Framing Faust: Twentieth-Century Cultural Struggles

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SIU Press, 2005 - Literary Criticism - 241 pages
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In this interdisciplinary cultural history that encompasses film, literature, music, and drama, Inez Hedges follows the thread of the Faustian rebel in the major intellectual currents of the last hundred years. She presents Faust and his counterpart Mephistopheles as antagonistic—yet complementary—figures whose productive conflict was integral to such phenomena as the birth of narrative cinema, the rise of modernist avant-gardes before World War II, and feminist critiques of Western cultural traditions.

Framing Faust: Twentieth-Century Cultural Struggles pursues a dialectical approach to cultural history. Using the probing lens of cultural studies, Hedges shows how claims to the Faustian legacy permeated the struggle against Nazism in the 1930s while infusing not only the search for socialist utopias in Russia, France, and Germany, but also the quest for legitimacy on both sides of the Cold War divide after 1945.

Hedges balances new perspectives on such well-known works as Thomas Mann’s Dr. Faustus and Jack Kerouac’s Dr. Sax with discussions of previously overlooked twentieth-century expressions of the Faust myth, including American film noir and the Faust films of Stan Brakhage. She evaluates musical compositions—Hanns Eisler’s Faust libretto, the opera Votre Faust by Henri Pousseur and Michel Butor, and Alfred Schnittke’s Faust Cantata—as well as works of fiction and drama in French and German, many of which have heretofore never been discussed outside narrow disciplinary confines.

Enhanced by twenty-four illustrations, Framing Faust provides a fascinating and focused narrative of some of the major cultural struggles of the past century as seen through the Faustian prism, and establishes Faust as an important present-day frame of reference.

 

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User Review  - mkfs - LibraryThing

A fairly comprehensive survey of modern Faust plays, novels, and films. The author appears to sympathize overmuch with the feminist and avant-garde subject matter, providing what amounts to elitist ... Read full review

Contents

Inventions of Faust I
1
Faust and Early Film Spectatorship
12
Faust travels through the air diverts himself at a tavern and travels in a fantasy conveyance
13
Faust in his alchemists laboratory
14
Mephistopheles surrounded by his dancing troupe in hell
17
Mephistopheles spies on Marguerite in the cathedral
18
The explorer Crackford and his valet are drawn through the air by a skeletal steed
20
Faust and Wagner try to obtain the tears of a virgin
24
Jesuitarum libellus or the powerful sea spirit
58
The actor Hendrik Hfgen makes a Faustian bargain with Nazism
64
Faust and Utopia
72
Gendering Faust
96
AntiFausts and the AvantGarde
121
Suzzy Roche and Kate Valk in HouseLights
132
Faust doubles himself in Stan Brakhages Faust IV
142
Repression and Liberation in the Cold War Era
156

The shadow of Scapinelli looms below the two lovers
32
Scapinelli showers Balduin with gold and demands something from his room in return
34
Faust penetrates into Gretchens chambers
36
Faust homesick for Germany
37
Gretchen as a suffering Madonna
38
Gretchen in the garden
40
German Fascism and the Contested Terrain of Culture
44
John Heartfields Illustration for Grimms fairy tale about the cat and the mouse
53
John Heartfields The Thousandyear Reich
55
The devil argues the case against Jabez Stone defended by Daniel Webster
165
Mephistopheles as a marionette
182
Reframing the Faustian Question
186
What price the soul?
187
Chronology of Faust Films
203
Faust in Myth and Legend
229
Index
235
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About the author (2005)

Inez Hedges is a professor of French, German, and cinema studies at Northeastern University, where she codirects the Program in Cinema Studies. She is the author of Languages of Revolt: Dada and Surrealist Literature and Film and Breaking the Frame: Film Language and the Experience of Limits and has published numerous scholarly essays and book chapters.

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