Publication details

"The form of Faustus' fortunes, good or bad" : Doctor Faustus and the Multi-Genre Theatre of the Long English Restoration



Year of publication 2021
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Literary history tends to associate English Restoration theatre (1660–1737) mainly with sex comedies, butchered versions of Shakespeare and his contemporaries and the advent of sentimentalism at the beginning of the 18th century. Recent studies and volumes, however, give us a different image of Restoration performance culture – one of genre and thematic diversity, experimentation with forms, numerous fashionable waves, and a vibrant mixture of serious and popular entertainments, often taking place on one stage on one afternoon. To demonstrate the multi-genre character of Restoration theatre – and how a single popular story could accommodate to the ever-changing tastes of London audiences of the period – the presentation will introduce four versions of the acclaimed Renaissance play by Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus, staged in London theatres between the 1660s and 1720s. The paper will show how the story – and, more importantly, its basic form – was being continually transformed to both suit the new artistic demands, as well as to absorb new dramatic influences (coming chiefly) from the Continent. At the same time, the presentation will argue that, despite the general dislike for tragedies or religious drama, the story of Doctor Faustus still resonated enough in post-1660 England to become a suitable vehicle to showcase the developments in the performance culture of the period, even if the staged plays had little to do with the medieval morality or even Marlowe’s late 16th-century play.
Related projects:

You are running an old browser version. We recommend updating your browser to its latest version.

More info