Faust and Fust: A case of mistaken identities
Broekhuizen, John S
Schubert, Manfred E.
Master of Arts
This thesis explores the confusion of the book printer Fust with the semi-legendary figure Dr. Johann Faustus. The primary prupose has been to show the development of this confusion prior to the publication of Friedrick maximilian von Klinger's novel Fausts Leben, Thaten und Hollenfahrt in 1791. The evidence presented in this thesis allows the conclusion that this case of mistaken identities goes further back in time than has thus far been recognized. It has been shown that, in the early sixteenth century, Johann Fust was credited with the invention of typography, rather than Johann Gutenberg. At the same time, the merits of printing had become questionable. This was largely due to the fact that it had facilitated the circulation of heresy inducing reading materials. By an accident of history, there also lived at this time Dr. Johann Faust, reputed to have made a pact with the devil. Because printing was no longer seen as something by which mankind could benefit, but also as something which could be an evil to the world, the reputation of Dr. Faustus was used to demonstrate the negative aspects of the art of printing.