Faust – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Download Faust ebook. Faust is the protagonist of a classic German legend, based on the historical Johann Georg Faust (c. 1480–1540).
Faust is a charlatan who is highly successful yet dissatisfied with his life, which leads him to make a pact with the Devil, exchanging his soul for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures. The Faust legend has been the basis for many literary, artistic, cinematic, and musical works that have reinterpreted it through the ages. “Faust” and the adjective “Faustian” imply a situation in which an ambitious person surrenders moral integrity in order to achieve power and success for a delimited term.
The Faust of early books—as well as the ballads, dramas, movies, and puppet-plays which grew out of them—is irrevocably damned because he prefers human to divine knowledge; “he laid the Holy Scriptures behind the door and under the bench, refused to be called doctor of Theology, but preferred to be styled doctor of Medicine”. Plays and comic puppet theatre loosely based on this legend were popular throughout Germany in the 16th century, often reducing Faust and Mephistopheles to figures of vulgar fun. The story was popularised in England by Christopher Marlowe, who gave it a classic treatment in his play, The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus (whose date of publication is debated, but likely around 1587). In Goethe’s reworking of the story two hundred years later, Faust becomes a dissatisfied intellectual who yearns for “more than earthly meat and drink” in his life.
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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born in Frankfurt am Main in 1749. In 1774 he published his first major work, the self-revelatory novel The Sorrows of Young Werther, in which he created the prototype of the Romantic hero, and instigated a European fashion. He consequently became a leading figure in the Sturm und Drang movement, which celebrated a Promethean restlessness of spirit as opposed to the rationalism of the Enlightenment. Later, in the service of Duke Karl August at Weimar, Goethe took on a wide variety of social and cultural roles and, with his journey to Italy in 1786-88, turned extensively to Classical art and thought as a means of achieving greater personal balance and perspective. He also developed a range of scientific interests, for example plant biology and the theory of colour. His later literary achievements include the drama of Faust, and a wealth of shorter poems and lyrics embodying his mature philosophy. Goethe died in Weimar in 1832.
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