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Summer Reading 2017: Faust

Find the book you want to read this summer!

Riley wants you to dive into this epic because...

If you've ever tried/wanted to make a deal with the Devil, then this book has the poodle for YOU. Our reading of Faust will culminate with a dramatic performance of our own Walpurgisnacht atop a local Brocken. Get your Bildung on; read Faust.

About the book


by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Faust is the protagonist of a classic German legend. He is a scholar who is highly successful yet dissatisfied with his life, so he makes a pact with the Devil, exchanging his soul for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures. The Faust legend has been the basis for many literary, artistic, cinematic, and musical works that have reinterpreted it through the ages. Faust and the adjective Faustian imply a situation in which an ambitious person surrenders moral integrity in order to achieve power and success for a delimited term. The Faust of early books—as well as the ballads, dramas, movies, and puppet-plays which grew out of them—is irrevocably damned because he prefers human to divine knowledge; "he laid the Holy Scriptures behind the door and under the bench, refused to be called doctor of Theology, but preferred to be styled doctor of Medicine". Plays and comic puppet theatre loosely based on this legend were popular throughout Germany in the 16th century, often reducing Faust and Mephistopheles to figures of vulgar fun. The story was popularised in England by Christopher Marlowe, who gave it a classic treatment in his play, The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus. In Goethe's reworking of the story two hundred years later, Faust becomes a dissatisfied intellectual who yearns for "more than earthly meat and drink" in his life.

For fans of

  • Dante's Divine Comedy
  • Classics
  • Long books
  • Works in Translation
  • Paradise Lost by John Milton
  • Candide by Voltaire

About the reader

Riley Maddox, 9/10 Grade Level Dean

In the past, Riley has recommended the following books:

  • The Power Broker by Robert Caro
  • The Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft
  • The Plague by Albert Camus
  • In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick
  • Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey