The Faust-Legend and Goethe's 'Faust'

Author: H.B. Cotterill
Published: 1912
Language: English
Wordcount: 29,881 / 94 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 64
LoC Category: PT
Downloads: 715
Added to site: 2008.06.09
mnybks.net#: 21171
Genre: Essays
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Excerpt

ies. And, while for the most part Greek philosophy was rather imaginative than mystic, still we encounter the genuine mystic element in such Greek sages as Empedocles and Pythagoras, both of whom assumed the priestly character and seem to have laid claim to supernatural powers. Empedocles indeed, it is said, gave himself out to be a deity exiled from heaven, and was apparently worshipped as such. According to a not very trustworthy legend he threw himself into the crater of Mount Etna--perhaps in order thus to solve the mystery of existence. Pythagoras is said by some to have met his death at the hands of the people of Crotona, who set fire to his house and burnt him alive with many of his disciples. Goethe evidently alludes to Pythagoras (as well perhaps as to John Huss and others who found their death at the stake) in some well-known lines, which may be roughly thus translated:

The few that truth's deep mystery have learned And could not keep it in their hearts concealed, But to the mob their inner f

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