WHATEVER became of Faust? His pact with the Devil is well remembered, not to mention his unfortunate affair with Gretchen. Less familiar is the fact that he was rehabilitated, at least in Goethe's version. He ended up in charge of a kind of symbolic public-works program, draining swamps and reclaiming land from the sea, thus creating new territory where millions might live "not in security, but active and free." To Goethe, the serene humanist poet, it seemed like the perfect task for a character snatched back from the brink of damnation.

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