Faust Myth: Religion and the Rise of Representation

Overview

This book argues that the world has sold its soul to Satan. To make this case, Hawkes undertakes a careful, precise analysis of what the terms 'soul' and 'Satan' have meant historically. Focusing on the story of Dr. Faustus, which he argues is the definitive myth of the modern era, Hawkes claims that the autonomous, individual human subject has become dissolved in a sea of representation. The system of performative signs that we call 'the market' functions today as an openly magical power, existing only in our ...

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Overview

This book argues that the world has sold its soul to Satan. To make this case, Hawkes undertakes a careful, precise analysis of what the terms 'soul' and 'Satan' have meant historically. Focusing on the story of Dr. Faustus, which he argues is the definitive myth of the modern era, Hawkes claims that the autonomous, individual human subject has become dissolved in a sea of representation. The system of performative signs that we call 'the market' functions today as an openly magical power, existing only in our minds, but ruling the world nonetheless, and systematically extinguishing the essence of humanity. Hawkes describes how this situation has arisen using a wide-ranging, trans-national account of the versions of Faust presented by Marlowe, Calderon, Milton, Moliere, Goethe, Byron, Dostoevsky, Wilde, Thomas Mann, Ngugi Wa'Thiongo and Salman Rushdie. Literary scholars, historians, philosophers and even economists will find fascination and instruction in this comprehensive, original book.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The Faust Myth contains an astonishing thesis, which Hawkes presents with astonishing boldness... The book is, more than any other academic book I have encountered, a sensation... the pervasive application of his thesis to an extraordinary range of philosophical and (international) literary texts spanning several centuries is a testimony to his erudition, and his critical virtuosity and brilliance. But the almost monomaniacal power of this treatment may also cause uneasiness... " Ian MacAdam, Renaissance Quarterly

"The social engagement of Hawkes's scholarship is impressive and appealing, but The Faust Myth is strongest in its close textual analysis, revealing Faust's potency as an emblem of man's "prideful" preference for sign over reality." Elizabeth Scott-Baumann, Times Literary Supplement

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781403975591
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 1/23/2007
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.79 (w) x 8.54 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Meet the Author

David Hawkes is associate professor of English at Lehigh University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Selling the Soul: Aristotle, J.L. Austin and Jacques Derrida * Faust and Witchcraft: Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, and Johan Spies's Faust-book * Faust on Stage: Theatricality, Marlowe, Greene and the Puppet-plays
• Faust and Alienation: Milton and the Manichees * Faust and Don Juan: Feminism, Calderon, de Molina, Moliere, Byron and George Sand * Faust and Enlightenment: Marx, Hegel, Goethe and the Alchemy of Capital * Modernist Faust: Spengler, Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, Wilde and Thomas Mann * Faust and Globalization: Magic in the Postcolonial World, Salman Rushdie and Ngugi Wa' Thiongo

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