Faustus and the Promises of the New Science, c. 1580-1730

Faustus and the Promises of the New Science, c. 1580-1730

by Christa Knellwolf
     
 

ISBN-10: 0754661334

ISBN-13: 9780754661337

Pub. Date: 12/01/2009

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

Having identified the literary origins of the Faustus legend in the German Faust Book (1587) and its English translation (1592), this book argues that these works transformed a simple rogue's tale into an incisive study of morality and beliefs. The chapbooks' contrastive portrayal of an imaginary experience of hell and a pseudo-scientific journey through the cosmos

Overview

Having identified the literary origins of the Faustus legend in the German Faust Book (1587) and its English translation (1592), this book argues that these works transformed a simple rogue's tale into an incisive study of morality and beliefs. The chapbooks' contrastive portrayal of an imaginary experience of hell and a pseudo-scientific journey through the cosmos is interpreted as an unconventional approach to the questions of an inquiring mind. This study offers the first analysis of the chapbooks as literary works in their own right, as opposed to simply being sources for Christopher Marlowe's play. It is also the first study to describe the Faustus typology as a vehicle by which uncompromising thinkers of early modernity and the Enlightenment questioned contemporary views about religion, morality and the possibility of experiencing transcendence. While arguing that Marlowe's Doctor Faustus primarily examines the imaginary foundations of religious rules and standards, the author suggests that the 1616 version of the play revived the chapbooks' accounts of spiritual ravishment and intellectual ecstasy. Imaginary explorations of cosmic space became popular in the seventeenth century and gave rise to strongly diverging works of literature, embracing the arcane spirituality of Milton's Paradise Lost as well as Fontenelle's sociable but essentially secular fantasy of cosmic travel. This book shows that contemporary responses to early modern science also tended to address the most urgent concerns of the Faustus legend, explaining the re-emergence of the typology in Mountfort's late seventeenth-century farcical Faustus play and early eighteenth-century harlequinades about Doctor Faustus

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780754661337
Publisher:
Taylor & Francis
Publication date:
12/01/2009
Edition description:
1
Pages:
216
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: radical explorations of Faustus; The insatiable speculator: the hero of the Faust books; The devil of empiricism: Marlowe's Doctor Faustus; The alternative worlds of the new science: Burton, Milton and Fontenelle; Comedies, farces and Harlequin Doctor Faustus; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.

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