Approaches to Teaching Goethe’s Faust

  • Editor: Douglas J. McMillan
  • Pages: xiii & 170 pp.
  • Published: 1987
  • ISBN: 9780873525015 (Cloth)
  • ISBN: 9780873525022 (Paperback)
Approaches to Teaching Goethe's Faust Cover

“An eminently usable volume that should be read by anyone who teaches Goethe in German or in English translation. Highly recommended.”


“To know Goethe’s Faust is to know the humanities,” writes the editor of this book. But Faust may be difficult to present to undergraduates, not only because of the problems of translation, if the play is taught in English, but also because of the special uses of language, mythology, history, and science in Goethe’s sprawling cosmo-drama. This volume provides help and encouragement to the teacher of Faust; it contains suggestions by teachers of German literature, Romance literatures, English and American literatures, comparative literature, history, and psychology.

Like other volumes in the MLA’s Approaches to Teaching World Literature series, it is divided into two parts. The first, “Materials,” discusses the editions and translations available, aids to teaching, background works, and critical studies. In the second part, “Approaches,” twenty-four essays discuss topics ranging from the genre of Faust to the problem of Gretchen’s docility to poetic devices to the devil in literature. The essays are marked by a tension between those that advocate a strictly literary approach to Goethe’s work and those that take interdisciplinary and interart approaches.