinrich Heine. Doktor Faust. A Dance Poem (1851). Trans. Basil
Ashmore. NY: Nevill, 1952.
Oswald. Spengler. Decline of the West. Excerpts.
Hermann Hesse, “Ein Abend bei Dr. Faust,” in Fabulierbuch (1927).
Bertolt Brecht, “Thesen zur Faustus-Diskussion” in the journal Sinn
und Form (1953).
I.A. Richards. Tomorrow Morning, Faustus! (1962).
Final grades for the course will be based on the following criteria:
Participation & oral reports:
|Participation & oral reports
|Response papers (4)
|Take-home mid-term exam
|Final project & presentation
Because the course will in large part consist of the discussion of
the texts we read, your participation forms an important part of your grade.
In order to participate effectively, you should come to class prepared.
For each reading assignment, I will assign questions which will guide you
in your reading. Occasionally, I will ask for volunteers to research
and briefly report on specific topics and issues. These reports will provide
background information for our discussions.
Throughout the semester, I will give a number of specific written assignments
(approximately one per week). Of these, students should select at
least four and write a one- to two-page response on each.
If more than 4 assignments are completed, the highest four grades will
The mid-term exam will cover the time period from the inception of
the Faust legend through Goethe's Faust II. The text will consist
primarily of essay questions and may be completed at home. It will be distributed
in mid-October, and students will have approximately one week to prepare
Final project & presentation:
In lieu of a traditional final exam, students will prepare a final
project related to the Faust theme. Possibilities include, but are
not limited to: a research paper, an original Faust story, a video or audio
production, a puppet show, an online production, etc. Projects may be completed
individually or in groups. During the alloted final exam period, students
will present their projects or research results to the class.