Purpose of Practice Exercise 2: To understand the philosophical view that is the rationale for Faust’s salvation.
Learning Objective: To critically read and summarize a scholarly article.
Being able to summarize an article will help you understand what the author’s main points are. In a summary you paraphrase the author’s ideas, that is, you express them in your own words. A summary can help you decide if you wish to refer to the author’s ideas in your research or essay writing.
How to Summarize
These steps are adapted from Summarization, by Sharren Patterson, and used with permission of the author.
Practice Exercise 2: Read the following scholarly article by Gabriel R. Ricci, “Goethe’s Faust: Poetry and Philosophy at the Crossroads,” Humanitas, Volume XX, Nos. 1 and 2, 2007.
Here is a sample summary of a section of the article, " I. Philosophical Poets."
I. Philosophical Poets
Gabriel R. Ricci, in “Goethe’s Faust: Poetry and Philosophy at the Crossroads,” concurs with George Santayana’s characterization of Goethe’s philosophical stance in Faust as “Teutonic romanticism” with a fresh approach that leads to Faust’s salvation in spite of the lives he destroys. Ricci claims that Faust’s idiosyncratic Gospel translation is key to his desire to act and apparent in his reclamation project at the play’s end.
Ricci, following Santayana’s suggestion, says that Goethe’s worldview throws out accepted knowledge but continues the search for meaning and truth nevertheless. Santayana, says Ricci, recognizes Faust’s attraction to the “infinite and the pure activity that he imagines after death (705)” (Ricci 154); but the desire to experience life in practical ways trumps the desire for the infinite. Concluding this section, Ricci states that Faust first rejects convention with his revolutionary translation of the Gospel line.
Write your own 500 – 750 word summary of one of the remaining sections of the article. Look for the author’s main idea in each paragraph and/or section, key points in the development of the argument, and the writer’s conclusion. You may post your summary on the course discussion forum if you would like peer feedback.