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Tragical History of Dr. Faustus Audio Cassette – Nov 2001

4.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Audio Cassette, Nov 2001
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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC Audio) (November 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0660185261
  • ISBN-13: 978-0660185262
  • Product Dimensions: 17.7 x 11.8 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 127 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,728,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“This edition is absolutely essential for any serious student or teacher of this perpetually intriguing and vexing play.” ― Peter G. Platt in Studies in English Literature 1500-1900, 48.2 (Spring 2008)

“Michael Keefer’s revised edition of Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus is now all the more an indispensable text for students, teachers, and scholars of early modern English drama. It combines immense learning with perfect clarity and accessibility. It gives us a solidly reconceived text and also a brilliant historical introduction that fills each line of this strange and moving play with the sounds of a world in intellectual and religious crisis.” ― Paul Yachnin, McGill 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.

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By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on Feb. 9 2006
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This Kindle version of Marlowe's Faustus put out by Start Publishing is from the quarto of 1604 (the shorter version). This version has no notes and no translations of the short bits of Latin in the text (which, since they are short, can be looked up easily enough). I found the lack of notes also not to be a problem since there aren't many obscure or archaic references (though I suppose this may depend on your background). The spacing of the text on the page looks rather odd (it's all double spaced for some reason).
Marlowe's writing is quite engaging and quite powerful at times. His version of the Faust(us) story is still quite accessible ' the Elizabethan English he used being clear and forthright.
The themes that Marlowe develops ' Faustus' resentment of the limits that his recognition in the world has reached (despite his attainment of the title of Doctor and the respect he has earned in Wertenberg, where he resides) and the limits of what he is able to do with all his learning. Other, more powerful men still move the events of the world, not him, despite all his learning. He wants more and this desire leads him astray. To have power above what all other men in the world have, powers formerly only possessed by the gods, not fit for the inconstant minds of mortal man.
Faustus is lost, not just because of the deal he has made with Lucifer, but because he refuses to believe that he can still be saved even after he has signed in blood to give his soul to Lucifer after four and twenty years. His lack of belief in forgiveness and his inability or unwillingness to repent or ask forgiveness (despite several times briefly considering it and being importuned by the Good Angel), is an essential part of his downfall.
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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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