Category Archives: Marlowe (Christopher)

Robin Williams Made Poetry Cool

Robin Williams gave us one of cinema’s greatest depictions of a literature teacher.

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Manziel: Whom the Gods Would Destroy…

Johnny Manziel has “Greek tragic hero” written all over him.

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How Teachers Can Make Lit Real

The “so what” question is vital if students are to make their responses to literature real.

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Sin = Separation from Creation

Seeing sin more as human separateness from creation than as disobeying God may be a more powerful way to teach the concept to today’s students.

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Faustus’s Soul and a Grieving Student

This past year I have learned, in a new and powerful way, that the Faustus legend is a powerful exploration of the meaning of life and death. This is thanks to Caitie Harrigan, a senior at St. Mary’s who has been writing her senior project on the legend. As Caitie told me recently, she never […]

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Death, Faustus, and a Search for Meaning

The Faustus story can aid one in an existential search for meaning.

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Is Mitt Romney a Doctor Faustus?

If Mitt Romney sells his soul for the nomination, can he get it back? Christopher Marlowe would say that it doesn’t look good.

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Classic Lit and Transformative Epiphanies

A student wrote, “By forcing myself to examine my ideas and Dr. Faustus more carefully and within the lens of my experience, I had several epiphanies that I feel were transformative both to my essay as well as to my understanding of my experience with depression.”

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Doctor Faustus and Depression, Ctd.

Here’s an account of how a student of mine turned to images of devils and hell such as are found in Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus when she was suddenly fell victim to depression at nine years of age.

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Doctor Faustus, Case Study of a Depressive

Today I share the story of a student making the case that Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus is a case study of a depressive.

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Poetry Often Prefers Losers

Young McIlroy, bidding to become the youngest golfer to win the Master’s since, yes, Tiger, found himself cast in the role of Icarus. Flying close to the bright sun of fame, the wax in his wings melted and he plummeted to earth in a debacle that scorched the eyes to watch.

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Hell, an Inner Emptiness that Can’t Be Filled

“I think Hell is a fable,” Doctor Faustus tells Mephastophilis at one point in Marlowe’s 1593 tragedy. While many Elizabethans would have disagreed—the play terrified them precisely because they believed in a literal hell—we’re more sympathetic with the notion now. To most of us, fire and brimstone and devils with pitchforks are the stuff of […]

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Soul-Selling for Dummies

    How do I sell my soul? Let me count the ways. I wrote in Sunday’s entry how the ego and the soul are pitted against each other in an unending battle. Just think how much better off we’d all be if humans listened to their higher selves and ego took a back seat. […]

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The Hell of Ego, the Heaven of Love

Spiritual Sunday A reader’s response to Friday’s post on the Faustus story has me thinking more about Marlowe’s marvelous play. Marlowe informs us that we don’t need to die to go to hell. If we refuse to listen to the voice of our soul, we can find hell right here on earth. If there were […]

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Films that Mishandle the Faustus Story

Film Friday The baseball playoffs, which concluded with a San Francisco win over the Texas Rangers this past week, have had me thinking about the Faustus story and how many modern renditions of the story get it wrong. If this seems like a leap, let me explain. The Texas Rangers used to be the Washington […]

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The Faustian Bargain of Juan Williams

I was upset to hear about Juan Williams and National Public Radio parting company the other day because of comments that Williams made on Fox Network’s Bill O’Reilly Show. The affair got me thinking about Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus for reasons I’ll explain in a moment. We say all kinds of stupid things in the […]

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Trusting that Good Can Come from Ill

Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus What have I learned about literature and pain this past week? First, that writers have taken up the topic, just as they take up every aspect of human existence. They imagine what it is like to feel pain and, through poetic images and fictional stories, convey that experience to readers. By entering […]

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