“Das, was ihm fehlt, das teil’ ich aus”: Faust und die Allegorie der Poesie



Over the last twenty-five years, Faust scholarship transformed significantly as a result of Heinz Schlaffer’s “rediscovery” of the allegorical structure of Faust II. The emphasis on allegory facilitated an interpretation that in contrast to the unifying view of a symbolic reading demonstrated the rift in modern-day experience. According to Schlaffer, through allegorical form, Goethe achieved adequate representation of a rapidly developing and increasingly abstract modern society. This essay attempts to interpret the allegorical structure of Faust II differently than Schlaffer. While Schlaffer equates the use of allegory with Goethe’s regaining of representational assurance in a mimetic sense, the approach employed in this essay emphasizes Goethe’s use of allegorical forms as a poetic means to represent adequately the role of art and literature in modern society. In essence this article addresses the modernization of the system of literature, which was to reach a similar degree of complexity found in other subsystems comprising modern society. A reading of Faust I will elucidate further the different poetological approaches at work in the two parts of Goethe’s opus magnum. (KP; In German)

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