Commentaries on the Exhibit’s Works




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A brief commentary prepared by Margaret Strain, PhD, Professor, English, on the following work:

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Leipzig, 1790; first edition


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was many things: statesman, poet, literary critic, philosopher, scientist, and novelist. But it is this drama about a man who sells his soul to the devil for which the German writer is perhaps best remembered.The story originates from a German folk tale; Christopher Marlow brought the tale to the Elizabethan stage with his production Dr. Faustus, but Goethe’s reworking of the story nearly two hundred years later placed it in the canon of great literature. The work on display in Imprints and Impressions is indeed exceptional: It is the first known published version of the play, dated 1790.

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Goethe: ‘Faust’


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