What do men and women desire? For what will they barter their immortal souls? These two questions have haunted Western society, and these persistent queries find their fullest embodiment in the Faust legend. This memorable story, told and retold in novels, prose fiction, and drama, has also profoundly influenced music, art, and cinema. Sara Munson Deats explores its impact, tracing the development of the Faust topos from the seminal works of Marlowe and Goethe to the large number of dramatic and cinematic adaptations which have fascinated audiences and readers throughout the centuries. Her study traces the durability of this legend and its pervasive influence on the literature of the Western world, in which it has adapted across time, languages, and nations to reflect the concerns of a given era or place. This is the first comparative analysis of the Faust legend in drama and film.
David G. John - University of Waterloo. Canada