• Full title:   The remarkable life of Dr. Faustus, a German astrologer and enchanter
  • Published:   1838 , Derby, Derbyshire
  • Formats:  Book
  • Creator:   Unknown
  • Usage terms Public Domain
  • Held by  British Library
  • Shelfmark:   8631.b.42.(4~.)


Mysticism and fortune-telling were popular subjects for the publishing industry in the early 1800s.

The ancient German legend of Dr Faust – the scholar who sells his soul to the devil in return for unlimited earthly knowledge – was popularised in England by Christopher Marlowe (1564–1593). Its occult topic and lurid nature made it a frequent subject for early 19th-century ‘chapbooks’: cheaply produced booklets often sold on the streets.

This 24-page version of the Faust story was published in 1838 by Thomas Richardson of Derby, a prolific producer of cheap reading matter. It came complete with a colour illustration of Lucifer confronting Faust to collect his side of the bargain. The list of attention-grabbing keywords on the title page (‘remarkable life ... raise the devil ... magical powers ... horrible death’) shows that marketing aggression is not solely a modern phenomenon.