> Skip to content
About the book
  • Published: 9 June 2011
  • ISBN: 9780451531612
  • Imprint: Signet
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $9.99

Doctor Faustus


Formats & editions


In this brilliant dramatization of the Faust story, a scholar sells his soul to the devil in exchange for limitless knowledge and powerful black magic, yet he remains unfulfilled, serving as a warning to those who would sacrifice everything sacred for mere earthly gain.

But Marlowe's play is also a symbolic analysis of the shift from the late-medieval world, which valued most the theologian's contemplation, to the early-modern world, which favoured the rational analyses of statement and scientists.  Caught between these ideals, Faustus is both a tragic fool destroyed by his own ambition and a hero at the forefront of a changing society.  In Doctor Faustus, Marlowe thoughtfully examines faith and enlightenment, nature and science-and the terrible costs of the objects of our desire.

This new edition of Marlowe's classic includes an introduction, a history of the play onstage, and an updated bibliography by the editor, Sylvan Barbet of Tufts University.  Also included are generous selections from the historical source of Doctor Faustus and illuminating commentaries by Richard B. Sewall, G. K. Hunter, David Bevington and Eric Rasmussen, and John Russell brown, as well as a new critical essay by Kevin Dunn.

EDITED AND WITH A INTRODUCTION BY SYLVAN BARNET

  • Pub date: 9 June 2011
  • ISBN: 9780451531612
  • Imprint: Signet
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $9.99

About the Author

Christopher Marlowe

Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) was born in Canterbury in 1564, the same year as Shakespeare's birth. Like Shakespeare, he was of a prosperous middle-class family, but unlike Shakespeare he went to a university, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where he received the bachelor's degree in 1584 and the master's degree in 1587. The terms of his scholarship implied that he was preparing for the clergy but he did not become a clergyman.

Shortly before he received his M.A. the University seems to have wished to withhold it, apparently suspecting him of conversion to Roman Catholicism, but the Queen's Privy Council intervened on his behalf, stating that he 'had done her majesty good service' and had been employed 'in matters touching the benefit of the country.' His precise service is unknown.

After Cambridge, Marlowe went to London, where he apparently lived a turbulent life (he had two brushes with the law and was said to be disreputable) while pursuing a career as a dramatist. He wrote seven plays - the dates of which are uncertain - before he was yet again in legal difficulties: he was arrested in 1593, accused of atheism. He was not imprisoned, and before his case could be decided he was dead, having been stabbed in a tavern while quarreling over the bill.

Also by Christopher Marlowe

See all

Related titles