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Add This - Faustus

Written by David MametAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by David Mamet

  • Format: Trade Paperback, 112 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • On Sale: July 13, 2004
  • Price: $12.00
  • ISBN: 978-1-4000-7648-2 (1-4000-7648-X)
Also available as an eBook.
about this book

The German legend of Doctor Faustus, who famously sold his soul to the devil in return for earthly power and riches, has inspired literary masterworks by an array of playwrights, poets, and novelists across the centuries—from Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus in the sixteeenth century to Goethe's Faust in the early nineteenth century to Thomas Mann's Doctor Faustus in the twentieth century. Now David Mamet, one of the most celebrated playwrights of our time, builds on this distinguished tradition in Faustus, a bold new imagining of a timeless classic.

Faustus has long been at work—a Sisyphean labor, performed in seclusion—on his masterpiece. His obsessive pursuit of knowledge has at last yielded a comprehensive theory of humanity. And yet is it mere sophistry? And has Faustus sacrificed his humanity in the process? Making a rare appearance from his study on the occasion of a party for his son, Faustus anxiously awaits the arrival of his friend Fabian and cannot be bothered to greet his son, who remains devoted as ever to his father. When Fabian arrives with the latest news, Faustus learns of the public's waning faith in his genius. Plagued by self-doubt, Faustus announces that he has completed his masterwork, which his friend finds inscrutable, but which Faustus defends as a map for the course of all civilization. And yet Faustus cannot foresee his own unraveling, nor the great gift above all others that his son's devotion represents. When a Magus appears, Faustus is seduced by his illusions away from the plaintive cries of his son and makes a bargain that will sacrifice everything he has. And when called upon to repent, despite all the knowledge that he has sought in his lifetime, he is ultimately undone by his tragic lack of self-knowledge—kneeling at the feet of a higher power, he convinces himself that he's been made a god.

“No modern playwright has been bolder or more brilliant.” —The New Yorker

“Pinter, Albee, Miller. They’re all looking over Mamet’s shoulder.” —New York