Anonymous: Historia von D. Johann Fausten [Chapbook of Dr Johann Faustus]

(2289 words)

Significant as the first printed manifestation of the Faust legend, the Historia von D. Johann Fausten is a crude compilation of previously circulating anecdotal matter that gained great popularity by 1600 (22 editions within a decade). Certainly, this so-called Volksbuch (chapbook) is a valuable mirror of the turmoil of the age with its struggle between medieval superstitions, progressive Renaissance humanism, and the victorious orthodoxy of Lutheranism. Yet from a literary perspective the “Faustbook” is particularly intriguing since it merges features from history and legend into an early modern work of fiction that was to become the seminal source for all subsequent Faust versions in novel and …

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Hoffmeister, Gerhart. "Historia von D. Johann Fausten". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 August 2011
[, accessed 28 September 2016.]