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Drama English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh

Doctor Faustus: The B Text

by (author) Christopher Marlowe

edited by Mathew R. Martin

Broadview Press
Initial publish date
Jun 2013
English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2013
    List Price

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Doctor Faustus is one of early modern English drama’s most fascinating characters, and Doctor Faustus one of its most problematic plays. Selling his soul to Lucifer in return for twenty-four years of power, wealth, knowledge, and sex, Doctor Faustus is at once an aspiring Renaissance magus and the hardened reprobate of Protestant theology. The introduction, annotations, and appendices of this edition, which is based on the 1616 B text, situate the play in the dynamic cultural changes of the early modern period.

The first appendix allows the reader to compare the 1616 B text to its earlier printed version, the A text, and also reproduces a variant scene from the 1663 edition of the play’s revision for the Restoration stage. Substantial excerpts from The History of the Damnable Life and Deserved Death of Doctor John Faustus, the play’s major source, offer insight into the process of adaptation by which prose fiction becomes spectacular theatre. Other appendices reproduce contemporary material on Renaissance magic, witchcraft, theology, Marlowe’s biography, and the development of his literary reputation.

About the authors

Contributor Notes

Mathew R. Martin is Professor of English at Brock University and the editor of the Broadview Editions of Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II and The Jew of Malta.

Editorial Reviews

“Mathew R. Martin already has an admirable track record as an editor of Marlowe’s plays; this edition of Doctor Faustus: The B Text will only enhance that reputation. The lucid Introduction is based on ample research, but Martin wears his scholarship so well that reading his prose is a pleasure. The decision to bring out an edition of the B Text is both timely and courageous. For twenty-four years, to use a Faustian interval, editors have tended to prefer the A Text (1604) to its cousin B (1616). Now the B Text has at last received the painstaking attention regularly given to A. That will not resolve the riddle of the relationship between the two, but at least it will put into the hands of Marlowe’s readers the particulars they need for balanced appraisal and comparison.” — Ronald Huebert, Dalhousie University

“Sensitively introduced, lucidly edited, and drawing upon a wide range of modern criticism, Mathew Martin’s edition of the B text of Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus is one that will amply repay the attention of scholars and students alike. In particular, the richly furnished contextual material offered here enables readers to engage more fully with some of the complex philosophical, theological, magical, and cultural tensions that Marlowe’s great drama explores so hauntingly.” — Adrian Streete, Queen’s University, Belfast

Other titles by Christopher Marlowe

Other titles by Mathew R. Martin