reworks the late medieval myth of a brilliant scholar so disillusioned he resolves to make a contract with Mephistopheles. The devil will do all he asks on Earth and seeks to grant him a moment in life so glorious that he will wish it to last forever. But if Faust does bid the moment stay, he falls to Mephisto and must serve him after death. In this first part of Goethe’s great work, the embittered thinker and Mephistopheles enter into their agreement, and soon Faust is living a rejuvenated life and winning the love of the beautiful Gretchen. But in this compelling tragedy of arrogance, unfulfilled desire, and self-delusion, Faust heads inexorably toward an infernal destruction.
A.S. Byatt’s preface considers Goethe’s lifelong relationship with the myth of Faust and its influence on modern literature
Includes an introduction by the translator, a chronology, suggestions for further reading, explanatory notes, and an addendum on the writing of Faust