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Faust thru the Centuries - 2013 > Faust thru the Centuries- 2013 - Description, Questions, & Resources

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message 1: by Jim (last edited Dec 20, 2012 12:14PM) (new)

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
“Faust thru the Centuries 2013” is a survey of the medieval legend of Doctor Johann Faust and his deal with Satan’s representative, Mephistopheles. Our reading begins with one of the oldest printed texts of the legend from 1587, and ends with David Mamet’s stage play from 2004. Hopefully members will attempt to read all these selected versions of the legend and the two screen adaptations to compare and contrast how the story has evolved over the centuries. During the week of June 6-9, we will have an open discussion of the differences and similarities between these works.

Historia von D. Johann Fausten , by Anonymous, was published as a chapbook in Frankfurt am Main in 1587. It was widely read and became the source for Marlowe and Goethe’s versions of the legend. An English translation can be found here:
http://lettersfromthedustbowl.com/fau...

The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe was first published in 1604, eleven years after Marlowe's death and at least twelve years after the first performance of the play. There are two versions – the 1604 “A text” and the 1616 “B text”. We will be reading the original “A text”. (Please check your edition to be sure you are reading the “A text”)

Faust, Parts I and II, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, were published in 1808 and 1832, respectively. Faust is one of Goethe’s most famous works and arguably one of the most important German language stage plays ever written.

Faust (movie) – F.W. Murnau – A silent film released in 1926, is based on Goethe’s Faust.
youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muQmM...

The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov was finished in 1937, but was not published in full until 1967, twenty-seven years after his death in 1940. Set in 1930’s Moscow and in Pontius Pilate’s Jerusalem, Bulgakov takes us on journey through all kinds of hells and then some.

Doktor Faustus, by Thomas Mann was first published in German in 1947. Mann sets his version of Faust in the first half of the 20th century in the turmoil of Germany of that period.

Mephisto (movie) – This 1981 film is based on Klaus Mann’s novel of the same name and stars Klaus Maria Brandauer as an actor who strikes his Faustian deal with the Nazi Party.

Faustus, by David Mamet was published in 2004 and sets the Faust legend in contemporary times.


For each of these novels there will be one thread for "Questions, Resources, and General Banter". Post any links, reviews, and extra-textual resources here.

There will be multiple discussion threads, one for each weekly section of the works read. The dates and associated pages/chapters will be clearly marked to prevent accidental spoilers. A detailed reading/discussion schedule will be posted for all books.

Feel free to post any Questions you may have, or links to Faust-related Resources in this thread.


message 2: by Kalliope (new)

Kalliope | 8 comments Jim wrote: "“Faust thru the Centuries 2013” is a survey of the medieval legend of Doctor Johann Faust and his deal with Satan’s representative, Mephistopheles. Our reading begins with one of the oldest printed..."

Thank you. I was going to write to you regarding this Reading Project. The schedule and indications you have posted are perfect.


message 3: by Jim (new)

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
Kalliope wrote: "Jim wrote: "“Faust thru the Centuries 2013” is a survey of the medieval legend of Doctor Johann Faust and his deal with Satan’s representative, Mephistopheles. Our reading begins with one of the ol..."

You're welcome!

I haven't yet located a downloadable version of Historia von D. Johann Fausten. If you or anyone else in the group, finds a pdf, ebook, etc, please post a link here.

The version I linked to above can either be read onscreen, or you can copy and paste the text into a word processor like I did. It came out to about 40 pages altogether.


message 4: by Kalliope (new)

Kalliope | 8 comments Jim wrote: "Kalliope wrote: "Jim wrote: "“Faust thru the Centuries 2013” is a survey of the medieval legend of Doctor Johann Faust and his deal with Satan’s representative, Mephistopheles. Our reading begins w..."

Yes, I just did that. Pasted it into a document. It is easy to do.


message 5: by Ellie (new)

Ellie (elliearcher) I am so excited to reread Mann's Doctor Faustus-one of my favorite books ever.


message 6: by Simone (new)

Simone (stnlpl) | 23 comments I have just printed the list of books and will do my best to follow this year. I am really looking forward to this topic.


message 7: by Jim (last edited Dec 23, 2012 02:31AM) (new)

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
Simone wrote: "I have just printed the list of books and will do my best to follow this year. I am really looking forward to this topic."

Happy to have you join in the discussions. There are a lot of core ideas about morals, values, political positions and so on, incorporated into the story of making a "Faustian Bargain". I have a feeling our talks will extend beyond the boundaries of the books.

@Ellie - I haven't read Mann in a long time and I haven't read this one yet. BTW, EMan is hosting a read of The Magic Mountain over in the Classics and the Western Canon group this coming March. I don't think I have time for that read, but I will likely monitor the discussion.


message 8: by Ellie (new)

Ellie (elliearcher) Me too. I loved MM (but my favorite was Faustus).

I am very much looking forward to this year's reads in both themes as well as the Spine. I'm hoping to do a better job keeping up.


message 9: by William (new)

William Mego (willmego) | 119 comments Just a tie-in: Yeats "The Countess Cathleen" was a favorite of Joyce and is referenced in a couple of his works, perhaps most notably in Ulysses, which of course is a Brain Pain read from 2012. It's also a classic Faustian tale..

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cou...

The play is set ahistorically in Ireland during a famine. The idealistic Countess of the title sells her soul to the devil so that she can save her tenants for starvation and from damnation for having sold their own souls. After her death, she is redeemed as her motives were altruistic and ascends to Heaven.



message 10: by Jim (new)

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
Will wrote: "Just a tie-in: Yeats "The Countess Cathleen" was a favorite of Joyce and is referenced in a couple of his works, perhaps most notably in Ulysses, which of course is a Brain Pain read from 2012. It'..."

That sounds interesting. I'm curious to see how someone selling their soul for altruistic reasons matches up with the rest of the legends.


message 11: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (barbarasc) | 249 comments Ellie wrote: "Me too. I loved MM (but my favorite was Faustus).

I am very much looking forward to this year's reads in both themes as well as the Spine. I'm hoping to do a better job keeping up."


Same here. I've been wanting to read Goethe's Faust for AGES. I've had a copy of the book for years -- a version with the text in German on the left hand pages and in English on the right hand pages.

I just started Marlowe's Faustus last night -- The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus, and I'm loving it so far. I'm looking forward to the group discussion on this one.

I'm a slow reader AND I just started a new job, so I will have less time for reading. I really hope I can keep up with the group, because there are so many "2013 Brain Pain" books that I've been wanting to read for many years.

Jim -- thank you for all the great picks for this year, but you're killing me because I will NEVER have time to read all these books!!!


message 12: by Barbara (last edited Jan 06, 2013 02:43PM) (new)

Barbara (barbarasc) | 249 comments Ellie wrote: "Me too. I loved MM (but my favorite was Faustus).

Ellie, I'm ashamed to say that I've never read Thomas Mann (although he's been on my list of "authors to read" for a long time.)

Brain Pain and Classics and the Western Canon are my two favorite groups here, but I've been having an impossible time keeping up with the brilliant people in both groups!!!

Faustus was your favorite of Thomas Mann's books? I'm torn between this and Magic Mountain, but since I know for sure that I will be reading Marlowe's and Goethe's versions of the Faust story, I guess I will either be "burnt out" on Faust after these two, OR I will want more.

As a "Thomas Mann novice" I'm wondering which of these two -- Magic Mountain or Faustus is the better one for a "first Mann read."

OOOPS -- I DID SOMETHING WRONG -- I DON'T KNOW WHY MY ENTIRE POST CAME UP IN ITALICS!!! SORRY ABOUT THAT!!!



message 13: by Ellie (new)

Ellie (elliearcher) If I had to vote on a first Mann book, I'd choose Magic Mountain. I loved Magic Mountain & found it much more accessible than Faustus which was less accessible.


message 14: by Jim (new)

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
Barbara wrote: "Faustus was your favorite of Thomas Mann's books? I'm torn between this and Magic Mountain, but since I know for sure that I will be reading Marlowe's and Goethe's versions of the Faust story, I guess I will either be "burnt out" on Faust after these two, OR I will want more. ..."

If I can squeeze it in, I'm going to try to read and follow the MM discussion in the Classics group, which I think starts some time in March.


message 15: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (barbarasc) | 249 comments Ellie wrote: "If I had to vote on a first Mann book, I'd choose Magic Mountain. I loved Magic Mountain & found it much more accessible than Faustus which was less accessible."

Thank you Ellie!!

@Jim -- How you (and many others in this group) are able to read so many books (and juggle numerous books at a time) is completely beyond me!! I wish I could do it.

BUT, I am going to try to juggle at least two books at a time this year, because the Brain Pain schedule has three books going at once, and there are many I want to read at the same time the group is reading them.


message 16: by Jonas (new)

Jonas Dornelles (jkdornelles) | 2 comments Hi everyone. just writing to say that i'm very happy to join this group and this amazing group-reading. I'll try my best to follow it and take part of it.

just thinking about this theme, i remember one of the lastest work from the Paul Valery, inspired on Faust mithology. it called "Mon Faust", and it was remained unfinished.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31...

(a short review about)
http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307...

And as extra reference, i remember a play from the great portugues writer, Fernando Pessoa, "Fausto, Tragédia Subjetiva".

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/85...

both plays, from Valery and from Pessoa, are a more subjetive and personal aproach from Faust mith.

Cheers!


message 17: by Jim (new)

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
Jonas wrote: "Hi everyone. just writing to say that i'm very happy to join this group and this amazing group-reading. I'll try my best to follow it and take part of it.

just thinking about this theme, i remembe..."


Hello Jonas!

It's true, the Faust legend has inspired many artists over the past 400 years. I suppose there is some common human tendency to want more than life offers us, and so we are willing to make bad bargains to satisfy those desires.


message 18: by Jonas (new)

Jonas Dornelles (jkdornelles) | 2 comments For sure Jim! Faust character it's like those travelers and adventurers who search for the "Fountain of Imortallity" in the jungles of the"New World". I supose Faust it's kind an archetypal character.


message 19: by Alex (new)

Alex Jim wrote: "It's true, the Faust legend has inspired many artists over the past 400 years."

Yup. I've been interested in Faust for years now so I pay attention when I see Faustian elements in stories, and I see it...really quite frequently.

One of my favorite reimaginings of Faust is Mathew Lewis' lurid, insane, fun The Monk (1797).


message 20: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (barbarasc) | 249 comments For Goethe's Faust, I have the Walter Kaufman translation. Unfortunately it does not have explanatory notes (or footnotes), but I've had this book on my shelf for years, and would rather read something I already have, as opposed to purchasing a different edition.

UNLESS Jim or someone else here tells me that the Walter Kaufman edition is not a good translation, or it's difficult to understand without the explanatory notes.

Any comments, thoughts, or suggestions???


message 21: by Jim (new)

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
Barbara wrote: "For Goethe's Faust, I have the Walter Kaufman translation. Unfortunately it does not have explanatory notes (or footnotes), but I've had this book on my shelf for years, and would rather read somet..."

This wikipedia page for Kaufmann says that he translated Part One and "selections" from Part Two. Check your book and see if that's correct. You might be able to find Part Two as a separate book, but by a different translator. BTW, used copies of Faust should be easy to find, given its classic status.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_K...

I bought the Norton Critical Edition because they include interesting commentaries and notes.

Faust, A Tragedy: Interpretive Notes, Contexts, Modern Criticism


message 22: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (barbarasc) | 249 comments Jim wrote: "Barbara wrote: "For Goethe's Faust, I have the Walter Kaufman translation. Unfortunately it does not have explanatory notes (or footnotes), but I've had this book on my shelf for years, and would r..."

Thanks Jim!! I may get the edition you have.

Believe it or not, I have not been able to find any good editions on the Nook. In fact, if I just type in "Faust" all sorts of other books come up, having nothing to do with Faust!! Maybe I'll give the Nook one last try, but it looks like I'll be reading a "real/printed" book this time around. (My wrists are in REALLY bad shape, especially my left wrist which was not able to heal completely since I broke it in November 2011, so if I do read "real books" I usually need to find a thin and light edition.)

BUT, I've been wanting to read Faust for so long, so even if the Norton Critical Edition is heavy I may just grin and bear it.


message 23: by Alex (new)

Alex I read the Atkins translation, and I didn't particularly care for it. That's not worth much as I didn't compare it to any other translations, but maybe it's a touch helpful.

It's a very attractive edition, though.


message 24: by Jim (new)

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
I came across this film today

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faust_%2...

trailer here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqkoLV...

Anyone know about it?


message 25: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (barbarasc) | 249 comments Ellie wrote: "If I had to vote on a first Mann book, I'd choose Magic Mountain. I loved Magic Mountain & found it much more accessible than Faustus which was less accessible."

Ellie, I took your advice and chose Mann's Magic Mountain over his Faustus, and I just began reading it. I really want to read Mann's Faustus, but I've been finding that I can only read one book at a time (with a few exceptions here and there), and the last three books (in a row) that I've read were:
1) Marlowe's Faustus
2) Goethe's Faust
3) Bulgakov's Master and Margarita

All three were fantastic, but now I really need a BREAK FROM THE DEVIL!!! The sad thing is that I work in the music business, and Mann's Faustus is about a classical composer. I'm in the "rock" music world, not classical, but I know a LOT about classical composers (and especially classical piano), so I think I would have really enjoyed Mann's Faustus. (Not to mention the fact that I know a lot of rock musicians who would sell their soul to the devil to write and/or record the greatest song in the world.)

I do plan on reading it at some point, but with all of the books on the schedule here for the remainder of the year, who knows when I'll find the time!!!

BUT, as far as the "Faust Through the Ages" books, I plan on reading Mamet's Faustus. I've already downloaded the sample to my Nook. By May 20th, when the Mamet discussion begins, my "vacation from the devil" should be finished.

Jim, I don't know anything about the Faust film you just posted in Message 24 of this thread.


message 26: by Dee (last edited Mar 08, 2013 02:53AM) (new)

Dee (deinonychus) | 27 comments I am about to read The Magic Mountain, and it will be my first Mann. I guess how I get on with it will determine whether I attempt Doctor Faustus with you guys - though I love classical music so I shall very likely read it. Also, The Master and Margarita will be my first read from the Faust project, so I won't be as Fausted-out as some of you.

Jim, never heard of that film, but it sure looks interesting. Alexander Sokurov is the guy who did Russian Ark, right?


message 27: by Dee (new)

Dee (deinonychus) | 27 comments Fascinating interview with Sokurov here, talking about Faust and his other work.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/n...


message 28: by Jim (new)

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
David wrote: "Fascinating interview with Sokurov here, talking about Faust and his other work.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/n..."


Thanks for the link! I'm going to seek out his movies now.


message 29: by Whitney (new)

Whitney | 326 comments David wrote: "Jim, never heard of that film, but it sure looks interesting. Alexander Sokurov is the guy who did Russian Ark, right?
..."


Oooh, that makes it a must-see, I Iove Sokurov's films. "Mother and Son" was one of the most intimate and touching movies I've ever seen. He's one of those filmmakers who may not work very well on DVD though. I may have to drive to Seattle for Faust when it's released here.


message 30: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) I didn't participate or follow the Faust reading this year, but to ask :: Did anyone write up something comprehensive about the whole project? Or did anyone review each of the books?


message 31: by Mkfs (last edited Dec 12, 2013 12:02PM) (new)

Mkfs | 210 comments Sorry to arrive so late to a conversation about Faust!

I actually saw the Sokurov movie last night. Long, slow, pretentious, and very ugly. Even more ugly than Jabberwocky. This was a very mundane take on the Faust legend: there is no magic, no metaphysics, simply a poverty-stricken Faust yearning for money and one night with a teenage girl. The film itself is worth seeing and well-made -- just steel yourself for the experience beforehand. New Yorkers: tonight is the last night Faust is playing at Cinema Village.

My two favorite Faust movies are Svankmajer's Faust and a Spanish film called Fausto 5.0. The first is hard to describe: a Punch-and-Judy devil, a world riddled with omens, a befuddled Faust who may not even realize what is happening to him. The second is a fantastic (and surprisingly overlooked) modernization of the faust legend, with a suitably contemporary Mephistopheles.

For aficionados of the Faust legend, the book Lives of Faust is a great resource. It includes the Faust book of 1587, as well as The Puppet Play of Doctor Faust, Faust: An opera in Five Acts, and the libretto for Berlioz's The Damnation of Faust.


message 32: by Jim (new)

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
Mkfs wrote: "Sorry to arrive so late to a conversation about Faust!

I actually saw the Sokurov movie last night. Long, slow, pretentious, and very ugly. Even more ugly than Jabberwocky. This was a very mundane..."


The Lives of Faust book looks pretty good. Thanks for the link!


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