#37 Faust – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Faust: the first part of the tragedy
Faust: the second part of the tragedy


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Classics, Magic Realism, Poetry, Tragedy







Though very complex, Faust is a magnificent piece of art.

Title (Original)

Faust: der tragödie erster Teil
Faust: der tragödie zweiter Teil

Year of Publication

1808, 1832



Short Description & Notes

Faust is a book about Heinrich Faust, a scholar who is taken by God and Devil in a divine bet. The first part of the tragedy starts in heaven, where God servants and Maphistopheles describe the state of God’s work. Maphistopheles has a more negative perspective of humankind and says that he can lure God’s favorite human being, who desires to possess absolute knowledge. Then the tragedy describes the ways Faust’s life takes under Maphistopheles’ influence.
The first part is in my opinion the best. The second one has many classical and mythological allusions and at times we just wish to know what is happening to Faust.

“Goethe’s Faust reworks the late medieval myth of a brilliant scholar so disillusioned he resolves to make a contract with Mephistopheles. The devil will do all he asks on Earth and seeks to grant him a moment in life so glorious that he will wish it to last forever. But if Faust does bid the moment stay, he falls to Mephisto and must serve him after death. In this first part of Goethe’s great work, the embittered thinker and Mephistopheles enter into their agreement, and soon Faust is living a rejuvenated life and winning the love of the beautiful Gretchen. But in this compelling tragedy of arrogance, unfulfilled desire, and self-delusion, Faust heads inexorably toward an infernal destruction.” – Goodreads: Faust

Remarkable Quotes

“A man sees in the world what he carries in his heart.”

“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”

Fun Facts

Faust is perhaps the greatest work in German literature.

Many other books have been written about the same subject. I met Goethe’s Faust through the book the Master and Margarita by Mickhail Bulgakov which epigraphe is composed by an extract from Faust: “Who are you then? I am part of the power which eternally wills evil and eternally works good.”

The masterpiece has been adapted to cinema several times. The last one was in 2011 by the hand of Aleksandr Sokurov.

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