“Learn thou of Faustus manly fortitude”: masculinity and the texts of doctor faustus

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University of Alabama Libraries

This thesis is an examination of masculinity in Doctor Faustus that pays special attention to editorial theory and the complicated textual history of Christopher Marlowe’s play, which exists in two substantially different forms—the A-text of 1604 and the B-text of 1616. After discussing the textual history of the play, this thesis examines some prescriptive literature from the period that argues that a true man should have restraint in his dealings with other men. By reading the two texts of Faustus against this prescriptive literature, I argue that the B-text Faustus constructs his masculinity with much less restraint than the A-text Faustus, as the B-text Faustus utterly humiliates and emasculates the men around him in a way that the A-text Faustus does not. In creating this reading of the distinction between the masculinity constructed by the two Faustuses, I argue that the two texts of Doctor Faustus should no longer be conflated by either critical or editorial practice in order to create more avenues for critical exploration.

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English literature