Myths of Modern Individualism: Faust, Don Quixote, Don Juan, Robinson Crusoe by Ian WattMyths of Modern Individualism: Faust, Don Quixote, Don Juan, Robinson Crusoe by Ian Watt

Myths of Modern Individualism: Faust, Don Quixote, Don Juan, Robinson Crusoe

byIan Watt

Paperback | February 13, 1997

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In Myths of Modern Individualism, the renowned critic Ian Watt treats Don Juan, Don Quixote, Faust, and Robinson Crusoe as "individualists," pursuing their own views of what they should be. The original Counter Reformation myths saw the individualism of Don Juan, Don Quixote, and Faust as a problem to be quelled by death or mockery. However, the Romantic period, a time more favorably disposed toward myth, saw their dissension not as unacceptable disorder, but rather as admirable and heroic behavior. This incisive study traces attitudes toward these figures and the Romantic product Robinson Crusoe from disapproval to awe to skepticism, examining them as icons of such problems as solitude, narcissism, and the claims of the self versus the claims of the community. Pointedly, none of these figures marries or has a lasting relationship, save for the selfless devotion of a single male servant. Watt argues that the myths of Don Juan, Don Quixote, Faust, and Robinson Crusoe remain the distinctive products of Western society, embodying the most basic values of modern culture.
Title:Myths of Modern Individualism: Faust, Don Quixote, Don Juan, Robinson CrusoeFormat:PaperbackDimensions:312 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.71 inPublished:February 13, 1997Publisher:Cambridge University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0521585643

ISBN - 13:9780521585644

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Table of Contents

Introduction; Part I. Three Renaissance Myths: 1. From George Faust to Faustbuch; 2. The tragicall history of the life and death of Doctor Faustus; 3. Don Quixote of La Mancha; 4. El burlador and Don Juan; 5. Renaissance individualism and the Counter-Reformation; Part II. From Puritan Ethic To Romantic Apotheosis: 6. Robinson Crusoe; 7. Crusoe, ideology, and theory; 8. Romantic apotheosis of Renaissance myths; 9. Myth and individualism; Part III. Coda: Thoughts On The Twentieth Century: I. Thomas Mann's Doctor Faustus; II. Michel Tournier's Friday; III. Some notes on the present; Appendix.

From Our Editors

By comparing the four major mythic figures of the modern worldFaust, Don Juan, Don Quixote, and Robinson CrusoeIan Watt traces the origins of their legends and stories along with their resonance and influence on modern literature and society

Editorial Reviews

"...one could hardly find a more trustworthy guide to their literary history than Watt. He develops all the crucial information about the origins of his four myths, he surveys the literary, religious, political, and socail influences exerted on their first or classic expressions, and he assesses the literary value, not merely the historical importance, of these expressions. His fairness is exemplary, and more than exemplary; he bends over backwards to be fair. One of the jobs that Watt does best is to remind us of certain things that literary historians ofetn fail to mention.... He does attempt to trace the origin and development of a fascinating tendency on modern literature; and he does that admirably." Stephen Cox, Reason Paers