Saturday, December 18, 2010

In German: Pact with the Devil vs. the Faustian

For the first time in my life, I realized that the term "Faustian bargain" is not really idiomatic in German. In German, they talk about the "pact," or the "wager," not the "bargain." So I did a search on google books for the phrases "Pakt mit dem Teufel" [pact with the devil] and "das Faustische" [the Faustian]. Note the spike after the Second World War.


  1. This is VERY interesting! The fact that the other search (for faustian bargain) didn't yield much until after the 1960s could also be a reflection of the progression of German literature into English common discussion.

  2. Actually, Rachel, it looks like Goethe's Faust used to be a much more important topic of conversation in English, long before the 1960s. See my most recent post ...


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