If you are a student of English literature, you have read Marlowe’s Tragical History of Doctor Faustus. You might have been puzzled by the sudden shifts in tone from slapstick comedy to dire tragedy; and you might have read a lot of nonsense in explanation of those shifts in the introduction to whatever edition of the play you picked up in a university bookstore—presuming, of course, that you read the thing in that long-gone and nearly forgotten era when university bookstores sold books.

What was missing from your study of the play was an examination of its source. The English prose romance of Doctor Faustus, loosely translated from a German original, was very popular in the late 1500s under the title The History of the Damnable Life and Deserved Death of Dr. John Faustus. And if you do read it (it is very entertaining, by the way), you will at once see that Marlowe’s play had to be what it was, because he had to give the audience what they expected. If they showed up for Doctor Faustus and did not see him invisibly beating up the Pope, there would be a riot.

Unfortunately, the prose romance of Doctor Faustus has not been in print for a century and a half, so it was until now nearly impossible for professors of English literature to assign it to their students.

We say “until now,” because Dr. Boli, in the spirit of self-interested mercenary calculation that makes capitalism the best economic system ever devised by the absent mind of man, has brought the book back into print for you in an affordable and very legible paperback edition. It includes a learned introduction by William J. Thoms from his 1858 edition, in which he printed it as part of his large and expensive multi-volume anthology of Early English Prose Romances; but it has been completely reset in new type, each letter designed by Dr. Boli himself.

Naturally, universities will want to order copies in large quantities for the literature classes that are now bound to be studying this book intently. But as a special favor to his own readers, Dr. Boli is making an ebook version available free for instant download right here.

The English Prose Romance of Doctor Faustus
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EPUB file for every other ebook reader in the world