Some years ago, I began to suspect that I am not the most famous Faust. Troubled, I set out on a Google quest to resolve the matter. The resulting odyssey took me to strange lands (Texas) and ancient times (before MTV).
I had an inkling the Faust thing had to do with Satan; my searches began in Texas. I caught the trail at a haunted Hotel and microbrewery!—The Faust. The devil brew then led me up the Mississippi to Faust beer of St. Louis and on to Brauhaus Faust in Miltenburg. Here the trail ran dry.
I was stumped until my first grade daughter reported some Faustian playground taunts about trading ones soul to Satan for knowledge. (For knowledge? And I started in Texas?)
Pondering good and bad sources of knowlege obviously leads one straight to proof theory, where Faust appears in the form of the Faust automated theorem prover; not to be confused with the Faust signal processing language. After carefully studying the documentation for both (e.g., An Algebra for Block Diagram Languages,” Orlarey, Fober, Letz, Proceedings of International Computer Music Conference, ICMA, 2002), I concluded that these were unlikely to be the source of the playground taunts.
Further investigation suggests that where the Satan-knowledge nexus arises, there be serpents nearby. I Googled “Faust snakes” and hit pay dirt in the form of author Christa Faust. That chick knows a thing or two about the devil. Despite Hollywood's efforts, however, I think that Christa is but a piece of the fame of Faust. By the way, you kind of have to wonder how she might be linked to the well-known producer of body armor.
Having stumbled into literature, I found a veritable rat's nest of Faust. A play by a German guy kept coming up. It's kind of long, but I found the fast Faust version (Tufte would be pleased). I've read the most important words (by frequency) and found nothing suggesting it would account for the fame of Faust.
Finally, inspiration. I typed “Faust mythical legend” into Google, hit I'm Feeling Lucky, and all was revealed.Alap Momin writes of “THE Faust” [cite], and noted historian Julian Cope explains, “There is no group more mythical than Faust.” [cite] Clearly, I reached my goal, but what was the source of this great fame? A few more clicks revealed that the music of Faust is the sublime pinnacle of Krautrock. You've also got to love the design sense. Thus, from the deep mists of pre-MTV history emerges the most famous Faust.