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The Fortunes of Dr Faustus
Course code: ELCS6063
Tutor: Dr F Bugliani
Mode of Assessment: 3 hour desk examination
Term: taught in term 2
Is it good or bad to want from life more than nature can offer? Should mankind be allowed to dominate everything by means of intellect or science, even the most hidden secrets of the world? What do damnation and salvation mean? These are the questions that major European writers have addressed by adapting the legend of Faustus through four centuries to the present. The course aims to assess how versions of this legend have mirrored changes in European literature, philosophy and religion from the Renaissance to the present. The course considers versions of the Faustus legend written by, among other authors, Christopher Marlowe, JW Goethe, Paul Valery, Fernando Pessoa, Alexander Pushkin and Thomas Mann; and adaptations and parodies in operas, films and creative writing inspired by the myth.
- Christopher Marlowe, The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, 1604. Any edition. Available online at the Project Gutenberg.
- Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Faust, 1808, 1832. English trans: Faust: A Tragedy, part one and sections from part two, tr. and intro. Walter Kaufmann (New York 1961).Translation by Bayard Taylor available online at Project Gutenberg.
- Alexander Pushkin, ‘Scene from Faust’, tr. and intro. Alan Shaw, The New Criterion, vol. 28, n. 8, 2010, 32-36. Available online.
- Thomas Mann, Doktor Faustus, 1947. English trans: Doctor Faustus, tr. H. T. Lowe-Porter  (London, 1992).
- Fernando Pessoa, Fausto: Tragédia Subjectiva. English trans: ‘Faust: Subjective Tragedy’, tr. Richard Zenith, in Ferdinando Pessoa, A Little Larger Than The Entire Universe: Selected Poems, ed. and tr. Richard Zenith (New York 2006).
- Paul Valéry, Mon Faust (ébauches) (Paris, 1962). English translation of relevant passages will be provided.
Initial Secondary Bibliography:
- Bates, Paul A., Faust: Sources, Works, Criticism (New York, 1969)
- Boerner, Peter (ed.), Faust Through Four Centuries: Retrospect and Analysis, (Tübingen 1989)
- Butler, Eliza Marian, The Fortunes of Faust  (Cambridge 1979)
- Pelikan, Jaroslav, Faust the Theologian (London 1995)
- Watt, Ian, Myths of Modern Individualism: Faust, Don Quixote, Don Juan, Robinson Crusoe (Cambridge 1996)