Christopher Marlowe’s Faustian codes in Eighteenth-century Gothic literature
CollegeCollege of Arts and Sciences - Art
DepartmentDepartment of English
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This thesis explores Renaissance Faustian codes seen in the eighteenth-century Gothic novel using selected works of three writers of the Gothic Revival. I argue that by looking at William Beckford’s Vathek, Matthew G. Lewis’ The Monk and Charlotte Dacre’s Zofloya, Christopher Marlowe’s Faustus legend is revitalized in the most extreme stages of the Gothic. This will be done by analyzing congruencies between Faustian figures; bathetic scenes; the theme of self-damnation; as well as the Oriental backdrops of the novels and the ways in which they serve as ideal settings for the dissemination of xenophobic Renaissance ideas of racial superiority. Furthermore, this Faustian vogue in the early Gothic also set the stage for modern meditations for the Fall of Mankind that inspire subsequent adaptations of the myth both in contemporary literary and film adaptations. Ultimately, this thesis argues for a Marlovian influence that positions the Faustus figure of the Gothic as a near-demonic creature, predetermined for a Fall with no opportunity for redemption.