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Tragical History of Dr. Faustus [Audio Cassette]

Christopher Marlowe , Kenneth Welsh , Eric Peterson
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 2001 Great Plays of the Millennium
The most famous of all 'deals with the Devil', "The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus" tells the tale of the original Faustian bargain. This perplexing, challenging and mordantly funny work is both a morality play about one man's fall from spiritual grace, as well as a telling satire of the vanity of all humankind. This new production is set in a netherworld that evokes the traditions of radio drama's golden age.

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Review

Professor James Lake has done all Marlowe scholars and teachers of Elizabethan and Jacobean drama a great service in once again making available Irving Ribner’s magnificent edition of Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus. Ribner’s edition was the finest of its era (the 1960s) and will find an eager audience in professors who prefer to use individual paperback editions of the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries rather than huge, unwieldy anthologies.

Lake’s new introduction traces the history of the Faust legend, places Marlowe’s play in its Renaissance context, and provides a brilliant survey of the fate of Marlowe’s Faustus in production on stage, film, and opera. His range of reference is astounding and extends from Simon Magus to St. Theophilis to Goethe to Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau to Orson Welles to Charlie Daniels (“The Devil Went Down to Georgia”) and even to a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon. His introduction instructs even as it delights.

Professor Samuel Crowl, Ohio University

Marlowe's Dr. Faustus is a text used in a variety

of college and university courses including great

books courses, basic introductory courses in the

history of drama, survey courses in the literature of

the English renaissance, upper-division courses in

Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, senior seminars in the

works of Shakespeare and his contemporaries or in the

history of the Faust legend. Irving Ribner's edition

of Marlowe was the finest of its generation and it

will be most attractive to professors of broad survey

courses in Western Liiterature and major courses in

16th Century drama to have his one-volume edition of

Marlowe's Dr. Faustus once again in print.

LAKE'S REISSUE

Professor James Lake has done all Marlowe

scholars and teachers of Elizabethan and Jacobean

drama a great service in once again making available

Irving Ribner's magnificent edition of Marlowe's Dr.

Faustus. Ribner's edition was the finest of its era

(the 1960s) and will find an eager audience in

professors who prefer to use individual paperback

editions of the plays of Shakespeare and his

contemporaries rather than huge, unwieldy anthologies.

Lake's new introduction traces the history of the

Faust legend, places Marlowe's play in its renaissance

context, and provides a brilliant survey of the fate

of Marlowe's Fautsus in production on stage, film, and

opera. His range of reference is astounding and

extends from Simon Magus to St. Theophilis to Goethe

to Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau to Orson Welles to Charlie

Daniels ("The Devil Went Down to Georgia")and even to

a Calvin and Hobbbes cartoon. His introduction

instructs even as it delights.

Samuel Crowl

Ohio University

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

This is a full cast production with sound effects and original music produced at the Canadian Broadcasting Centre.

Length is approximately 2 hours.


Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No work of the devil, this... Feb. 9 2006
By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
'Was this the face that launched a thousand ships...' There are so many great lines in this play! The greatness of Marlowe was recognised in his own time (a gentle modern reminder of this came in the film 'Shakespeare in Love', when almost every actor auditioning chose a bit from Marlowe, and all of those defaulted to this play).
It is somewhat ironic that if Shakespeare and Marlowe were writing today, they should most like be charged with plagiarism and copyright infringement; 'The Tragedy of Doctor Faustus' is likewise not an entirely original construct of Marlowe's, but rather derives from an anonymously penned German poem translated into English shortly before Marlowe recast it for his play. The German poet Goethe was influenced by the same anonymous source, and perhaps knew of Marlowe's play during his writing.
Dr. Faustus may have been based on a brilliant professor in Germany a generation or two prior to Marlowe. In any event, the idea of the seduction of the power of knowledge was (and continues to be) inspiring. The idea of selling one's soul to get the object of one's desire is also not a unique concept. Knowledge in the ancient world often always involved the spiritual realm, which had both its light and dark sides (one has but to think of the Star Wars saga to see how such concepts remain firmly rooted in our own time). Faustus becomes a conjurer, and strikes a deal with Lucifer to maintain power and knowledge in return for his soul after 24 years.
Despite the temptations to repent, Faustus in Marlowe's text never manages to break free of the temptations. 'My heart's so hardened I cannot repent. / Scare can I name salvation, faith, or heaven, / But fearful echoes thunder in mine ears: / "Faustus, thou art damned.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My soul for profit, delight, and power. Dec 28 2003
Format:Paperback
At age 29 Christopher Marlowe was apparently stabbed and killed in an argument over a tavern bill. In his short life he left a remarkable legacy of four great plays and exerted considerable influence on another young playwright, William Shakespeare.
The Tragicall History of Dr. Faustus, or simply Dr. Faustus, is the story of a brilliant scholar whose thirst for knowledge and power leads him to trade his soul to Lucifer.
As we first encounter Faustus, he is systematically dismissing further study of Aristotlean logic, Galen's teachings on medicine, Justinian's works on law, and the study of divinity; Faustus is already the acknowledged master of these subjects. Only the study of necromancy can offer him greater profit, delight, and power.
Faustus through incantations summons Mephistophilis, servant of Lucifer, to negotiate a trade for his soul. Mephistophilis urges Faustus to reconsider, but Faustus is adamant: "Had I had as many souls as there be stars, I'd give them all for Mephistophilis."
Faustus recklessly forges his agreement with Lucifer, his body and soul to be forfeit after 24 years of service from Mephistophilis.
Again and again Faustus calls upon Mephistophilis for delights and power and hidden knowledge. Mephistophilis obliges, and Faustus increasingly distances himself from God. Occasionally Faustus has misgivings and considers repentance, but fails to act, due partly to persuasion and threats from Mephistophilis - if thou repents, devils shall tear thee in pieces.
The intensity builds as Faustus repeatedly rejects God's offer of mercy and forgiveness, and we are never quite certain whether he will repent or not.
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4.0 out of 5 stars "His waxen wings did mount above his reach" Oct. 6 2002
Format:Paperback
"Dr. Faustus," the play by 16th century writer Christopher Marlowe, has been published as part of the Dover Thrift Edition series. The brief introduction to this version notes that the play was first published in 1604, and also discusses its relationship to a German text from 1587 known as the "Faustbuch." In his play Marlowe tells the story of the title character, a scholar who is "swollen with cunning." Faust dabbles in the dark arts of "magicians / And necromantic books," and literally makes a deal with the devil. These actions drive the tragedy forward.
This play is a curious mixture of Christian theology, tragedy, slapstick comedy, and colorful pageantry. It moves along fast, and contains some really beautiful and stately language.
"Dr. Faustus" is ultimately a cautionary tale about human pride and ambition. I must admit that in the end I find it less satisfying than some of the other great tragedies of the Elizabethan era, perhaps because this play relies less on universal human issues than on a culturally-bound theological contrivance. Still, it's a noteworthy play that, I believe, still holds relevance for contemporary audiences. ...
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5.0 out of 5 stars The English Faust Oct. 9 2000
Format:Paperback
Not everybody knows Faust(us). But a lot do. Most readers know this tragic personnage who allied himself with the devil and finally paid the price for his betrayal of God from a famous play written by J.W. Goethe. It was him who wrote the most famous version of Faust's history. (If you want to know more about Goethe's work, please visit my reviewer page.) But he wasn't the only dramatist who considered this lost magician worth a tragedy. Exactly 2 centuries and 1 year before Goethe published his work, a play by the Englishman Christopher Marlowe saw the light of the world.
Marlowe and Goethe are different personalities living in completely different times so that it's no wonder their plays vary in character. Goethe lived in prosperity and had all his life to think about subjects like human nature, social relationships, history and its influence on the present, love, religion and much more. He was a philosoph, and that's the reason why Goethe's "Faust" is sometimes difficult to understand because you have to dive under the surface of things to understand their true nature. Marlowe's work is different: This man was certainly very intelligent and knew a lot about the forces that moved the world, but, unlike Goethe, he didn't have a lifetime to think about one single play. You can imagine that Marlowe's "Faust" became more shallow, but still not shallow enough to be ignored by this imaginary institution we call World Literature. As a compensation, Marlowe's work contains more life and action in it, something I can't say about Goethe's. Both men were geniuses. In this review, I'd like to pay my tribute to the Englishman.
As stated above, the play tells the story of a medieval scientist who allies himself with the devil.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Genius!
Marlowe's Dr. Faustus is absolutely awesome. Sure, the language is kind of wonky (Shakespearean, almost - they were contemporaries, I believe? Read more
Published on Jan. 31 2010 by Emily Mackinnon
4.0 out of 5 stars A different approach to the work
My interest in Marlowe's Doctor Faustus is far different than most. Whereas the majority of readers are interested in the play for its basic themes of religion and the juxtaposing... Read more
Published on July 3 2004 by Jonathan Appleseed
5.0 out of 5 stars NOT a rendition of Faust
This book is NOT a rendition of Goethe's Faust, as one reviewer mentioned. Marlowe wrote the original version (Doctor Faustus), and Goethe rewrote it with his own ideas of... Read more
Published on Dec 29 2003 by "teron746"
5.0 out of 5 stars The devil at play
Well, the other reviews seem to talk about German legend, Goethe, spying, and being stabbed in a pub, so I'll skip all that. Read more
Published on May 9 2003 by Katie
4.0 out of 5 stars Faustus...devilishly good
I've been studying this play for English, that's why I read it. I originally thought it would be boring, but I was totally wrong! Read more
Published on April 10 2002 by Tallulah
5.0 out of 5 stars A nice adaptation...
This seems to be a good point to enter the Faust myth for those interested. Marlowe retells Johann Spies' tale with theatrical flourish.
Published on Oct. 3 2001 by "rkevins82"
4.0 out of 5 stars Ubi desinit Philosophus, ibi incipit Medicus
Well i just started reading the "damn" book and I can understand why some people would not like it. I belive Mr. Read more
Published on May 14 2001 by joshua pita
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Retelling of the Faust Legend
In the Faust legend, a man by the name of Faust or Faustus sells his soul to the devil for twenty-four years of worldly power. Read more
Published on Sept. 30 2000
4.0 out of 5 stars Horror with a vengeance
I once read that "Dr Faustus" by Christopher Marlowe was a prime example of pre-Gothic horror, and I can put my name to that. Read more
Published on June 21 2000 by Christina Nordlander
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