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 drama beyond Marlowe and Goethe to Fernando Pessoa and Thomas Mann.
The birth of the Faust
Citation: Hoffmeister, Gerhart. "Historia von D. Johann Fausten". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 August 2011 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=33491, accessed 06 December 2023.]