Eighteenth Century German Fausts

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

J. M. Van Der Laan (Illinois State University)
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The Literary Origins of Faust in the Sixteenth Century

Faust, the legendary figure who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for extraordinary experience and forbidden knowledge, first became a literary character in the German lands of the sixteenth century, specifically with the novelistic Historie von D. Johann Fausten / dem weitbeschreyten Zauberer vnnd Schwarzkünstler [History of Dr. Johann Faust, the Famous Magician and Necromancer] published (not written) by Johann Spies in 1587. Faust found a receptive audience again in the eighteenth century and became material for a number of writers with various agendas, ranging from investigations into his historical reality and cautionary tales for the pious, to expressions of Enlightened intellectualism, embodiments of Storm and Stress

8849 words

Citation: Van Der Laan, J. M.. "Eighteenth Century German Fausts". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 January 2023 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=19693, accessed 18 July 2024.]

19693 Eighteenth Century German Fausts 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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