In what has often been read as a comic display of frivolity, the protagonist of christopher marlowe's doctor faustus (c. 1589-92) produces a dish of grapes to satisfy the craving of a pregnant duchess. The duchess, a German, had implied that such a delicacy would be available to her in the summertime but was quite out of reach in the current month, January—“the dead time of the winter” (4.2.11). Whereas modern-day global capitalism makes fresh fruits and vegetables available year-round in northern supermarkets, the gratification of a wintertime desire for them in the late sixteenth century required magic or stagecraft. Asked how he managed to procure the grapes out of season, Faustus explains, “[T]he year is divided into two circles over the whole world, that when it is here winter with us, in the contrary circle it is summer with them, as in India, Saba, and farther countries in the East; and by means of a swift spirit that I have, I had brought them hither, as ye see” (4.2.22-27). Thus, instead of simply conjuring the grapes out of thin air, Faustus employs a spirit courier who swiftly retrieves the grapes and transports them across the globe, from the warm climates of the Eastern Hemisphere to the German court of Vanholt. If Faustus's spirit transgresses the laws of nature, it also relies on a kind of scientific knowledge and technology to ascertain where grapes naturally grow in January. Additionally, the seizure of the grapes from “India, Saba, and farther countries in the East” implies a right of access that is attained (or circumvented) by Faustus's magic. In short, the magic for which Faustus has sold his soul to the devil is, in this instance, that of effortless global commerce—or, rather, the ability to attain a foreign commodity while bypassing the means of production and contingencies of exchange.