Hellmut H Ammerlahn
C LIT 596
Offered occasionally by visiting or resident faculty. Course content varies.
Faust and Prometheus: Intellectual Revolt, Creativity, and Cultural Transformation
Ambiguity and heroism characterize Prometheus and Faust. Originally conceived as tricksters figures par excellence, their extraordinary quests and audacious feats of consequence, coupled with rebellion against established authorities, have made them symbols for major historical transitions. While Greek mythology credits the titan Prometheus with creating humans and stealing fire from heaven to provide them with artifacts and culture, the Renaissance gave birth to Faust(us) who harnessed the forces of darkness into his service for knowledge and power. The severe punishments meted out to Prometheus and Faust for their violations of socially or divinely-ordained boundaries, gave rise to a plethora of questioning perspectives in subsequent generations. Modern authors and philosophers since the early 18th century have transformed these rebel-heroes into paradoxical pioneers, artist-creators, multi-dimensional cultural icons, and mirrors for self-identification and reflection.
After studying the tragedies Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus and Marlowes Dr. Faustus, as well as brief excerpts from Shaftesburys theoretical writings, we shall focus on Goethe and Byron, in whose works the Faust and Prometheus myths converge. Goethes world-class tragedy, Faust, Parts I and II, will be analyzed in detail and juxtaposed, together with Byrons dramatic poem, Manfred, with a selection of poems and fragments on Prometheus written by these two authors.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Seminar will be conducted in English. Goethes Faust available in English and German. Expected: Class participation, brief oral report and final paper.
Class assignments and grading