My preferred version is the New Mermaids edition of The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster. Elisabeth M. Brennan edits this edition (ISBN: 0393900665.) I mention this, as it does not seem to be readily available. However this version will do.
I bought this after reading snippets of it in other books. I do not recall having to learn this in school. Only now do I intend to read "The White Devil" in anticipation of it being encountered in other works.
Well what do you know? This animal is based on a true story of the Duchess of Amalfi. Evidentially there were several books written on this and he picked one for the outline of the play.
The Elisabeth M. Brennan edition is almost as good as taking a class in its self. The introduction gives you a back ground and the basic story that the play was based on. You get some information on John Webster and some of his other plays. There is even a further Reading List. There are even notes on the text and how to read the notes for the different versions of the play its self. By the time you get to the play you are well prepared to read it.
The play its self has stanzas, line numbers and notes to help you through the difficulty of understanding what the words mean in context. It is almost like reading a bible. You soon pickup speed and then actually get intrigued in the writing and story.
Now I desperately want some local theater to present "The duchess of Malfi"