Seduction and transgression, forbidden knowledge and the insatiable lust for learning, the limits of cognition, human will, and the problem of evil – these are the central themes that circulate through the legend of Faust, who is said to have exchanged his immortal soul for infinite wisdom and power. The seminar examines the elaboration and complication of this legend across the centuries and its formative role in the development of European literature and philosophy. In addition to studying Goethe’s masterwork, the seminar includes analyses of related works in European literature, music, and the visual arts, all with reference to shifting historical contexts and philosophical reflections.
Course Notes: All readings are available in English. Offered jointly with the Comparative Literature Department as Comp. Lit. 180. Credit may be earned for Comp. Lit. 180 or German 180, but not both.