Dr. Faustus (Dover Thrift Editions)

One of the most durable myths in Western culture, the story of Faust tells of a learned German doctor who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for knowledge and power. Early enactments of Faust’s damnation were often the raffish fare of clowns and low comedians. But the young Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe (1564–1593) recognized in the story of Faust’s temptation and fall the elements of tragedy.
In his epic treatment of the Faust legend, Marlowe retains much of the rich phantasmagoria of its origins. There are florid visions of an enraged Lucifer, dueling angels, the Seven Deadly Sins, Faustus tormenting the Pope, and his summoning of the spirit of Alexander the Great. But the playwright created equally powerful scenes that invest the work with tragic dignity, among them the doomed man’s calling upon Christ to save him and his ultimate rejection of salvation for the embrace of Helen of Troy.
With immense poetic skill, and psychological insight that foreshadowed the later work of Shakespeare and the Jacobean playwrights, Marlowe created in Dr. Faustus one of the first true tragedies in English. Vividly dramatic, rich in poetic grandeur, this classic play remains a robust and lively exemplar of the glories of Elizabethan drama.

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  1. John P. Jones III

    The classic bargain… …with the devil.Thanks to a fellow Amazon reviewer, I was privileged to see the operatic version of this classic tale under the summer night skies of Santa Fe. I knew the essence of the story prior to viewing the opera, but had never actually read one of the versions. The tale is based on Germanic folklore, and is set in that country, even though Christopher Marlowe is English. His was the first formal written version of the tale. Subsequent versions would be produced by Goethe and…

  2. B. Marold

    Top Notch volume from Norton. One complaint I purchased this book in order to be able to follow a Globe Theater production of Marlowe’s play, and I paid special attention to the fact that this volume had both the longer and the shorter versions of Marlowe’s texts, so I would be sure to have one which matched the filmed play.As it turned out, the filmed play was a bit different from both versions in this volume, and it was not immediately clear why that was. I was hoping that the two versions of the play would have been…

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