Twentieth-Century Cultural Struggles
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: Southern Illinois University Press
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List of Figures
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Some years ago, the idea that “master narratives” were harmful to authentic cultural understanding gained currency in academic and intellectual circles. Even the word humanism became suspect, and “humanist values” were said to cloak agendas of cultural domination, whether based on geopolitics or gender...
Introduction: Inventions of Faust
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In the sixteenth century, it fell to German culture to contribute one of the seminal modern figures with which Western civilization has come to be defined: the figure of Faust. He has few peers: Spain gave us Don Quixote and Don Juan; England, Hamlet. Hamlet, Don Juan, Don Quixote, and Faust have become “types” in our culture...
1 Faust and Early Film Spectatorship
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In the first transcription we have of the legend of Faust, the Spies Historia of 1587, he is a showman and entertainer as well as a quester after knowledge. In the early versions, which include Christopher Marlowe’s The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, Faust suffers damnation— but not until he has tasted every pleasure and indulged every irreverent thought...
2. German Fascism and the Contested Terrain of Culture
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Goethe made Faust into a cosmopolitan figure, a representative, as the Hungarian critic Georg Lukács writes, of the “destiny of mankind”; Thomas Mann, in his epic struggle with Nazism, brings him back to his German roots in the folktale. Doctor Faustus, written while Mann was in exile...
3. Socialist Visions: Faust and Utopia
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In the last act of Goethe’s Faust, Mephistopheles has commanded the lemures, known in classical mythology as kinless and hungry ghosts, to dig a grave for Faust. But Faust, who has just been blinded by Care, thinks that they are building a dike against the sea in order to wrest from it new land for human habitation...
4. Gendering Faust
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Socialist Fausts have heretofore remained male—this suggests a reluctance of socialist utopian thinkers to rethink issues of gender and relations of power between the sexes. Isn’t this a failure to think through all the implications of the Faustian bargain? Goethe’s Faust, after all, demands to experience “what to all of mankind is apportioned” (1770–71)...
5. Anti-Fausts and the Avant-Garde
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Georg Lukács saw Goethe’s Faust as the expression of “the destiny of all mankind,” an attempt to synthesize in a single work the history and identity of Western humanity.1 But Lukács also saw that Goethe stood on the brink of a new world he could not be a part of. His synthesis looks backward...
6. Oneiric Fausts: Repression and Liberation in the Cold War Era
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The feminization of Faust passes through the oneiric in order to open up language in new configurations and to explore the possibilities of reimagining a different reality. In the avant-garde, dreams play a role in surrealist versions of Faust and in the turn from rationality...
Conclusion: Reframing the Faustian Question
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Klaus Berghahn, writing in 1987, suggests that the Faust myth may have played itself out in the twentieth century.1 Yet, in the twenty-first century, interest in Faust shows no sign of abating. In the early days of the new millennium, the complete text of Goethe’s...
Selected Filmography: Chronology of Faust Films
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Selected Bibliography: Faust in Myth and Legend
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Page Count: 262
Illustrations: 24 b/w halftones
Publication Year: 2009