Monday, November 09, 2015

Mephisto . . .

The novelist Rachel Kushner speaks of "Jonathan Franzen's Crackling Genius" in the New York Times Magazine (October 12, 2015), but also of Mephistopheles:
[A]s I drank coffee and ate toast in Jon and Kathy's kitchen, we discussed Faust and Mephisto, who connect to [Jon's novel] "Purity" by way of its epigraph. Jon had said, the night before, when I asked him why Mephisto wants Faust's soul, "Because that is his nature."
This means that Mephisto's motive is simple, irreducible to more basic components. Here's the epigraph, borrowed from Goethe's Faust, spoken by a part of that power (ein Teil von jener Kraft):
. . . die stets das Böse will und stets das Gute schafft.
This is Mephistopheles introducing himself to Faust, stating that he is a part of that power "that eternally wills evil and eternally creates good," a somewhat ambiguous introduction.

Read Faust and discover if he speaks the truth . . .

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