The Faustian Century: German Literature and Culture in the Age of Luther and Faustus (BOK)
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Sixteenth-century Germany was an anomalous age that casts its shadows down to our own time. While a new literature flourished from Portugal to Poland and from Italy to England, the literary Renaissance appears to have been stifled in German lands by Luther's Reformation. Yet recent scholarship suggests that the Reformation and Renaissance conflicted but also interacted. Faust, the great figure that attained European prominence in the anonymous 1587 Historia von D. Johann Fausten. Re-interpreted here as the central symbol of a complex but misunderstood era, the Faust story tells of freedom, intolerance, polarization, and intellectual rebellion, shedding light as well on similar aspects of our own time. The new essays in this volume complement one another, providing insights into the tensions and forces that gave the century its distinct character. Faust evolved from an obscure cipher to a universal symbol. Several essays seek his prototypes. Others elaborate the symbolic function of his figure and discern the resonance of his tale in conflicting allegiances. The volume focuses on the intersection of historical accounts and literary imaginings, on shared aspects of the work and its times, on concerns with obedience and transgression, obsessions with the devil and curiosity about magic, and dilemmas born of shifting religious and worldly authorities. Combining new with old approaches and including a chronology and useful select bibliography, this volume will serve as a foundation for future teaching and research. Contributors: Marguerite de Huszar Allen, Kresten Thue Andersen, Frank Baron, Gunther Bonheim, Albrecht Classen, Urs Leo Gantenbein, Karl S. Guthke, Michael Keefer, Paul Ernst Meyer, J. M. van der Laan, Helen Watanabe-O'Kelly, Andrew Weeks. J. M. van der Laan is Professor of German and Andrew Weeks is Professor of German and Comparative Literature, both at Illinois State University.