The Mermaid Series. Edited by Havelock Ellis. With an introduction by J.A. Symonds.

  • Marlowe, Christopher
  • London: T. Fisher Unwin 1950


SKU: 2699 Category: Tags: , ,


12mo, pp. xlviii, 430, [2] + photographic frontispiece. Original grey paper boards, printed label to front board and spine. Rebacked preserving original backstrip, spine label browned. Pencil presentation inscription on front endpapers to Laurence Olivier, from Alan Dent (signed ‘A.D.’), ‘on the trifling condition that he plays Tamburlaine, Faustus, Barrabas, and Piers Gaveston’; several notes on rear endpapers and occasional marks in margin of text in Olivier’s hand.


The volume contains four Marlowe plays: Tamburlaine the Great, The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, The Jew of Malta, and Edward the Second. The Scottish writer Alan Dent (1905-1978) was advisor to Laurence Olivier during the making of his Shakespeare films as well as a close friend of Vivien Leigh. Olivier naturally appears to have ignored Dent's joking presentation, but he has annotated the text of Faustus in a few places, mostly with reference to performance by 'Ralph' (i.e. Ralph Richardson) - either in response to seeing such a performance or imagining one he might direct ('Ralph (exquisite here)'; 'upper reaches of Ralph's voice').

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