Course Number

GERM 388-A

Syllabus Date

Spring 2008

Department course is offered by


Course description

This course was taught by Robert Tobin at Whitman College. Professor Tobin worked at Whitman for 18 years as associate dean of the faculty and chair of the humanities, and was named Cushing Eells Professor of the Humanities. Several of the courses he developed at Whitman would make the transition to Clark, where they continued to evolve.

"Along with Don Juan, Faust -- the scholar who makes a deal with the devil -- is one of the great myths of modernity. Based on an historical figure from the 16th century, the Faust story has inspired numerous literary, artistic, and musical tales. Some of the greatest works of literature tell the Faust story in a variety of ways, including Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust, and Thomas Mann's Doctor Faustus. In this course, we will try to understand why this particular myth has resonated so strongly in modern Western culture. In particular, we will examine the ways in which the Faust story has been used to examine: knowledge, scholarship and the academic life; the creative process; political and historical questions; and humanity's perfectability and/or guilt.


Faust, German literature, Faustian, literature, adaptations



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