Version classiqueVersion mobile

Exploring the Interior

 | 
Karl S. Guthke

I. “The great map of mankind unrolled”

1. Faust and the Cannibals: Geographical Horizons in the Sixteenth Century1

Texte intégral

“The Whole World” except America

  • 1 This essay was translated into English by J. M. van der Laan. It was published originally as “D. Jo (...)
  • 2 Goethe, Faust, lines 2293–2294.

1In Goethe’s Faust, the “merry companions” have barely tasted the wine Mephisto has conjured up in Auerbach’s Cellar, when they break into the otherwise unknown ditty “Uns ist ganz kannibalisch wohl, /Als wie fünfhundert Säuen!” (“We feel cannibalistically good, /Just like fivehundred sows!”)2 How does something having to do with cannibals find its way to Leipzig? Or: why does Faust bump into cannibals on his trip through the “small world” of Germany, even if only in the lyrics of a song that is immediately dismissed with his “Ich hätte Lust, nun abzufahren” (“I’d like to leave now,” 2296)? Cannibals are, after all, man-eaters found in exotic latitudes. Goethe could easily have learned about them from Zedler’s Universallexicon: “Cannibals or Caribs” are

  • 3 Johann Heinrich Zedler, Grosses vollständiges Universal-Lexicon aller Wissenschaften und Künste (Ha (...)

ein Volck, welches die Antillischen Inseln, so von ihnen den Namen haben, […] bewohnte, anietzo aber nur einige von denenselben inne hat. Sie hatten im Brauch, die Gefangenen, welche sie im Kriege bekommen, zu fressen, nachdem sie dieselbigen zuvor 3 Tage hungern lassen, wie sie denn auch allenthalben die todten Cörper ihrer Feinde auf der Wahlstatt auffrassen.3

a people who inhabited the Antilles Islands from which they have their name […], now however live on only some of them. It was their custom to eat the prisoners they took in war after they let them go hungry for three days, just as they everywhere ate up the dead bodies of their enemies found on the battlefield.

  • 4 Johann Christoph Adelung, Grammatisch-Kritisches Wörterbuch der Hochdeutschen Mundart, 2nd ed. (Lei (...)
  • 5 David Beers Quinn, “New Geographical Horizons: Literature,” First Images of America, ed. Fredi Chia (...)
  • 6 See the illustrations in Wolfgang Neuber, Fremde Welt im europäischen Horizont: Zur Topik der deuts (...)

2The 1793 second edition of Adelung’s dictionary–the go-to reference work of its kind in the age of Goethe – added to Zedler’s information. Adelung recognized that a cannibal was “figürlich gesprochen,” “ein wilder, grausamer Mensch” (“figuratively speaking,” “a wild, horrible human being”), but acknowledged as well the geographically exotic aspect in his primary definition: “ein Einwohner der Karibischen Inseln, welche [sic] ihre Feinde zu essen pflegen” (“an inhabitant of the Caribbean Islands, accustomed to eating their enemies.”)4 Already in the early sixteenth century, since Amerigo Vespucci gave a purported eyewitness report of the man-eaters in the New World, “cannibal” and “Carib” were interchangeable terms.5 According to the knowledge of the day, they existed nowhere else. In this way, a sensational taboo came into circulation of which Columbus had only heard, but which was confirmed by almost all sixteenth-century travelers to Central and South America. Cannibalism became the best known of all topics concerning America, thanks not least to the hair-raising illustrations included in Vespucci’s sensational report Diß büchlein saget, wie die zwen […] herren […] funden […] ein nüwe welt […] (This Little Book Tells How the Two Gentlemen [the kings of Spain and Portugal] Found a New World) of 1509 and still found in the 1588 edition of Sebastian Münster’s Cosmographia.6 This association of supposed anthropophagia and American exotica still asserted itself unabated among Goethe’s contemporaries. Adelung had an especially good ear for what the educated were saying. The word “cannibal” in “Auerbach’s Cellar” would have given these people pause.

  • 7 Hutten’s letter of 16 Jan. 1540 in Das Gold der Neuen Welt: Die Papiere des Welser-Konquistadors un (...)
  • 8 Also in German as Faustmond (Percha, 1986).

3The historical Faust touched on the topic of cannibals only fleetingly, when he advised Philipp von Hutten in 1534 not to undertake an expedition to the notorious region of man-eaters, then the Welser Colony in present-day Venezuela. An “evil year,” he said, was in store for him.7 Hutten did not heed the warning and came to a sad end after a life full of adventure among man-eaters and no less barbaric Spaniards in the New World. The Venezuelan writer Francisco Herrera Luque stylized that life as an apparently Faustian one in his novel about Hutten entitled La luna de Fausto (Caracas: Pomaire, 1983).8 Faust’s prophecy for Hutten provides the beginning and is fulfilled at the end of Luque’s story. To be sure, this stylization is meaningful only in regard to the overseas trading enterprises and colonial projects of the aged Faust in the second part of Goethe’s tragedy. The historical Faust looks like a homebody of the “small world” in comparison to this territorially voracious Faust. The same is true of Doctor Johann Faust of the 1587 Faustbuch. In spite of impressive travels arranged by the devil, he was never in America. That is certainly surprising for a chapbook from the age of discoveries and conquests, when the horizon of awareness abruptly expanded into territories previously unimagined. With the newly “discovered” regions of the planet, strikingly foreign life-forms entered the Europeans’field of vision, even if those Europeans were not seafarers.

  • 9 Historia von D. Johann Fausten, critical edition, eds. Stephan Füssel and Hans Joachim Kreutzer (St (...)

4Among those new life-forms, the American cannibals were prominent. They were fascinating, abhorrent, and frightening all at once, first causing uncertainty, finally however forcing critical self-examination, not excluding the recognition of one’s own barbarism (Montaigne and Lichtenberg come to mind). After all, already in 1537, only two generations after Columbus had landed among the foreigners across the Atlantic, the Pope had declared that they too were human beings. And yet, almost a century after the discovery of the putative west coast of India during which time its cannibals were the subject of intense discourse, there is still not the slightest reference to them or to America in the Faustbuch, even though Faust wants to acquaint himself on his journeys with “die gantze Welt” (“the whole world”). The foreword in the Wolfenbüttel “Faust” manuscript raises a finger in warning against just such a thirst for worldwide knowledge: “Was hilfft es dem Menschen/Wann Er gleich die ganntz Welt hette/vnnd nem schaden an seiner Seel” (“What good is it for a man/If he should gain the whole world/and suffer harm to his soul”).9 How can this surprising gap in Faust’s expressly stated will to know everything about the world be explained?

  • 10 The English Faust Book: A Critical Edition Based on the Text of 1592, ed. John Henry Jones (Cambrid (...)
  • 11 Doctor Faustus, ed. Sylvan Barnet (New York, 1969), 27 (B-Text, line 81).

5Even the contemporaries of the Faustbuch author might have noticed that something here was amiss. “P. F.” – who translated the German Faustbuch (with revisions) into English around 1590 and whose identity still remains uncertain – added to Faust’s travel destinations several more. Indeed, besides a few European and extra-European places, namely China and Guinea (which were covered in the German Faustbuch in a sense by the geographically indefinite terms “Asia” and “Aphrica,” F 58), P. F. added Peru, “the Straights of Magellan,” and “Nova Hispaniola.”10 The last of those was the region where the earliest explorations of America and the first encounters with man-eaters had occurred. A contemporary of Drake and Raleigh like P. F., Christopher Marlowe took his cue from the English Faustbuch in the early 1590s and extended the protagonist’s desire to travel to his eagerness to “search all corners of the new-found world.”11 In the Wagnerbuch (1593), a kind of sequel suggested at the end of the German Faustbuch, the author expanded the geographical horizon with three whole chapters about travel in America. So important was this topic to him that he announced the extension of Faust’s range of experience on the very title page as a particularly appealing feature of his undertaking, even though America was by that time no longer so very “new.” In any case, with respect to geography, he wanted to best his predecessor who had had a blind spot for America, even though it would certainly have been high time to have spoken of it, especially if Faust’s travels were supposed to be through the “whole world.” Which prompts the question: what did the author of the Faustbuch actually mean by the whole world? A closer look at the geographical horizon of his work is in order, before trying to offer an explanation or even to find meaning in its historical deficiency. What follows is an attempt to develop a few ideas about some thematic dimensions of the Faustbuch and geographical knowledge (or awareness) in the sixteenth century.

The Thirst for Knowledge and Geography

  • 12 “von der Faustkonzeption her, wie sie in der Vorrede entworfen und im 1. Handlungsabschnitt so sorg (...)

6The geographical horizon of the Faustbuch is marked out in Faust’s three worldwide journeys, two of which are airborne and allow a bird’s eye view from a great altitude. These two journeys whet his appetite for the third, a downright touristy grand tour with his feet this time firmly on the ground (Chapters 25 and 26). These journeys of exploration are thoroughly misunderstood, if they are simply and quickly discussed as Faust’s “adventures and magic tricks” and for that reason disqualified as skylarking. According to Barbara Könneker, they cannot be interpreted from the vantage point of “the Faust-concept as delineated in the ‘Foreword’ and so carefully developed in the first section.” They are consequently “extraneous to the analysis of the Faust-concept in the Volksbuch.12 Indeed, the worldwide journeys (so goes the reasoning) are a kind of pretense: set into motion by Faust’s wish to see paradise and therefore without “any intrinsic value or intrinsic meaning” (K 200). One can only form such an opinion by assuming a theologically reductive view of Faust’s motivation, that is, if one sees it exclusively from the perspective of a radically Lutheran concept of original sin. In such a view, Faust, abetted by the devil’s seductive cunning, attempts to become an apostate, indeed, to take God’s place himself and to usurp his power. In this way, Faust becomes “the embodiment of human enslavement to sin per se” (K 168), the story of his life the “representative and valid statement about the human being and his situation between God and devil” (K 211). With such an assessment of what propels and plagues Faust, “nothing remains of his titanic will to know” (K 179). His sin is accordingly not “the forbidden thirst for knowledge and the ambition of the researcher,” “not the quest for understanding and knowledge, but the pursuit of power” in competition with the Almighty who according to the Lutheran understanding demands the “complete subjugation of the human being” (K 170, 167, 177). That is supposedly what the Faustbuch is about. It follows from such reasoning that the author was “indifferent” to the “actual Faust material” (K 199). As this view is advanced, “in contrast to the prevailing scholarly opinion” (K 211), Faust’s thirst for knowledge, generally considered the pivotal theme, is downplayed. In the language of the time and of the Faustbuch itself, that is his “Fürwitz” (impertinent curiosity) or “curiositas.” In other words, precisely that attitude is downplayed which leads to the pact and then, in the execution of the pact, to the journeys of discovery. The Faustbuch makes this perfectly clear:

Wie obgemeldt worden/stunde D. Fausti Datum dahin/das zulieben/das nicht zu lieben war/dem trachtet er Tag vnd Nacht nach/name an sich Adlers Flügel/wolte alle Gründ am Himmel vnd Erden erforschen/dann sein Fürwitz/Freyheit vnd Leichtfertigkeit stache vnnd reitzte jhn also/daß er auff eine zeit etliche zäuberische vocabula/figuras/characteres vnd coniurationes/damit er den Teufel vor sich möchte fordern/ins Werck zusetzen/vnd zu probiern jm fürname. (F 15)

As reported above, Doctor Faust’s desire was to love that which was not to be loved. For that, he strove day and night. He took on eagle’s wings, wanted to fathom all the foundations of heaven and earth. For his curiosity, license, and flippancy pricked and tantalized him so much that he undertook for a time to set to work and try various magical words, figures, characters, and conjurations, so that he could command the devil to appear before him.

  • 13 Cp. F, title page, 5, 12, 18, 22, 35, 52, 57, 114, 121, 123.

7These oft-quoted words about the exploration of heaven and earth precede the pact and motivate Faust. They cannot be interpreted sophistically so that “in fact” they become a mere strategy to achieve the goal of summoning the devil in order to make him compliant, to acquire his power and dark arts, and ultimately to become a devil oneself (K 178–181). In this way, what constitutes Faust’s intellectual signature, his intellectual curiosity – which delivers him unto the devil and about which the author of the Faustbuch never grows tired of warning – is relegated entirely to the shadows. Indeed, it is suppressed. This curiosity is Faust’s Renaissance striving after autonomous, as opposed to Biblically transmitted (and Biblically restricted), experiential and cognitive knowledge of the world, a striving suspect already for Augustine and then Lutheranism at the dawn of a new era. Only when this striving for “Nachforschen” (“researching”) – something the devil reading Faust’s mind perceives and exploits to push him into the pact (F 35) – is downplayed, can the travel chapters be trivialized as “extraneous” and thematically irrelevant (K 201). But that will not do. After all, the passage just quoted is by no means the only one to address Faust’s urge to know, his “curiosity” (“Fürwitz”), his propensity to “Forschen” (“seek out knowledge”).13 In the other passages – from the title page to the terms of the pact to the conclusion of Faust’s life – “curiosity,” the urge to know, is precisely not the means to the end of summoning the devil, just as it was not in the passage just cited. Such passages, educated contemporaries would readily have recognized, were definitely all about a nascent intellectual titanism or scientific interest in knowing, just as historians familiar with the zeitgeist of the transition from medieval to modern ways of thinking do today. Sixteenth-century readers were conscious of such matters thanks to contemporary natural historians and adherents of “natural” magic (also advocated in the Wagnerbuch) such as Paracelsus, Trithemius, Agrippa, and others, even if they were somewhat muddleheaded precursors of the empirical study of nature and Baconian Advancement of Learning (1605) developing at the time alongside the emancipation from theological sanctions.

  • 14 See Frank Baron, Faustus: Geschichte, Sage, Dichtung (München, 1982), 76–77 and 86–89: the “novelty (...)
  • 15 Christa K. King, Faustus and the Promises of the New Science, c. 1580–1730 (Farnham, 2008), 53–55; (...)
  • 16 Dieter Wuttke, “Humanismus in den deutschsprachigen Ländern und Entdeckungsgeschichte 1493–1534,” P (...)

8Recent studies have come to see more clearly how close the chapbook Faust is to such efforts to acquire scientific knowledge – at first by magic, but later by approaching empirical research.14 Others have drawn attention to the way the Faustbuch has recourse to a gnostic exploration of the creation which rebels against the divine prohibition of knowledge in Genesis and in effect aims at nothing less than “enlightenment.”15 Precisely this defining thematic aspect of Faust (even though much demonized in the text itself) might be partly responsible for the success of the Faustbuch among all those who were interested in more than scurrilous drolleries and were fascinated by Faust’s intellectual rebellion with its haut goût of wickedness – although it was perhaps not so very wicked. After all, in the first sentence of his Metaphysics, the theologically respectable Aristotle had assured his readers that it was natural to strive for knowledge. As for Faust’s journeys of exploration, these enact a particular curiositas that had become valorized at the time, in spite of all theological warnings, both Lutheran and Patristic. It is important to remember that throughout the entire sixteenth century, German humanists (with the exception of Sebastian Brant!) approved of the journeys of discovery so typical of the time. In their opinion, those journeys afforded experience and knowledge gained not from vana, but digna curiositas (not from trivial but from worthy curiosity). More recently, they have even been referred to as an “early form of the maxim ‘sapere aude.’”16

  • 17 Concerning the analogy of Faust and the Biblical Fall, see Hoelzel, ch. 1.

9By reminding us of “vnsere ersten Eltern” (“our first parents,” F 9), the “Vorred an den Christlichen Leser” (“Foreword to the Christian Reader”) certainly suggests that Faust’s life be understood as a paradigm of the Fall per se; as such, he is stylized into a kind of Christian Everyman. Even so, one should not forget that it was a striving after knowledge instigated by the serpent, namely the devil himself (F 34) that caused Adam and Eve to transgress the divine commandment in the expectation of becoming “like god, knowing good and evil” (“bonum et malum scientes sicut deus,” Genesis 3: 5).17

The “Known World” and Faust’s Journeys

10Faust’s journeys into “the whole world” figure prominently in his quest for experience and knowledge. Where did they take him? First (in Chapter 25), he describes how he flew in a coach pulled by two winged dragons to an altitude of forty-seven miles and from there looked down upon the world, with the devil serving as his guide:

Darnach sahe ich am Tag herab auff die Welt/da sahe ich viel Königreich/Fürstenthumb vnnd Wasser/also daß ich die gantze Welt/Asiam/Aphricam vnnd Europam/gnugsam sehen kondte. Vnnd in solcher Höhe sagt ich zu meinem Diener/So weise vnd zeige mir nu an/wie diß vnd das Land vnd Reich genennet werde. Das thät er/vnnd sprach: Sihe/diß auff der lincken Hand ist das Vngerlandt. Jtem/diß ist Preussen/dort schlimbs ist Sicilia/Polen/Dennmarck/Jtalia/Teutschland. Aber Morgen wirstu sehen Asiam/Aphricam/Jtem/Persiam vnd Tartarey/Jndiam/Arabiam. Vnd weil der Wind hinder sich schlägt/so sehen wir jetzund Pommern/Reussen vnd Preussen/deßgleichen Polen/Teutschland/Vngern vnd Osterreich. Am dritten Tag sahe ich in die grosse vnnd kleine Türckey/Persiam/Jndiam vnd Aphricam/Vor mir sahe ich Constantinopel[.] (F 58)

After that, I looked down during the day upon the world and I saw many kingdoms, principalities, and bodies of water. Thus, I could well enough see the whole world: Asia, Africa, and Europe. And at such altitude, I said to my servant: Now then, show and point out to me what this and that land and realm are called. He did that and said: Look, this on the left-hand side is the land of Hungary. Likewise, this is Prussia. Over there is Sicily, Poland, Denmark, Italy, Germany. But tomorrow you’ll see Asia, Africa, likewise, Persia and Tartary, India, Arabia. And because the wind shifts, we are now seeing Pomerania, Russia, and Prussia, likewise Poland, Germany, Hungary, and Austria. On the third day, I saw Greater and Lesser Turkey, Persia, India, and Africa. Before me, I saw Constantinople.

  • 18 See Müller (n. 14).

11This passage amounts to no more than catalogue-style all-inclusive namedropping from an extreme distance, hardly an “erfarung” (“experience”) of reality which mattered most for the empirically oriented natural historians of the early modern era.18 It is the same in Chapter 26, where the second journey is described. Now, Faust travels for twenty-five days through the heavens on a winged horse into which the devilish Mephistophiles has transformed himself. What appears there is another list of countries and provinces, this time only European, over which he passes without seeing much he would be interested in (“darinnen er nit viel sehen kondte/darzu er Lust hette,” F 60). Nor does he supply any information beyond the mere list of the names of places he has only seen from afar without ever having touched ground. Immediately after that, however, he sets out a third time and this time conscientiously enumerates the places he visits and inspects on his curiously zig-zag route: Trier, Paris, Mainz, Ulm, Naples, Venice, Rome, Florence, and other cities in Italy and France, especially many in the German-speaking territories, as well as Cracow, Crete, Constantinople, Cairo, Memphis, and the Caucasus. He apparently catches a bird’s or flying horse’s eye view of other European lands, too, as well as of India, Africa, and Persia, but these are just named without commentary. The places he actually visits, however, are briefly described in Baedeker fashion, with a view to points of interest: institutions of higher learning, cloisters, palaces, “temples,” castles, towers, gates, and especially churches with the obligatory reference to reliquaries, monks, ecclesiastical dignitaries, and imperial insignias. Sometimes the references include brief histories, again reminiscent of the repertory of tourist guidebooks, not to mention the inclusion of noteworthy native products, above all alcoholic ones. Only Rome and Constantinople receive more thorough treatment, not so much because of their cultural attractions, but because they offer Faust an opportunity to use his magic to play cheap tricks on the powerful people there, the Pope and the Sultan or “Türkischen Kaiser” (“Turkish Emperor”), and to decry the moral turpitude (“Hurerey” or harlotry) both here and there.

12To be sure, in this way a culture in the far lands beyond the Christian occident comes into play, but apart from the mere mention of Asia, Africa, and India (words empty of any specific content) and the distant glimpse of Paradise located in the Middle East, the geographical and cultural horizon of Faust’s trips around the world remains essentially eurocentric and Christian. As a constant threat to the West, the Turks only constitute the frame of the picture, so to speak. Otherwise, Islam as a religion is not really taken seriously (for example, when Faust parodistically impersonates Mohammed at the Sultan’s palace). Is that supposed to be Faust’s “whole world?” One fails to find even the slightest reference to America. For the author of the Faustbuch, nothing exists to the west of the Pillars of Hercules. Yet, how is that possible at a time when the European range of vision had been extended to the fourth continent for almost a century – an extension that resulted in problems of self-image for the Europeans and their culture, as they confronted the unfamiliar life-forms in that antipodal New World, forms of life that could not even exist according to the perspective of the Bible and the Church Fathers?

  • 19 In the standard work by J. H. Parry, The Age of Reconnaissance (Berkeley, CA, 1981), no German expl (...)

13But is it really true that the sixteenth-century knowledge of the newly discovered islands and regions on the far side of the Atlantic played any meaningful role at all in the consciousness of a people living, unlike the Iberians, Italians, Dutch, and English, in territories which were not lands of seafarers, hence of explorers, conquerors, or colonizers?19 As is well known, competition was rampant among the seafaring powers with respect to discoveries in the Western hemisphere. In this context, knowledge was power and it was guarded with care. The Spanish crown, for instance, did everything possible in the sixteenth century to prevent news about the New World from becoming public (see note 21 below). So one wonders: to what extent were the German territories – which were not involved in such competition – receptive to news about America and its man-eaters?

  • 20 N 47; see also Uta Lindgren, “Die Veränderung des europäischen Weltbilds durch die Entdeckung Ameri (...)
  • 21 Hans-Hagen Hildebrandt, “Die Aneignung des Fremden in europäischen Texten der Frühen Neuzeit,” Welt (...)

14The Faustbuch author was not the only one in his century who had a blind spot with regard to Peru, Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, and the Caribbean Islands (“discovered” in the last years of the fifteenth century and the first three decades of the sixteenth). In the German-speaking lands geographical reference works and histories of the world appearing as late as in the latter half of the sixteenth century remained so indebted to Classical tradition that they did not deal with the New World.20 If it was treated at all, then only very briefly, as if it were irrelevant. What appeared about America in German makes up “less than 1% of all publications” until mid-century. “Signs of an imminent new age […], such as strange heavenly occurrences, bizarre monstrosities, miraculous stories [and] questions of faith arising in connection with the Reformation,” not to mention the threat of the Turks, received more attention. Even in France, which around mid-century had only halfheartedly begun to colonize and explore Latin America in conflict with the Iberians, “twice as many books were published about Turkey than about North and South America between 1480 and 1609, and ten times as many brochures appeared concerning the then current Turkish question.” The situation was similar in Italy, Portugal, and Spain. To sum up: the discovery of America “does not seem to have interested the Europeans all that keenly.”21

  • 22 Paul H. Baginsky, “Early German Interest in the New World (1494–1618),” The American-German Review,(...)

15Be that as it may, statistical evidence shows that printers in the German territories played a considerable, indeed, a leading role in the dissemination of news about the New World in the various publications of the day: broadsheets, collections of travel writing from the beginning to the end of the century (from Montalboddo and Simon Grynaeus/Johann Huttich to Theodor de Bry and Levinus Hulsius) as well as chapters in encyclopedic cosmographies like Sebastian Münster’s Cosmographia (first in 1544 with seven pages; expanded little by little after 1550 with additional Americana in many later editions, as in the Cosmographey of 1588, a work almost contemporaneous with the Faustbuch) and Sebastian Franck’s Weltbuch (1534; considerably amended with more Americana in 1567). To be sure, these genres feature translations almost exclusively, indeed several as in the case of the famous Columbus letter. The same is true of Vespucci’s even more sensational reports in the first decade of the sixteenth century and of Cortés’s description of the conquest of Mexico (from 1520 on).22 Original German reports from the New World first appear in the 1550s in the wake of the activities of the Welsers in South America (more about that below). From then on, the cosmographical compendia recede into the background as sources of information (N 234), and the translations are outdone by the German eye witness reports, which address themselves emphatically to an audience back home with its own special interests, experiences, and expectations (N 254).

  • 23 Frauke Gewecke, Wie die neue Welt in die alte kam (Stuttgart, 1986), 89.
  • 24 Gewecke, 109.

16How likely is it then that news about the New World came to the attention of the Faustbuch author? Since nothing is known about his identity, except that he was a zealous Lutheran, one can only speculate on the basis of quantitative percentages for the sixteenth-century book market. On the one hand, and as noted, one can speak of a statistically slight level of German interest in America. On the other hand, the seminal reports by Columbus, Vespucci, Cortés, and those collected by Petrus Martyr Anghiera in the first half of the sixteenth century were European “bestsellers.”23 In the second half of the century, Girolamo Benzoni’s Historia del mondo nuovo (1565) – which was used extensively by the Wagnerbuch author (1593) – belongs to that list as well. An “abundance of information” about America was thus easily available in Europe from the first quarter of the century onwards.24 In the time following, that is, in the second half of the century, that information continued to expand, deepen, and proliferate (even amid some controversy), thanks to more and more new travel descriptions and reports of explorations (as the relevant bibliographies attest). There is therefore little reason to assume that the author of the Faustbuch dispensed with even the slightest mention of America because, in contrast to his German-speaking contemporaries of at least some education, he did not have even a vague notion of it. Why then this striking contraction of the horizon?

  • 25 Although still considered heathen, the Pope, as noted, had declared them human beings in 1537.

17The almost medieval backwardness of the Faustbuch author is all the more surprising as most of the German source documents known to him were printed in the second half of the century (except for Latin texts, he did not consult any foreign language sources). As I have already mentioned, German-language reports with a personal stamp and packed with experience about journeys and shocking adventures in the American lands of cannibals were available at the bookseller’s. Some of those accounts even enjoyed considerable popular success. The texts in question are those of Federmann, Staden, Schmidel, and Hutten (more about them below). The immediacy of experience recreated by such eye (and ear) witnesses – hair-raising, even wickedly unChristian exploits in disconcertingly foreign regions of the world where exotic savages25 considered roasted or smoked human flesh a delicacy – should have given the Faustbuch author an overabundant reservoir of thematic material for all kinds of adventures and sensational wonders. After all, the chapbook audience had open ears for such tales. Typically calling themselves Historia and touting the unadulterated nature of their documented “experience” in the title or in the foreword, such authentic, true-to-life reports should have been irresistible for the author of the Historia von D. Johann Fausten, dem weitbeschreyten Zauberer, “der noch bey Menschen Gedächtnuß gelebet” (“who was still present in living memory,” F 11), all the more so as he himself attached much importance to documentary truth.

The Wagnerbuch as Counterexample

  • 26 Wagnerbuch (n. 21, abbreviated as W), I, 239–240. The original title is: Ander theil D. Johan Faust (...)

18The question why the Faustbuch was so astonishingly outdated in geographicis gains urgency when one turns to the Wagnerbuch for comparison (also a Historia and one which appeared only six years later). There, Faust’s stalwart traveling famulus (assistant) has certainly “heard something” about the “New World” and takes it upon himself to investigate it and to get to know the manners and customs of the peoples who inhabit it (“[sie] besser zu erkündigen/vnd auch der innwonenden völcker Sitten vnd Gebräuch [zu] erkennen”).26 The author bases his three chapters about America (here, too, definitely the land of cannibals) almost entirely on a Latin version of Benzoni’s Historia del mondo nuovo of 1565. This story of the discovery and conquest of America by Columbus, Cortés, and Pizarro owes much to the earlier accounts, but was enriched by Benzoni’s own Central and South American travel experiences of more than fourteen years, beginning in 1541. To compare the chapters about America in the Wagnerbuch with the geographical horizon of the Faustbuch is hardly an arbitrary project, given the titlepage of the Wagnerbuch where, before anything else, it is described as the second part of the 1587 Faustbuch. In addition, the foreword begins with the very quotation from the first epistle of Peter with which the Faustbuch not only began, in the “Vorred an den Christlichen Leser,” but also emphatically closed. The passage warns that the devil prowls around like a roaring lion in search of victims “whom he may devour.”

  • 27 Müller, 257: Fürwitz is the dominant theme the Faustbuch.
  • 28 W, I, 69–71. See Barbara Könneker, “Faust und Wagner: Zum literarischen Phänomen des Außenseiters i (...)

19But despite several additional parallel motifs, the differences between the two chapbooks become relevant already in their respective forewords. They differ with respect to the attitudes of both authors toward the new empirical thirst for knowledge and to the related geographical exploration of the “whole world.” In the Faustbuch, curiositas, the “Fürwitz” mentioned on the title page – in other words, the quest for knowledge demonized by the theological authorities – is the sin which drives Faust into the net of the devil, turns him away from God, and ultimately dispatches him to hell. “Fürwitz” is the main theme of the whole book.27 The root cause of Wagner’s sin, on the other hand, as stated unmistakably in the foreword, is that he lets himself be led astray by the devil into the pact through the enticements of magic, “Zauberey.” Certainly, the forbidden “vbernatürlichen Magischen […] künste” (“supernatural magical arts,” W, I, 69) impart secular knowledge the likes of which he has never dreamed, and in accord with the zeitgeist of the age of discovery and as stipulated in the pact, this includes geographical knowledge (the knowledge of foreign lands, “frembder Land,” W, I, 70). Above all, however, magic affords Wagner something else: prestige in society, an abundance of experience, pleasure in life, riches, and luxury.28

  • 29 See the “Nachwort” in the Wagnerbuch, II, 342.
  • 30 Ehrenfeuchter, 364; see also W, II, 342.
  • 31 Müller, 257: “die Naturerkenntnis [hat] sich gegenüber dem theologischen Rahmen […] vollends versel (...)

20The author of the Wagnerbuch warns against the thirst for knowledge and intellectual curiosity only in passing and then only inasmuch as they make use of supernatural magic inimical to God.29 Instead of the warning against intellectual curiosity (“Fürwitz”) found on the title page of the Faustbuch, the title page of the Wagnerbuch courts the audience with a reference to knowledge about the New World, such as “what kinds of people live there” (“was für Leute darinn wohnen”) – cannibals, of course – what their “Religion” is like, what kinds of native products they have there, and what encounters they have had with the Spaniards. “Striving after knowledge per se is not presented as something negative in the Wagnerbuch. In this respect, it represents a spirit diametrically opposed to [that of the Faustbuch].”30 This reflects the spirit of an empirical investigation of nature or curiositas that has emancipated itself from theological sanctions against the autonomous acquisition of knowledge.31 The Wagnerbuch recommends such study (“Studiren”) and inquiry (“nachforschung”) in mathematics, astronomy, optics, medicine, and even alchemy – that is, the practice of the “natural arts” (“natürlichen Künst”) instead of the forbidden supernatural, “magical” (“zauberischen”) ones – as activities pleasing to God. For it leads to the knowledge of “GOttes Allmächtigkeit/vnd [der] wund[der] die er in die natur gelägt hat” (“God’s omnipotence and the wonders he established in nature,” W, I, 88–89).

21Of course, such a liberal understanding of curiositas, which contradicts the theology of both Christian confessions (and the Faustbuch), does not preclude the Protestant understanding of sin from defining the intellectual framework in the Wagnerbuch. Wagner escapes damnation no more than Faust, but not for the same reason, not for the same sin. His sin is not his thirst for knowledge which, compared to Faust’s, is not especially distinctive of his mindset. Rather, it is his enslavement by a supernatural magic inimical to God, which, to be sure, gives him knowledge, but also something else decisively more important to him. If, then, in the Wagnerbuch, the quest for knowledge is not a sin per se, but serves the legitimate interests of the audience (to which the title page appeals), then more space can be given to the worldwide journeys. And this is where the experience of the New World becomes especially meaningful in the Wagnerbuch. After all, knowledge of that part of the world rests on the solid and (for the author) unobjectionable scientific curiosity and experimental propensity of Columbus. In the Wagnerbuch, Columbus is pointedly showcased as the exemplary, empirically minded, calculating natural scientist in the fields of astronomy and mathematics (W, I, 78–81). The Wagnerbuch consequently offers a defense of the “natural” instead of the forbidden supernatural arts. Such an attitude would have been judged impertinent and sinful by the author of the Faustbuch.

22This difference in the orientation of the two chapbook authors as well the sins of their protagonists (an impertinent passion for knowledge of the world vs. magic as a way to pleasures of a questionable kind) also explains why the journeys in the Wagnerbuch are so much more exploratory, more packed with experience, more permeated by reality, and as a result more reader-friendly than in the Faustbuch, where they are brief, to the point, and at best satirical, as in the case of the religious bogeymen, the Pope and the Sultan. The Wagnerbuch author is much less engaged, not only psychologically, but also theologically, than the Faustbuch author. That is, he is not concerned, as was his predecessor, with the distress, fear, and despair sub specie theologiae of a protagonist who is bent on knowledge: not with his having forfeited God’s grace, as the author of the Faustbuch was, and not with the nagging and eminently Lutheran problem of becoming worthy of such grace through faith. On Faust’s third journey, the author of the Faustbuch pointedly identified any religiously significant building, and was careful also to mention their Christian inhabitants and sacred objects. The author of the Wagnerbuch (or his devil as tour guide) takes a completely different approach. In Lapland (W, I, 227–232), China (W, I, 280–291), and America (W, I, 239–274), he features exotic regions and exhibits an enthusiastically worldly orientation and open-minded interest in the peoples who live there and are demonstrably heathen with their sorcerers, conjurors of devils, demonic gods, and the devil himself who resolutely plagues them (W, I, 250).

The Expansion of the Geographical Horizon: German Conquistadors in America

23Seen through the lens of the Wagnerbuch, it seems plausible that the author of the Historia von D. Johann Fausten, having concentrated on the psychological problem of the Lutheran’s anxiety about God’s grace, was able to forego without further ado an expansion of the geographical view of the world so as to include the new continent west of the Atlantic. His successor was more interested in the exotic, even cannibalistic world than in the landscape of a troubled believer’s soul and was consequently able to accomplish such an expansion regardless of the inherent topic of apostacy and without any concern for the raised eyebrows of theologians uneasy with curiositas. What is more, he accurately calculated what would appeal to his readers. At the same time, the exact opposite could be conceivable: that the Faustbuch author might have found all manner of thematically useful material in the reports about heathen, devil-dominated America, given his theological interests focused on the devil as seducer to unbelief. Such first-hand reports, brimful of adventures, were abundant in the second half of the century, and a creative man of letters would have found them more appealing than encyclopedic reference works (cosmographies, for example), matter-of-fact summaries of success stories (such as Columbus’s), or the brief coverage found in broadsheets.

  • 32 Die neuen Welten, 76, 92. Concerning the Protestantism of the authors, see Hans Staden, Warhaftige (...)

24At this point, it is helpful to look at the German-language descriptions of the cannibalistic New World already mentioned in passing. They began to appear from 1550 onwards from the pens of Protestant authors. Some enjoyed considerable success. More than likely, they would have been accessible to the chapbook author, given his wide-ranging engagement with the contemporary printed sources. It is really only a question of four such works, all told. In the literary life of the time, they set themselves apart as a clearly visible, discrete group. They are the only German-language eyewitness reports about America to appear in the entire century.32 That distinction alone would have drawn attention to them, not least in the context of the “empirical turn” in the contemporary “Faustian” quest for knowledge. For the authors attached special importance to the authentic experiential content of their works and made that known in their titles, forewords, dedications, or conclusions (cp. note 72). Moreover, they addressed themselves in particular to the world with which the German reader was conversant. The works in question are:

    • 33 Quotations are from the reprint in Das Gold der Neuen Welt (n. 7), 51–80.

    Philipp von Hutten’s 1540 letter from Venezuela, in Ferdinandi Cortesii von dem Newen Hispanien so im Meer gegem [sic] Nidergang […] (Ferdinand Cortes’s of the New Spain in the Sea Towards Sundown), Augsburg: Philipp Ulhart, 1550, fol. LIr-LVIIv.33

    • 34 Quoted from the reprint in N. Federmanns und H. Stades [sic] Reisen in Südamerika, ed. Karl Klüpfel (...)

    Nicolaus Federmann, Indianische Historia. Ein schöne kurtzweilige Historia Niclaus Federmanns des Jüngeren von Vlm erster raise so er von Hispania vnd Andolosia auß in Indias des Occeanischen Mörs gethan hat/vnd was ihm allda ist begegnet biß auff sein widerkunfft inn Hispaniam/auffs kurtzest beschriben/gantz lustig zu lesen (Indian History. A Lovely Entertaining History of Niclaus Federmann’s, the Younger of Ulm, First Journey which He Made from Spain and Andalusia to the India of the Ocean Sea, and What He Encountered There Until his Return to Spain; Described Most Concisely, Most Amusing to Read), Hagenau: Sigmund Bund, 1557.34

    • 35 Numerous reprints. Facsimile and version in contemporary German in: Hans Staden, Warhaftige Histori (...)

    Hans Staden, Warhaftige Historia vnd beschreibung eyner Landtschafft der Wilden/Nacketen/Grimmigen Menschfresser Leuthen/in der Newenwelt America gelegen/vor und nach Christi geburt im Land zu Hessen vnbekant/bisz vff dise ij nechstvergangene jar/Da sie Hans Staden von Homberg auß Hessen durch sein eygne erfarung erkant […] (The True History and Description of a Territory of Savage, Naked, Fierce, and Cannibalistic People Situated in the New World America, Before and After the Birth of Christ Unknown in the Land of Hessia until the Past Two Years when Hans Staden of Homberg in Hessia Came to Know Them Through his Own Experience), Marburg: Kolbe, 1557.35

    • 36 Numerous reprints. Edition used: Warhafftige Historien. Einer Wunderbaren Schiffart/welche Vlrich S (...)

    Ulrich Schmidel, Wahrhafftige und liebliche Beschreibung etlicher fürnemen Indianischen Landtschaften und Insulen die vormals in keiner Chroniken gedacht und erstlich in der Schiffart Ulrici Schmidts [sic] von Straubingen mit grosser gefahr erkundigt und von ihm selber auffs fleissigt beschrieben und dargethan (The True and Lovely Description of Various Grand Indian Territories and Islands, Never Before Imagined in Any Chronicle and First Explored at Great Danger on the Voyage of Ulrich Schmidt [sic] of Straubingen Who Himself Most Assiduously Described and Presented It), in Sebastian Franck, Ander theil dieses Weltbuchs von Schiffarten (Part Two of this Worldbook of Navigation), Frankfurt: Martin Lechter für Sigmund Feyerabend und Simon Hüter, 1567.36

25The authors of these four texts about the infamous lands of cannibals have this much in common: they allowed themselves to be lured by the fabled gold and silver riches of South America, even though they, no less steadfast Protestants than the author of the Faustbuch, should not have let themselves be blinded by the treasures of the world. But apart from that similarity, their stories reveal very different pictures of their personalities. Federmann and his successor Hutten were unshakeable in their belief in their Christian, European superiority over the Indians. They held leading positions in the administration of a colony in present-day Venezuela that Emperor Charles V had signed over to the Welsers, an Augsburg business family, as a fief to colonize, develop economically, and exploit. In this capacity, they undertook military expeditions of conquest into the interior of the country in 1530–1531 and 1535–1538. Staden and Schmidel were comparatively uneducated mercenary soldiers who signed on in 1548 (again in 1550–1554) and 1536–1553 respectively for Portuguese and Spanish colonial expeditions to Brazil (Staden) and the La Plata region of Buenos Aires, upriver to Asunción, and into the Gran Chaco of present-day Paraguay (Schmidel). The reports of these four Germans concerning their experiences vary. Federmann’s is delivered in a factual, documentary style with relatively few personal reactions and impressions; it is a translation of an official report of the expedition written by a Spanish notary that Federmann only slightly expanded. Hutten’s letter from Venezuela (the only letter of his printed in the sixteenth century) is personal and diary-like. Staden’s narrative is vivid and lively, followed by a second part consisting of a descriptive appraisal and ethnological study that presents his insights into the culture of the cannibals who had held him captive for nine and a half months. (He had been a rifleman who had risen to be commander of a small fort.) Schmidel’s recollections chronicle almost two decades in Spanish service, which involved him in countless military engagements against the indigenous peoples in the La Plata region and the Gran Chaco.

Affinities: The New World and the Faust-World

26As varied as those reports are, a few common motifs emerge in all four, motifs also found in other works of contemporary literature about America. They could conceivably have prompted the author of the Faustbuch to compose a chapter about the stirring South American adventures of his protagonist.

  • 37 N, 54, 245. See also Otto Zöckler, Geschichte der Beziehungen zwischen Theologie und Naturwissensch (...)

27Indeed, the introduction of America could in itself have been alluring, but also risky, for the life story of Faust, the great sinner and seeker of knowledge. After all, whoever presented the fourth continent as an empirical reality ultimately contradicted the Bible, which had nothing to say about such a continent and its inhabitants. Did the fanatical Lutheran who wrote the Faustbuch, in contrast to the more emancipated or indifferent author of the Wagnerbuch, eschew the sensitive topic of America in order to avoid any suspicion that he questioned the authority of the Bible? The Protestant, especially Lutheran, understanding of the Bible as the verbally inspired witness to the true nature of the world bolted the door to the independent investigation of that world that natural science was then attempting to conduct, not least with respect to geography. For this reason, it was very daring for the Marburg professor of medicine, Johann Dryander, to assert almost boastfully in the dedication he wrote for Staden’s work that, as far as the antipodes were concerned, experience had proven the Church Fathers, hence also the Bible, wrong. The corollary question still remained unresolved, namely, whether the existence of “human beings” there could be reconciled with monogenesis as affirmed by the Bible. Would not the assumption of polygenesis, that is, the notion of more than one Adam as the father of humanity, also cast doubt on the Bible? (Paracelsus comes to mind.)37 A Protestant might also have had misgivings about accepting the Pope’s declaration of 1537 (not to mention his authority) that the people found in the New World were human beings like the rest of us.

  • 38 N 238. On the controversy about the papal decision, see Burke, 264 and Stanley L. Robe, “Wild Men a (...)
  • 39 N 211, 256; Hutten illustrates this association particularly well.

28Be that as it may, the people the Germans and other Europeans encountered in America were heathens, whereas the foreign invaders regularly described themselves as Christians. In their reports about America in the second half of the century, the heathens were not “noble savages” in an overseas Garden of Eden.38 They were the “nacket lüt” (“naked people”). That is what Sebastian Brant called them in 1494 in his Narrenschiff (Ship of Fools), the first German book to mention Americans, and that is how they were known from then on. With “nacket,” Brant meant naked like the animals, hence the stereotypical association of the word with “bestial,” “horrible,” “treacherous.”39

29Theologically, these heathens were idolaters, the witnesses reported. As such, they were not candidates for the Gospel’s promise of salvation. The curse of original sin weighed heavily upon them, with no hope of God’s grace either now or at the end of time. In the dedication he included in Schmidel’s book, Levinus Hulsius, the publisher, makes the point (not without self-righteousness): the many hundred thousand “wilde Leut” (“savages”) in the “newen Ländern” (“new lands”) have no claim to the “Barmhertzigkeit” (“mercy”) of the Christian God. They are accordingly irrevocably prejudged by their vices, enumerated at length and including both idolatry and cannibalism. All “Verstendige” (“sensible persons”) could consequently see how much reason they had to be thankful to their Savior.

  • 40 Histoire nouvelle du Nouveau Monde, ed. Urbain Chauveton ([Geneva]: Vignon, 1579), http://gallica.b (...)
  • 41 Léry, Histoire d’un voyage (facsimile of the second ed., 1580), ed. Jean-Claude Morisot (Geneva, 19 (...)

30Urbain Chauveton provides a more specific reason why the Native Americans could not be redeemed. In the foreword to his annotated French translation of Benzoni’s Historia del mondo nuovo (1579),40 he writes that God had revealed himself also to the savages in his creation. But because they had refused to recognize or acknowledge God in his creation thanks to their limited “lumière naturelle” (“natural illumination”), God had damned them, abandoning them to their own desires and passions. Another reason, not mentioned by Chauveton, but often voiced by both Protestants and Catholics in the sixteenth and even the seventeenth century, has at least as much weight. Jean de Léry, who had travelled to the New World with a group of Protestant colonists, speaks of that reason in 1578 in his Histoire d’un voyage faict en la terre du Brésil. On the basis of Psalm 19:5 and Romans 10:18, he argued that the Indians could either have perceived the glory of the Creator in the creation or they could have received the Gospel from the Apostles a long time ago. They had refused to acknowledge the true God, however, and were therefore accursed and forsaken by God (“vn peuple maudit & delaissé de Dieu”).41

  • 42 W, I, 250, 264, 269. Cp. Benzoni, History of the New World (New York, 1857), 79, 247–248, 254. See (...)
  • 43 Chauveton, 323.
  • 44 Léry, Histoire d’un voyage, 234, 238, 239, 240.
  • 45 Léry, 238.
  • 46 Federmann (n. 34), 2; Benzoni, History, 254.

31The theological status of the heathen could also be reformulated in a complementary way: they had enslaved themselves to God’s adversary, the devil, a most experienced seducer. Or they were given over to him, because they did not recognize or acknowledge the true God. In any case, the devil had free rein among them. That conviction was commonly held in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Referring to Benzoni, the Wagnerbuch reflects that perspective in 1593: “der Teufel betreugt sie gar offt in mancherley gestalt” (“the devil deceives them very often taking different shapes”); “[er] vexirt […] die arme Leut der listige verlogne Schelm” (“[he] vexes the poor people, that cunning, false rogue”); they succumb to a “Teuffelischen Irrthumb” (“devilish error”) and “[halten] offt mit dem Teuffel Sprach” (“often converse with the devil”).42 Chauveton presented the same view in his French edition of Benzoni: Satan had “bigarré les natures & les coustumes de ces nations” (“checkered the natures and customs of these nations”).43 In 1578, Léry likewise wrote: “diables” (“devils”) and “esprits malins” (“evil spirits”) ceaselessly torment the savages who do not recognize the true God.44 They are indeed possessed by the devil (“démoniaques”).45 For both Federmann and Benzoni, the ceremonies of the Indians are “teuflisch” (“devilish”).46 According to Staden, the indigenous people fear nothing more than the devil whom they often see (“Teuffel welchen sie […] offtmals sehen,” II, ch. 7).

32If the devil lurked everywhere in German lands like a roaring lion, as the Faustbuch indicates, this was also true, and all the more so, in America, where the true God was not honored. The fears of Protestants and Lutherans that the devil was omnipresent in his manifold manifestations was projected into the lands of the man-eaters. What is more, as idolaters (as they are called again and again) the indigenous people are not only victims of the devil, who, according to the Faustbuch, caused the Israelites to worship foreign Gods (“zuwegen brachte/daß das Jsraelitische Volck frembde Götter anbetete,” F 34). They are also the devil’s willing followers. As the Wagnerbuch (following Benzoni) reports, not for nothing do their idols remind the Europeans of devils. To the Europeans, they look “wie wir den Teufel mahlen” (“like we depict the devil,” W, I, 249). Chauveton is even clearer in the foreword to his 1579 French translation of Benzoni’s Historia: “Ils adorent le Diable” (“They worship the devil”).

  • 47 N 54. Concerning Calvinism, see also the Calvin quotation in Jean de Léry, History of a Voyage to t (...)
  • 48 Schmidel (n. 36), 94; F 27, 109.

33The land of the man-eaters is a land of sin and as such the domain of the devil. Without a doubt, Faust would have fitted into that world. As the apostate subsequently condemned by God, he would have been among his own kind, if there had been a chapter about America. After all, early Lutheranism, similar to Calvinism (which Chauveton and Léry professed), held that the Gospel had been known from early on throughout the world, a view based on Psalm 19:5, Romans 10:18, and Matthew 24:14. The heathens in America had rejected it, however; they were therefore apostate and remained unsaved, unworthy of God’s grace; missionary work (which Catholicism understood as a mandate) was superfluous.47 The status of these heathens was consequently exactly the same as Faust’s in the Faustbuch. There, in the author’s foreword, “Abgötterey und Götzendienst” (“idolatry”) and worship of the devil are branded as manifestations of apostasy (“Abfall von Gott”) and therefore the worst of sins (F 8–9). According to Schmidel, in what could be a quotation taken directly from the Faustbuch, the Americans – just like Faust – lead an Epicurean life (“Epikurisch Leben”).48 They, too, are possessed (“besessen”) and deceived (“betrogen”) by the devil (F 35, 42, 5). If the heathens in America are to be seen as devil worshippers and indeed as devils (“démoniaques”), then Faust no less so. Before he signed the pact, he wanted to be like a hellish spirit, like the devil himself – “daß er kein Mensch möchte seyn/sondern ein leibhafftiger Teuffel” (“that he did not want to be a human being, but a devil incarnate,” F 20). By the conclusion, he has literally become one: “auß einem Christen [ist] ein rechter Ketzer vnd Teuffel worden” (“a Christian has become a downright heretic and devil,” F 102) – one without any hope of God’s grace.

34To sum up: what the Germans came to know first-hand in South America among the Indians – their atrocities, worst among them the cannibalism mentioned in all four accounts – could easily be seen in theological terms as an indication of the depravity of those apostates, as a syndrome of the devil’s followers, or even of devils in human shape.

  • 49 Schmidel (n. 36), 10; Hutten (n. 7), 74. On nakedness: Staden (n. 6) passim; Hutten, 74: “nit vil b (...)
  • 50 W, I, 243–244, 247, 266, 273; cp. Benzoni, History, 160–164 and Gewecke, 204–208.
  • 51 Federmann (n. 34), 28.
  • 52 Schmidel (n. 36), 62.

35The irony, however, is that the authors of those reports were not unaware that the genius loci had infected them with the same attitudes and behaviors they found among the indigenous peoples of America. That some of the Europeans (such as Staden during long periods of his imprisonment, and Hutten as well) were forced to be naked among the “savages”, or at least in their lands, is not without its symbolic meaning. Driven by hunger, the Europeans also ate their own kind;49 besides, they committed their own atrocities against the Indians: mass murder with no mercy shown to children, executions for little or no cause, dwellings set on fire, sometimes with the inhabitants still inside, captivity in chains, torture, slavery, bloody punitive expeditions, etc. In other words, the Europeans were also “wild vnd blutdürstige Thier” (“wild and bloodthirsty animals”); their God was as evil as they themselves – as indicated in the Wagnerbuch, which took its cue from Benzoni’s leyenda negra.50 As Federmann reports, the indigenous people considered the Spaniards to be “teuflen” (“devils”).51 Schmidel seems to have suspected much the same. Observing violent physical disputes in the Spanish camp, he remarked: “[es] fing der Teufel gar vnter vns zu regieren an/das keiner vor dem andern sicher war” (“the devil began to rule among us, so that no one was safe with another”)52 – just as in the Faustbuch.

The Eurocentrism of the Faustbuch and the Piety of the Protestants

  • 53 Baron (n. 14), 90.

36It is plausible that the motives and stimuli found in accounts of the exploration of America – to which the author of the Faustbuch might readily have had access – would in principle have been thematically suitable for his work. A mere six years later, the author of the Wagnerbuch jumped at the opportunity to include those themes. Why had the Faustbuch author not also done so? After all, he conceived his Faust as more learned than public opinion would grant the charlatan.53 To be sure, his attitude toward the thirst for knowledge was not as liberal as that of the Wagnerbuch author who for that very reason was more open to new geographical knowledge. But can it only have been the more orthodox Lutheranism of the Faustbuch author, with its opposition to the independent pursuit of knowledge, which deprived him, almost one hundred years after Columbus, of an expanded geographical horizon? Would not his insistent polemic against the impertinence of wanting “to know everything” – “[Faust] wolte alle Gründ am Himmel vnd Erden erforschen” (F 15) – have been effectively heightened by extending Faust’s exploits beyond Europe to include the New World and its populations?

  • 54 W, II, 341; cp. Könneker (n. 12), 200, n. 61: “Amerika […] fehlt […] offensichtlich deshalb, weil d (...)

37The reasons given for the pre-modern geographical backwardness of the Faustbuch (once it began to attract attention) are not very sound and tend to refer to “indifference and ignorance.”54 Moreover, they are always offered in passing, as if nothing required further explanation.

  • 55 E. g., Baron, 90; F 331–332.
  • 56 Hans Henning, “Das Faust-Buch von 1587: Seine Entstehung, seine Quellen, seine Wirkung,” Weimarer B (...)
  • 57 See Dillenberger (n. 37).
  • 58 Baron, 90.
  • 59 Briesemeister (n. 20), 100.
  • 60 Karl Schorbach, Entstehung, Überlieferung und Quellen des deutschen Volksbuches Lucidarius (Straßbu (...)

38That the Faustbuch’s cosmology (so often mentioned in the same breath as its geography)55 was based on medieval beliefs is hardly relevant in this context. There can hardly even be a comparison between the two. After all, at the time of the composition of the Faustbuch (the most recent source of which is dated 1585),56 Copernican astronomy was barely two generations old, and it remained contested in Catholic as well as Protestant circles throughout the entire century both within and beyond that specialized branch of science.57 On the other hand, Columbus’s first voyage of discovery precedes De revolutionibus orbium coelestium by about two generations. After that, there could be no reasonable doubt about the existence of land and its inhabitants on the far side of the Atlantic. Another putative reason given for leaving America out of the Faustbuch is the allegedly “conservative library” of the author.58 This is a circular argument: why was it conservative and hence contained no books on America? The author’s library was “thoroughly up-to-date” with respect to other, non-geographical and non-cosmological information, the editors of the critical edition state (F 331), and the reason for this, they maintain, was that, given the twenty-four years’duration of the pact with the devil, the author had “somehow to fill [those years] with events […], but where would a German author in the sixteenth century turn for knowledge of the world? He had to rely on books” (F 332). Of course, he had to, but by this time there were already German books available (as has been shown here) that expanded the horizon of the volume that the Faustbuch author slavishly used as his source for the detailed description of his anti-hero’s travels, namely, Hartmann Schedel’s Weltchronik of 1493, which did not take cognizance of America. The author of the Faustbuch also used the Elucidarius, a widely disseminated astronomical and geographical handbook by Honorius Augustodunensis, extensively as a source of information. It would, however, be necessary to determine which of the many repeatedly revised editions he consulted for the Faustbuch. The critical edition of the Faustbuch by Füssel and Kreutzer cites the 1589 edition of the Elucidarius as a source text, but that date is of course two years after the publication of the Faustbuch. The title of the 1589 Elucidarius suggests that it had nothing to say about America, as it promises that the work instructs “wie die Erdt in drey [!] theil getheilet [sei und wie] dero Länder/sampt der Völcker darinn [beschaffen seien]” (“how the earth is divided into three parts and how those lands and their peoples are constituted,” F 310). According to Briesemeister, America is not to be found in any of the many sixteenthcentury editions of Elucidarius.59 But that is not correct. It has long been known that since 1568 several Elucidarius editions (Basel: Oporin, for example) deal with America in an entire chapter.60 Still, which edition the Faustbuch author may have used, whether one with or one without the chapter about America, remains unknown. In any case, neither the Elucidarius nor Schedel’s Weltchronik prompted him to write even a word about America. Again: why?

  • 61 N 47–58; for the Catholic view, see also Hanke (n. 47) and for Sebastian Brant’s misgivings, n. 16 (...)
  • 62 N 50; on the Humanists, see Wuttke (n. 16), 40–44.

39A key phrase already quoted from the Wagnerbuch reveals more about the puzzling geographical backwardness of the Faustbuch. There, the practice of the “natural arts” – in contrast to the “vbernatürlichen” or “zauberischen” (“supernatural” or “magical”) ones – is defined as the inquiry of the natural sciences (astronomy, mathematics, optics, medicine, etc.). Those sciences are recommended as a god-pleasing activity, because they lead to the knowledge of “GOttes Allmächtigkeit/vnd [der] wund[er] die er in die natur gelägt hat” (“God’s omnipotence and the wonders he established in nature,” W, I, 88–89). The historian of colonialism Wolfgang Neuber relates this general notion to the specific early modern German awareness of America, but without mentioning either the Wagnerbuch or the Faustbuch. As Neuber found, journeys of discovery were theologized (not least by authors recounting those travels) in the sense that their expansion of the knowledge of the world was understood, and even justified against theological objections, as a demonstration of the wisdom and greatness of God revealed in his creation. This idea was especially prevalent on the Protestant side, very much in contrast to the Catholic camp where, as noted, the theological interest in New Worlds was channeled into missionary work, the communication of the Biblical revelation to the heathens.61 Had the Lutheran Faustbuch author allowed his protagonist adventures and experiences not only in the Old World, but also in the New, his Faust as an explorer of that continent (and consequently as a demonstrator of the greatness of the creator) would have lost his role as the apostate sinner. That would naturally have contradicted the key idea of the story: that the thirst for empirical knowledge, including geographical knowledge, was to be punished. But, to repeat: in the sixteenth century, Protestants and particularly the humanists among them believed that “knowledge of the world” was “knowledge of God,”62 which the exploration of new worlds beyond the familiar longitudes and latitudes could afford. To verify this belief, one need only consult cosmographical compendia like Franck’s Weltbuch (1534), Münster’s Cosmographia (1544), and Johann Rauw’s work of the same title (1597) (N 50, 52, 53); or the foreword of Urbain Chauveton, the Genevan Calvinist and subsequent pastor, to his French translation of Benzoni’s Historia del mondo nuovo (1579); or the German travel accounts from the second half of the century discussed here, which could have informed the Faustbuch author about the New World.

40The dedication written for Federmann’s Indianische Historia by his brother-in-law Hans Kiffhaber clearly expresses the view that God uses discoverers and explorers as his agents of revelation. According to Kiffhaber, the Almighty reveals to us a previously unknown side of his world with the “erfindung der newen Inseln” (“discovery of the new islands”), that is, America. Something unimagined has miraculously appeared and disclosed itself (“wunderbarlich herfür gethon” and “eröffnet”) from which the “gütte und liebe Gottes gegen dem menschlichen geschlecht” (“the benevolence and love of God for the human race”) can be discerned. It is to be expected that God has “onzweiffel etwas grösseres drunter verporgen, das vor dem tage des Herren uns allen zu nutz als wir hoffen, werd erfolgen” (“without doubt hidden something even greater there which will occur, as we hope, before the day of the Lord to benefit us all”). It is consequently pleasing to God to be a “liebhaber und erforscher der verborgne ding und wunder Gottes” (“lover and explorer of the hidden things and wonders of God”) (3–4).

41The Calvinist publisher Levinus Hulsius goes even further in the dedication he contributed to Schmidel’s Warhafftige Historien. As he observes, “die Historien vnnd Relation der newen Länder vnnd Völcker [sind] den Christen zu lesen nötig [als Anlass,] die unermeßliche wunderbahre Werck Gottes [zu] betrachten” (“the histories and reports of new lands and peoples are necessary for Christians to read as an occasion to contemplate the immeasurable, wondrous works of God”). Johannes Dryander’s foreword to Staden’s Warhaftige Historia reads similarly. It calls the journeys of discovery important as revelations of the reality of the antipodean parts of the earth and their populations whose existence the Church Fathers like Augustine and Lactantius had disputed. Thanks to those discoveries, the full extent of creation could now be experienced and God’s works and will recognized. The conclusion to be drawn from this Protestant doctrine concerning the theological significance of the journeys to America since Columbus can only be this: if the Faustbuch author had let his protagonist travel and tour not only the Old World, but also the New, with its natural and cultural wonders, he would have assigned to the paradigmatic sinner and renegade what established opinion considered a God-pleasing role, making him an instrument of the ongoing revelation of the creator in the present. Faust would unexpectedly have changed from an apostate cast out by God to a providentially privileged herald of the Almighty.

42This consideration leads to a second reason why the Faustbuch author had almost to forbid his protagonist to travel to America, although it would have brought the geographical horizon of his work up to date with what had been known for almost a century. Faust despairs of the oft-invoked grace of God. In contrast, all four of the German travelers to America in the second half of the sixteenth century emphatically considered themselves privileged by God, indeed, almost elected in a Protestant sense. It is hard to imagine that the Faustbuch author would not have known of them. They believed they had God’s providential grace to thank for surviving, unlike hundreds of their fellow Europeans, the dangers on their expeditions into the hinterlands of coastal zones, sometimes for years on end. Hunger, deprivations, accidents, shipwrecks, pirates, captivity, internal power struggles, natural catastrophes, beasts of prey (“tigers”), snakes, vermin, treacherous and brutal Indians with poisonous arrows and an appetite for human flesh: all conspired against them.

  • 63 Hutten (n. 7), 74–75.
  • 64 Federmann (n. 34), 32.
  • 65 Federmann, 51.
  • 66 Federmann, 86. See also N 154: Neuber sees no references to or indications of God’s active interven (...)
  • 67 Schmidel, Reise in die La Plata-Gegend (1534–1554), ed. Franz Obermeier (Kiel, 2008), XVII.
  • 68 Schmidel (n. 36), 102.
  • 69 Schmidel (n. 36), 63.
  • 70 Obermeier (Anm. 67), S. XVI.
  • 71 Schmidel (n. 36), 7, 9, 12, 22, 23, 40, 63, 65, 67, 69, 70, 80, 82, 102, 103.

43With relatively set phrases, Hutten referred to the grace of God, which had allowed him, unlike so many of his comrades, to escape with his life.63 His predecessor Federmann occasionally took it for granted that he and the Spaniards in his entourage were protected by “Gott dem herren” (“the Lord God”)64 against the Indians’attacks. In particular, he took the Indians’fear of horses (which gave the outnumbered foreigners a decided advantage) as a sign that “der allmächtige Gott wider die unglaubigen etwas in unser favor oder gunst würcke” (“almighty God works something against the unbelievers in our favor”).65 At the end of his report, he summarizes as if duty-bound: “Gott dem herren sei lobe” (“God the Lord be praised”) for returning him safe and sound to Europe.66 Like Federmann’s concluding remarks, the “conclusion” of Schmidel’s book (in the 1602 edition) thanks the “sonderbahren Gnade vnnd Schickung des Allmächtigen Gottes” (“special grace and providence of almighty God”) for his safe return to his homeland after “twenty years.” Although the publisher Hulsius was responsible for those words,67 Schmidel himself speaks on the same page of God’s “Gnat” (“grace”). One page earlier, he expresses “gantz vleissige” (“very diligent”) words of thanks to his “Allmächtigen Gott” (“almighty God”) who “mich […] so gnedig behüttet hat/daß ich nicht auff [das] Schiff kommen war” (“so graciously protected me that I did not board the ship”). He refers here to the ship he was to take from Spain, but failed to catch. It subsequently sank.68 In the text itself, he again and again concludes that “Gott der Allmächtige gabe seinen Segen” (“God almighty gave his blessing”) and prevented the treacherous savages from successfully attacking the Europeans.69 As Schmidel’s editor Obermeier recently observed, “Schmidel’s references to divine protection, for example, during battle, remain formulaic.”70 The references to divine grace are so numerous,71 however, that the book takes the form of an informal theodicy. In any case it is surprising to see how unproblematic it is for Schmidel to believe in such acts of God’s grace on behalf of the Europeans who massacred hundreds of indigenous people.

  • 72 Wolfgang Neuber, “Die frühen deutschen Reiseberichte aus der Neuen Welt: Fiktionalitätsverdacht und (...)

44Though more definitive proof would be welcome, it may be that “der Text als Zeugnis individueller Gnade Gottes […] für die protestantischen Reiseberichte bis ins 17. Jahrhundert ein konstitutiver Topos [ist]” (“the text as evidence of God’s distinct grace is a commonplace of Protestant travel accounts until and into the seventeenth century”).72 Of the German reports about America, this is certainly true, not least because the grace of God reached the travellers in the uniquely dangerous regions where cannibalism was common. (There was no knowledge at this time of man-eating South Sea islanders, particularly of New Zealanders. By comparison, the heathens elsewhere were more “civilized” according to European notions.) It is not surprising that the South American travel account that announced cannibalism on its title page and then brought it to life with selected gruesome illustrations, namely Staden’s Warhaftige Historia, is also the most eloquent in interpreting the survival of the encounters with man-eaters as evidence of divine grace.

  • 73 Obermeier (n. 6), XXVIII; Hans Staden, Brasilien: Die wahrhaftige Historie der wilden, nackten, gri (...)

45Since Staden’s book was by far the most often reprinted of the German travel accounts in the sixteenth century,73 it might most likely have attracted the attention of the Faustbuch author. It reads almost like an exemplum demonstrating the effectiveness of God’s grace for the steadfast believer in extremis. It is not such a stretch to use this term to describe the situation of the man who as a prisoner was drastically reminded by the cannibals for months on end that he would be eaten sooner rather than later. As his prayer at the end of the first part of his book indicates, Staden is a man who sees himself as given entirely into God’s hands. Even if he should be devoured, he does not doubt God’s mercy. Rather, he asks for spiritual strength in his final hour. The praise of the God who had been with him “in nöten” (“when in need”) on land and at sea with his “grosse gnad vnd barmhertzigkeyt” (“great grace and mercy”) begins in Staden’s dedication. Dryander’s dedication then cites this praise as Staden’s motive for writing the book (following cues in the prayer and in Chapter 40 of the book’s first part). The closing remarks return to that theme: “der Nothelffer vnser Herr vnd Gott” (“the helper in need, our Lord and God”) had saved him (“erlöset”) from the power of the “gotlosen Heydnischen volcks” (“godless heathen people”). To God “sei lob/ehr vnd preiß von ewigkeyt zu ewigkeyt” (“be glory, honor, and praise from eternity to eternity”). On almost every page of the text, even while depicting his brutal mercenary actions against the Indians, Staden never forgets to thank the Lord for his protection, his favor, and help under foreign skies. The key word is “Gnade” (“grace”); the theology is “[die] lutheranische des offenbaren Lenkergottes” (“the Lutheran one of the revealed God who guides us”) (N 154).

46More emphatically than the other three German-language accounts of America, Staden’s is an exemplary personal salvation story. The lesson is that God never abandons his own and rewards their faith without fail because he protects them in every circumstance of life. Benzoni’s Historia, in contrast – which the author of the Wagnerbuch used for his chapters about America – does not belong to this exotic variant of edification literature. Given the prerequisite liberal attitude toward the thirst for knowledge, it was consequently not all that difficult for the author of the Wagnerbuch, the “sequel” of the Faustbuch, to send his protagonist to America and attribute adventures and experiences to him there – before he goes to hell. It is different with the Faustbuch. Assuming that its author had probably at least heard of Staden’s book (since it was the most popular of the four discussed here), Staden’s penchant for edification would have forbidden him from the outset to use it as a basis for a chapter about exploits in America. The point of the Faustbuch is precisely that the confederate of the devil is not worthy of grace as long as his faith in the forgiveness of the Lord God is not firm enough. That is frequently the subject of his dialogues with the devil. It is what Faust himself believes, when he sees the analogy of his and the devil’s apostacy: “Darumb kan ich keiner Gnade mehr hoffen” (“For that reason, I can no longer hope for any grace,” F 33). The devil confirms it: the sinners condemned by God have “kein Huld oder Gnade bey Gott zu erlangen/zuhoffen” (“no favor or grace to gain or hope for from God,” F 41). As the narrator explains, “Er wolte aber keinen Glauben noch Hoffnung schöpfen/daß er durch Buß möchte zur Gnade Gottes gebracht werden” (“he did not want to allow himself any faith or hope that through repentance he might be brought to God’s grace,” F 33). Faust “verzagte an der Gnade Gottes” (“despaired of God’s grace,” F 36). When, encouraged by his neighbor, the “old man,” he is nevertheless ready to ask God for grace, the devil sees to it that he renews the pact (chapters 52–53). At the same time, there is a reminder that the devil cannot get at the pious old man (“beykommen”): “also beschützet GOtt alle fromme Christen/so sich GOtt ergeben vnnd befehlen gegen den bösen Geist” (“thus God protects all pious Christians who trust and devote themselves to God and oppose the evil spirit,” F 105) – but he does not protect a sinner like Faust.

A Tentative Conclusion

47What these findings suggest is obvious. The German reports about America, which appeared during the presumed lifetime of the Faustbuch author, would have offered him abundant material for further adventures of Faust. On the outer edge of the newly expanded geographical horizon there lived people who, in accordance with the Protestant understanding of the Gospel then current, were apostates, as was Faust himself. The German conquistadors who encountered them had sensationally adventurous, indeed, sometimes hardly believable experiences to report to a receptive audience. Even so, it is just as apparent that those reports were, according to the authors and others, testimonials to the revelation of God in his creation as well as documentations of the powerful efficacy of God’s grace. To be sure, such grace revealed itself in the providential protection of ruffians who in no way acted like Christians when as a matter of course they took uncooperative heathens as slaves, slew them by the score, shot them, threw them in irons, burned down their dwellings, etc. Nonetheless, they steadfastly considered themselves vis-à-vis the unbelievers to be “Christians,” rather than “whites,” “Germans,” or “Europeans.” Apparently, the Faustbuch author could not imagine his Faust in their company, although he could at times certainly hold his own with the German conquistadors when brutality was part of the story. The anonymous author tells instead the deterrent tale of an apostate who goes to hell, never having served the cause of a modern “revelation” (as Protestants thought explorers did) and thus never having become a candidate for the grace of the Merciful One.

48The author of the Historia von D. Johann Fausten may have had more than one reason for restricting his geographical horizon to a world prior to the conquistadors, as distinguished from the more contemporary view of the world which the author of the Wagnerbuch possessed. Perhaps it was indolence, indifference, ignorance, restricted access to sources of information, the relative unimportance of geography in his thinking, or nostalgia for a simpler world. A truly intellectual reason has not been put forth so far by other studies, and that is what has been attempted in these pages. In contrast to the author of the Wagnerbuch, the author of the Faustbuch is unmistakably focused on the theological situation of his anti-hero (though he attaches no less importance to the entertainment potential of the two middle sections). Hence, the geographical backwardness of the Faustbuch calls for an investigation of the theological implications of exploration at the time, such as the discovery of new worlds as a revelation of God’s creation or the conquistadors as remarkably blessed men. Such implications might indicate what kept the author of the Faustbuch from examining news about the newly “discovered” continent as possible material for his work, or from occupying himself in any way with the intellectual ramifications of the appearance of “America” on the map of the world. The bafflement found in Faustbuch scholarship with respect to a missing record of “America” may no longer be necessary.

Notes

1 This essay was translated into English by J. M. van der Laan. It was published originally as “D. Johann Faust und die Kannibalen: Geographische Horizonte im sechzehnten Jahrhundert” in Guthke, Die Reise ans Ende der Welt: Erkundungen zur Kulturgeschichte der Literatur (Tübingen, 2011), 82–110.

2 Goethe, Faust, lines 2293–2294.

3 Johann Heinrich Zedler, Grosses vollständiges Universal-Lexicon aller Wissenschaften und Künste (Halle and Leipzig, 1732–1754), V (1733), col. 558, https://www.zedlerlexikon.de

4 Johann Christoph Adelung, Grammatisch-Kritisches Wörterbuch der Hochdeutschen Mundart, 2nd ed. (Leipzig, 1793), I, col. 1298.

5 David Beers Quinn, “New Geographical Horizons: Literature,” First Images of America, ed. Fredi Chiappelli (Los Angeles, CA, 1976), 638, 640, 643–644.

6 See the illustrations in Wolfgang Neuber, Fremde Welt im europäischen Horizont: Zur Topik der deutschen Amerika-Reiseberichte der Frühen Neuzeit (Berlin, 1991), 208–209. Subsequent references to this work appear parenthetically in the text abbreviated as N with page numbers. Many illustrations are also found in the facsimile edition of Hans Staden’s Warhaftige Historia: Zwei Reisen nach Brasilien (1548–1555), ed. Franz Obermeier (Kiel, 2007).

7 Hutten’s letter of 16 Jan. 1540 in Das Gold der Neuen Welt: Die Papiere des Welser-Konquistadors und Generalkapitäns von Venezuela Philipp von Hutten 1534–1541, eds. Eberhard Schmitt and Friedrich Karl von Hutten (Hildburghausen, 1996), 134.

8 Also in German as Faustmond (Percha, 1986).

9 Historia von D. Johann Fausten, critical edition, eds. Stephan Füssel and Hans Joachim Kreutzer (Stuttgart, 1988), 58, 137 (Matth. 16: 26). Subsequent quotations and references to this volume appear parenthetically in the text abbreviated as F with page numbers.

10 The English Faust Book: A Critical Edition Based on the Text of 1592, ed. John Henry Jones (Cambridge, 1994), 128. The author had nothing more to say about these regions.

11 Doctor Faustus, ed. Sylvan Barnet (New York, 1969), 27 (B-Text, line 81).

12 “von der Faustkonzeption her, wie sie in der Vorrede entworfen und im 1. Handlungsabschnitt so sorgfältig entwickelt wurde, keinesfalls [zu] deuten”; “für die Analyse der Faustkonzeption im Volksbuch […] ohne Belang” (Barbara Könneker, “Faustkonzeption und Teufelspakt im Faustbuch von 1587,” Festschrift Gottfried Weber, eds. Heinz Otto Burger and Klaus von See [Bad Homburg, 1967], 199). Subsequent references to this work appear parenthetically in the text abbreviated as K with page numbers. It is often cited with respect, but it has had no real following except in Gerald Strauss’s “How to Read a Volksbuch: The Faust Book of 1587,” Faust Through Four Centuries, eds. Peter Boerner and Sidney Johnson (Tübingen, 1989), 27–39.

13 Cp. F, title page, 5, 12, 18, 22, 35, 52, 57, 114, 121, 123.

14 See Frank Baron, Faustus: Geschichte, Sage, Dichtung (München, 1982), 76–77 and 86–89: the “novelty” of the Faustbuch is that it replaces greed for money with a theologically anathemized thirst for knowledge as motivation in accord with the altered world view at the time during the transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance (76), which raises Faust above the commonplace “magicians” or necromancers (cp. 90); F in the Nachwort, 333–334: curiosity (curiositas), the desire to know for its own sake, is Faust’s only motivation for the pact whereby curiositas becomes the general principle of early modern science; the natural sciences require an autonomous human will to know; Alfred Hoelzel in The Paradoxical Quest: A Study of Faustian Vicissitudes (New York, 1988) speaks of “intellectual curiosity”(38) and of how Faust is “more bent on knowledge and information than on anything else” (30). Above all, cp. Jan-Dirk Müller, “Curiositas und erfarung der Welt im frühen deutschen Prosaroman,” Literatur und Laienbildung im Spätmittelalter und in der Reformationszeit, eds. Ludger Grenzmann and Karl Stackmann (Stuttgart, 1984), 252–271: curiosity about the world as the watchword for the rise of the early modern age from the medieval order of thought and life; curiositas and Fürwitz are symptoms of a change in the relation to empirical reality (252); delight in things wonderful, far away, and foreign in the age of discovery (254); Faust’s words about researching the foundations of heaven and earth (“aller Gründ am Himmel und Erden”) reflect a program of investigation of space (260), an ideal emancipated from theological bounds (264). Müller criticizes Könneker in n. s 32 and 56. See also Martin Ehrenfeuchter, “‘Es ward Wagner zu wissen gethan…’: Wissen und Wissensvermittlung im ‘Wagnerbuch’ von 1593,” Als das wissend die meister wol: Beiträge zur Darstellung und Vermittlung von Wissen in Fachliteratur und Dichtung des Mittelalters und der frühen Neuzeit, eds. Ehrenfeuchter and Thomas Ehlen (Frankfurt, 2000), 362–363: inasmuch as the thirst for knowledge leads to lack of reverence for God, it becomes an “archetype of sin.” Cp. Theodore Ziolkowski, The Sin of Knowledge: Ancient Themes and Modern Variations (Princeton, NJ, 2000), 56: “It is this new theme of sinful knowledge that sets the Historia apart from all previous accounts of the historical Faust. In earlier stories […] there was nothing about his desire for knowledge.” About a certain fluctuation in the articulation of the curiosity motif, see Marina Münkler, “‘Allzeit den Spekulierer genennet’: Curiositas als identitäres Merkmal in den Faustbüchern zwischen Renaissance und Aufklärung,” Faust-Jahrbuch, II (2005–2006), 61–81.

15 Christa K. King, Faustus and the Promises of the New Science, c. 1580–1730 (Farnham, 2008), 53–55; also Baron, 88–89.

16 Dieter Wuttke, “Humanismus in den deutschsprachigen Ländern und Entdeckungsgeschichte 1493–1534,” Pirckheimer-Jahrbuch, VII (1992), 27; also 19, 40, 47. Concerning Brant, see Wolfgang Neuber, “Verdeckte Theologie: Sebastian Brant und die Südamerikaberichte der Frühzeit,” Der Umgang mit dem Fremden: Beiträge zur Literatur aus und über Lateinamerika, ed. Titus Heydenreich (München, 1986), 9–29. In the Narrenschiff (1494) which contains the first reference to America in the German language, Chapter 66 warns against exploring all lands (“erfarung aller land”), hence against traveling to faraway and unknown regions: “dann wem syn synn zu wandeln stot/Der mag nit gentzlich dienen got” (Das Narrenschiff, ed. Manfred Lemmer, 2nd ed. (Tübingen, 1968), 169.

17 Concerning the analogy of Faust and the Biblical Fall, see Hoelzel, ch. 1.

18 See Müller (n. 14).

19 In the standard work by J. H. Parry, The Age of Reconnaissance (Berkeley, CA, 1981), no German explorers are discussed. Boies Penrose mentions Germans only en passant in his Travel and Discovery in the Renaissance, 1420–1620 (Cambridge, MA, 1952).

20 N 47; see also Uta Lindgren, “Die Veränderung des europäischen Weltbilds durch die Entdeckung Amerikas,” Das Bild Lateinamerikas im deutschen Sprachraum, eds. Gustav Siebenmann and Hans-Joachim König (Tübingen, 1992), 27–29, and in the same volume Dietrich Briesemeister, “Das Amerikabild im deutschen Frühhumanismus,” 99–100.

21 Hans-Hagen Hildebrandt, “Die Aneignung des Fremden in europäischen Texten der Frühen Neuzeit,” Weltbildwandel: Selbstdeutung und Fremderfahrung im Epochenübergang vom Spätmittelalter zur Frühen Neuzeit, eds. Hans-Jürgen Bachorski and Werner Röcke (Trier, 1995), 107–108. See 108 for information about the New World as a Spanish state secret (far past the middle of the century). The statistic quoted is repeated in the afterword of Das Wagnerbuch von 1593, eds. Günther Mahal and Martin Ehrenfeuchter (Tübingen, 2005), II, 341; see also Die neuen Welten in alten Büchern: Entdeckung und Eroberung in frühen deutschen Schrift-und Bildzeugnissen, eds. Ulrich Knefelkamp and Hans-Joachim König (Bamberg, 1988), 24, 77; Lindgren, 22, and N 236: over against the total number of German broadsides, the portion of reports about America is “negligibly small”; “at least quantitatively the topic of the New World was not dominant there in the first decades after the discovery.”

22 Paul H. Baginsky, “Early German Interest in the New World (1494–1618),” The American-German Review, V: 6 (1939), 8–13, 36. See also his German Works Relating to America, 1493–1800: A List Compiled from the Collection of the New York Public Library (New York, 1942); Philip Motley Palmer, German Works on America 1492–1800 (Berkeley, CA, 1952); Harold Jantz, “Images of America in the German Renaissance,” First Images of America, 91–106; according to Jantz, the bibliographies by Baginsky and Palmer together contain “far less than half the pertinent early German material” (105); Rudolf Hirsch, “Printed Reports on the Early Discoveries and their Reception,” First Images, 537–562. Cp. N 223: “Bis zur Mitte des 16. Jahrhunderts […] waren sowohl bei den Americana als auch im engeren bei den Brasiliana die relativ häufigsten Drucklegungen im deutschen Sprachraum zu verzeichnen.” See also N 238–240, 254: “ausschließlich Übersetzungen.” See also Die neuen Welten in alten Büchern, 77.

23 Frauke Gewecke, Wie die neue Welt in die alte kam (Stuttgart, 1986), 89.

24 Gewecke, 109.

25 Although still considered heathen, the Pope, as noted, had declared them human beings in 1537.

26 Wagnerbuch (n. 21, abbreviated as W), I, 239–240. The original title is: Ander theil D. Johan Fausti Historien, darin beschriben ist. Christophori Wageners […] Pact mit dem Teuffel […].

27 Müller, 257: Fürwitz is the dominant theme the Faustbuch.

28 W, I, 69–71. See Barbara Könneker, “Faust und Wagner: Zum literarischen Phänomen des Außenseiters in der deutschen Literatur,” Akten des VIII. Internationalen Germanisten-Kongresses Tokyo 1990, XI (München, 1991), 31–39.

29 See the “Nachwort” in the Wagnerbuch, II, 342.

30 Ehrenfeuchter, 364; see also W, II, 342.

31 Müller, 257: “die Naturerkenntnis [hat] sich gegenüber dem theologischen Rahmen […] vollends verselbständigt.” See also Gerhild Scholz Williams, “Magie und Moral: Faust und Wagner,” Daphnis, XIX (1990), 17–18.

32 Die neuen Welten, 76, 92. Concerning the Protestantism of the authors, see Hans Staden, Warhaftige Historia (n. 6), XXIII.

33 Quotations are from the reprint in Das Gold der Neuen Welt (n. 7), 51–80.

34 Quoted from the reprint in N. Federmanns und H. Stades [sic] Reisen in Südamerika, ed. Karl Klüpfel (Stuttgart, 1859).

35 Numerous reprints. Facsimile and version in contemporary German in: Hans Staden, Warhaftige Historia (n. 6).

36 Numerous reprints. Edition used: Warhafftige Historien. Einer Wunderbaren Schiffart/welche Vlrich Schmidel von Straubing/von Anno 1534. biß Anno 1554, in Americam oder Neuwewelt/bey Brasilia vnd Rio della Plata gethan (Nürnberg: Levinus Hulsius, 1602; rpt. of the 1599 edition). Facsimile in: Ulrich Schmidel, Wahrhafftige Historien einer wunderbaren Schiffart, ed. Hans Plischke (Graz 1962). Quotations are from this edition.

37 N, 54, 245. See also Otto Zöckler, Geschichte der Beziehungen zwischen Theologie und Naturwissenschaft, I (Gütersloh, 1877), 542–548, also on Paracelsus; John G. Burke, “The Wild Man’s Pedigree: Scientific Method and Racial Anthropology,” The Wild Man Within: An Image in Western Thought from the Renaissance to Romanticism, eds. Edward Dudley and Maximillian E. Novak (Pittsburgh, PA, 1972), 264 (Paracelsus quotations). On Protestant skepticism regarding natural science as competition for the Bible, see John Dillenberger, Protestant Thought and Natural Science (Westport, CN, 1960), esp. 34–35, 65–66, 96–97.

38 N 238. On the controversy about the papal decision, see Burke, 264 and Stanley L. Robe, “Wild Men and Spain’s Brave New World,” The Wild Man Within, 47.

39 N 211, 256; Hutten illustrates this association particularly well.

40 Histoire nouvelle du Nouveau Monde, ed. Urbain Chauveton ([Geneva]: Vignon, 1579), http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k1040322w.Theforewordisnotpaginated.

41 Léry, Histoire d’un voyage (facsimile of the second ed., 1580), ed. Jean-Claude Morisot (Geneva, 1975), 256, 260, 239. See also Jacques Solé, Christliche Mythen: von der Renaissance bis zur Aufklärung (Frankfurt, 1982), 116–119, 141–144; Johann Gottfried Schnabel, Insel Felsenburg: Wunderliche Fata einiger Seefahrer, ed. Günter Dammann (Frankfurt, 1997), III (commentary), 205–210, 266–267; Die neuen Welten in alten Büchern (n. 21), 91.

42 W, I, 250, 264, 269. Cp. Benzoni, History of the New World (New York, 1857), 79, 247–248, 254. See also n. 41 above. Burke, 264: “From the beginning, the savages of the newly discovered lands were viewed as the devil’s creation; their religions were considered as the devil’s service; and their gods as various forms of the devil.”

43 Chauveton, 323.

44 Léry, Histoire d’un voyage, 234, 238, 239, 240.

45 Léry, 238.

46 Federmann (n. 34), 2; Benzoni, History, 254.

47 N 54. Concerning Calvinism, see also the Calvin quotation in Jean de Léry, History of a Voyage to the Land of Brazil, Otherwise Called America, tr. Janet Whatley (Berkeley, CA, 1990), 248, editor’s n. 10. Concerning the Catholic view, see Lewis Hanke, “The Theological Significance of the Discovery of America,” First Images, 363–389; also Die neuen Welten in alten Büchern, 160, 288.

48 Schmidel (n. 36), 94; F 27, 109.

49 Schmidel (n. 36), 10; Hutten (n. 7), 74. On nakedness: Staden (n. 6) passim; Hutten, 74: “nit vil besser [gekleidet] dan die Jndier so gar nackent gehn.”

50 W, I, 243–244, 247, 266, 273; cp. Benzoni, History, 160–164 and Gewecke, 204–208.

51 Federmann (n. 34), 28.

52 Schmidel (n. 36), 62.

53 Baron (n. 14), 90.

54 W, II, 341; cp. Könneker (n. 12), 200, n. 61: “Amerika […] fehlt […] offensichtlich deshalb, weil der Autor auch hier in größter Eile ältere Quellen ausgeschrieben oder sich aus Mangel an Interesse nicht die Mühe gemacht hat, das in seiner Vorlage Überlieferte auf den neuesten Stand zu bringen.”

55 E. g., Baron, 90; F 331–332.

56 Hans Henning, “Das Faust-Buch von 1587: Seine Entstehung, seine Quellen, seine Wirkung,” Weimarer Beiträge, VI (1960), 36.

57 See Dillenberger (n. 37).

58 Baron, 90.

59 Briesemeister (n. 20), 100.

60 Karl Schorbach, Entstehung, Überlieferung und Quellen des deutschen Volksbuches Lucidarius (Straßburg, 1894), 88–90, 150–152, https://archive.org/details/bub_gb_aiJBAAAAYAAJ. In 1568, the title contains the words: “wie die Erd in vier [statt drei] Theil getheilet.”

61 N 47–58; for the Catholic view, see also Hanke (n. 47) and for Sebastian Brant’s misgivings, n. 16 above.

62 N 50; on the Humanists, see Wuttke (n. 16), 40–44.

63 Hutten (n. 7), 74–75.

64 Federmann (n. 34), 32.

65 Federmann, 51.

66 Federmann, 86. See also N 154: Neuber sees no references to or indications of God’s active intervention.

67 Schmidel, Reise in die La Plata-Gegend (1534–1554), ed. Franz Obermeier (Kiel, 2008), XVII.

68 Schmidel (n. 36), 102.

69 Schmidel (n. 36), 63.

70 Obermeier (Anm. 67), S. XVI.

71 Schmidel (n. 36), 7, 9, 12, 22, 23, 40, 63, 65, 67, 69, 70, 80, 82, 102, 103.

72 Wolfgang Neuber, “Die frühen deutschen Reiseberichte aus der Neuen Welt: Fiktionalitätsverdacht und Beglaubigungsstrategien,” Der europäische Beobachter außereuropäischer Kulturen, eds. Hans-Joachim König et al. (Berlin, 1989), 61.

73 Obermeier (n. 6), XXVIII; Hans Staden, Brasilien: Die wahrhaftige Historie der wilden, nackten, grimmigen Menschenfresser-Leute, ed. Gustav Faber (Tübingen, 1982), 288. Staden quotations are from the facsimile edition (n. 6).

Acheter

Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search