From Academic Kids

This article is about a fictional character from a story. Faust is also the name of a German krautrock band, Faust (band), and the name of a character in the Guilty Gear fighting game series, Faust (Guilty Gear).

Faust is the protagonist of a popular German tale that has been used as the basis for many different fictional works. The story concerns the fate of a learned gentleman named Faust, who in his quest for forbidden or advanced knowledge of material things, summons the Devil (represented by Mephistopheles), offering to sell him his soul if the Devil will serve him for a period of time.

An anonymous German author wrote the prose volume (chapbook) Historia von D. Iohan Fausten in 1587, which was translated by P. F. Gent[leman] in 1592 as The Historie of the damnable life, and deserved death of Doctor Iohn Faustus. This work was the basis for Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus (pub. c. 1600) which in turn inspired the later Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, which may be considered the more definitive classical work.


Historical origins

The tale has some possible basis in a Dr. Johann Georg Faust (approximately 1480-1540), who was born in the village of Knittlingen, Wrttemberg, and granted a B.A. in divinity from Heidelberg University in 1509. This identity is not definite, and it may simply be that the name of "Faust" bears attached any number of legendary tales about a charlatan alchemist (some claim "astrologer and necromancer"), whose pride, vanity, and vile hucksterism would inevitably lead to his doom. "Faust's" poor reputation became historical when while in prison, in exchange for wine he "offered to show a chaplain how to remove hair from his face without a razor; the chaplain provided the wine and Faustus provided the chaplain with a salve of arsenic, which removed not only the hair but the flesh." (Barnett) Another very possible inspiration for Marlowe's Doctor Faustus is John Dee (1527-1609), who practised forms of alchemy and science and developed Enochian magic.

Marlowe's Doctor Faustus appears to have been based almost entirely on the P.F. Gent translation, with an additional borrowing from Acts and Monuments by John Foxe, in the exchanges between Pope Adrian and a rival pope.

The story of Theophilus of Adana, a saint who made a deal with the devil, predates the Faust legend and is a likely partial inspiration.

Works which retell or allude to the Faust tale





Prose fiction



Anime and manga

  • Shaman King (A character in Shaman King, Faust VIII, is a descendant of Dr. Faust)
  • Guilty Gear X (A character in the manga-fighting-video-game Guilty Gear X, also in Guilty Gear XX )
  • Saber Marionette (The antagonistic ruler of the kingdom of Gartlant in Saber Marionette J)

Comic books

  • The comic book Faust was published in the 80s and 90s by artist Tim Vigil and writer David Quinn. The book follows a story template similar to the opera Faust, but is an updated version. Rebel Studios, and independent label originally published it, but it was later picked up by Avatar Press and a subsequent sequel series was created. Both are extremely sexual and violent series.


Pen name

"Minister Faust" is a pen name for Canadian writer, broadcaster and activist Malcolm Azania; as Minister Faust, he wrote the science fiction novel and social satire The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad.

See also


Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe, Edited and with and introduction by Sylvan Barnett (1969, Signet Classics)

External links


Faust is also the German word for fist, although the name "Faust" may be related to Italian "Fausto" rather than the German word.

da:Faust de:Johann Faust es:Fausto fr:Faust he:פאוסט lb:Faust nl:Faust ja:ファウスト pl:Faust (motyw w sztuce)


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