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Lecture 2/18/2020 07:30 PM

World Literature, in SpanishFaust, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (I)Faust or the dissatisfaction of modern man

Helena Cortés Gabaudan

The tragedy Faustpublished posthumously in 1832, is the most important work by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and at the same time the classic par excellence of German literature. While Faust, Part One, much more widely known and performed, maintains the link with a lineal argument based on a Medieval legend about an old scholar’s pact with the devil, Faust, Part two is a work as disconcerting as it is modern in its form and content, which barely follows the original plot.

Beyond its artistic merits, the reality is that Faust better symbolises the myth of the modern man in his unending pursuit of the satisfaction of new desires without ever being able to quench his ambition, until one day death surprises him without ever having had time to stop and enjoy a moment of that simplicity. Faust is the equivalent of the excessive and eternally dissatisfied modern ego.

In the first of the two sessions, in the lecture titled "Faust or the dissatisfaction of modern man", the Lecturer in German Literature and Language from the Universidad de Vigo Helena Cortés Gabaudan will trace both the history of the gestation of Faust, and the possibilities of its performance, as well as a short history of the work’s reception and subsequent diffusion.

In the second session, the actors Ernesto Arias, José Luis Alcobendas, Sara Illán and Nora Hernández, directed by Ernesto Arias, will read excerpts from the tragedy, which the speaker will comment on. The cellist Irene Rouco will also take part.

  • Goethe, J. W. von, Fausto, una tragedia de Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Helena Cortés Gabaudan (ed. bilingüe), Abada: Madrid, 2010.
  • Safranski, R., Goethe. La vida como obra de arte, Tusquets: Barcelona, 2015.