Michael Keefer’s early work helped to establish the current consensus that the 1604 text was censored and revised; the Keefer edition, praised for its lucid introduction and scholarship, was the first to restore two displaced scenes to their correct place. Most competing editions presume that the 1604 text was printed from authorial manuscript, and that the 1616 text is of little substantive value. But in 2006 Keefer’s fresh analysis of the evidence showed that the 1604 quarto’s Marlovian scenes were printed from a corrupted manuscript, and that the 1616 quarto (though indeed censored and revised) preserves some readings earlier than those of the 1604 text.
This edition has been updated and revised. Keefer’s critical introduction reconstructs the ideological contexts that shaped and deformed the play, and the text is accompanied by textual and explanatory notes and excerpts from sources.
This revival is presented by The Jamie Lloyd Company at the Duke of York’s Theatre, London from April 2016.
Doctor Faustus is a play about desire: for the best in life, for knowledge, power, material comfort, and influence. Faustus sells his soul to the devil hoping to learn the secrets of the universe, but is fobbed off with explanations which he knows to be inadequate. He is obsessed with fame, but his achievement as a devil-assisted celebrity magician is less substantial than it was previously as a scholar.
Marlowe's most famous play is a tragedy, but also extremely funny. It involves hideous representations of the Seven Deadly Sins, and of Helen of Troy, the world's most beautiful woman. With its fireworks and special effects, it was one of the most spectacular and popular on the Elizabethan stage. Yet, ever since Marlowe's death, it has been regularly rewritten. Its mix of fantastical story, slapstick, and raw human emotion still arouses conflicting interpretations, and presents us with endlessly fascinating problems.
This student edition is based on the earlier so-called A-text of the play, with the B-text scenes included in an appendix. It contains a lengthy Introduction with interpretation of the play in its historical and cultural context, stage history, discussion of the complex textual problems, and background on the author, date and sources.