The Faust theme, with the human desire for ultimate knowledge, the temptation of the Devil, and the possibility of Christian redemption, is one of the greatest of all time. Faust has inspired writers from Marlowe and Goethe to Thomas Mann and Bulgakov. The theme has animated artists such as Delacroix, composers such as Gounod, and film directors such as Murnau. It is as inexhaustible as it is attractive, as enduring as it is contemporary, and its subthemes range across the realm of human endeavor and include also science and engineering.
The legend of Faust, first brought to print in 1587, is the tale of an intellectual who sells his soul to the devil in order to develop extraordinary powers. The theme addresses a number of great questions: the desire to experience life in all its dimensions and at all costs; the temptation of evil; the role of the intellectual in society; technology and the mastery of nature; love and the instrumentalization of others; infinite striving in conflict with finite limitations; choice and its consequences; and the possibility of salvation.
Building on the success of Brecht’s Life of Galileo in 2002 and Stoppard’s Arcadia in 2005, Faust at Notre Dame will include a variety of artistic performances, lectures, and a conference. But its heart and soul will be the inclusion of the Faust theme in an abundance of classes across the full spectrum of fields explored at Notre Dame. To that end we have developed resources and workshops and stand ready to help faculty members and students in whatever way we can. Welcome to the website of Faust at Notre Dame!
Mark W. Roche
I. A. O’Shaughnessy Dean