Faust 1 & 2

A Web of Deals

By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Translated By Stuart Atkins
German, 1808

Main Attractions

By Goethe

1. Inspired so Many Retellings  
2. Wise & Patient Devil
3. Foolish Poet Scholar
4. Greek Mythology Retold!
5. Unpredictable & Fun to Read
6. Humour: Satiric, Dark and Wise
7. Delightful Characters
8. Straightforward & Insightful
9. Has Something for Everyone
10. Feels like Light Reading


Cuisine & Delicacies

Ranked as: Dessert Bar
It’s rich in a variety of characters, mini-plot lines, poetic phrases that all add up to one story.  It can be read as a simple story or you can dive deeper into the more subtle meanings.

Why Visit Here

Faust inspired a lot of other writers.  There are numerous retellings, adaptations and themes borrowed from Goethe’s Faust.  It’s so rich in philosophy but it never blocks the flow of the story.  The plot is always at the forefront.  The philosophy just adds humour and banter.

Destination Summary

The whole book is written in dialogue, so no words are wasted on setting or descriptions.  Goethe gets straight to the good stuff.  The characters show all of their qualities in the their speech so you can get to know them.  

Part 1 is a long dialogue with different scenes. I think we are just getting to know the 2 main characters and their motivations.  Part 2 suddenly changes into a more formal 5 Act play.  The setting change and tone is sudden.  Once you can adapt to such a sudden shift in narrative structure, it’s possibly more enjoyable than Part 1.  Goethe builds on the philosophical ideas but in such a simple and playful way.  Part 2, hands down is my favourite section.

A great detailed, spoiler ridden summary of Part 1….. Using Legos!

Off the Beaten Path
Biography of Goethe... Has major spoilers for his major works, including Faust

Packing List

✓ Sense of Adventure
✓ No Prior Knowledge of Anything!
✓ Grapes, Wine, and Snacks of the Gods
✓ An Epic Melodramatic Love Story 

Recommended Resources
Alternate Books
✓ Doctor Faustus By Christopher Marlowe (1589) - Inspired Goethe to write Faust, also a drama
✓ The Picture of Dorian Grey By Oscar Wilde (1890) - Similar themes, in a comical & insightful novel form.
The Master & Margarita By Mikhail Bulgakov (1940/1966) - Satiric humour and was partially inspired by Goethe’s Faust
✓ Eugene Onegin By Alexander Pushkin (1833) - Playful novel told as a poem with Faustian Themes, also easy to read.
The Divine Comedy By Dante Alighieri (1320) - Epic poem that’s a journey , except the main characters are good, not villains. 

Alternate Movies
✓ Faust (1926) Directed by F.W. Murnau - Give it a chance…. It’s black & white which adds a super creepy vibe because at night, we can only see shadows.  Mood can also be shown deeply in black & white because we aren’t distracted by color. (I think)
✓ Faust (2011) Directed by Aleksandr Sokurov - A Russian take on Faust…. (I have to watch this one!) It’s told from a slightly different point of view and adds some extra themes.