When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state . . . Sonnet 29
. . . my body being dead;
The coward conquest of a wretch's knife . . . Sonnet 74
"It is certain, to my mind, that the man Shakespeare was not the author of what we consider Shakespeare's works." Maxwell Perkins, in a letter to Ernest Hemingway, August 13, 1942. Perkins was Scribner's renowned editor for F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Thomas Wolfe.
Read about the new discovery of a 16th century document concerning Marlowe at Oxford Journals.
This text area is the helm of The Marlowe Studies meant to navigate your course at the beginning of your journey into the most complex and fascinating life of Christopher Marlowe. The helm's gold links will take you to passages in our library of books that give further detail on the topic being expressed. Some of the links will take you to photographs that illuminate Marlowe's life: Canterbury as he saw it, his home on the corner of St. George's Street and St. George's Lane, the Canterbury Cathedral and the stained glass windows he himself looked at while singing with the other choirboys as an adolescent, the King's School attached to the Cathedral where he went daily on his divinity scholarship, an Elizabethan schoolroom like Marlowe's and his entry at King's School in Canterbury, the tree on his patron Thomas Walsingham's Scadbury estate with the initials 'C.M.' carved into its moss-encrusted bark, the street where his uncle lived. The photos of Canterbury Cathedral's interior show us how strongly Marlowe's mind was influenced by England's history in his childhood. The photos of Ospringe, where Marlowe's cobbler father was born, take us back to Chaucer's Canterbury. The photos of Lampert Hall show us where several first editions of Hero and Leander and Venus and Adonis were discovered.
In his book Who Wrote Shakespeare? John Michell concludes, “Were it not for the record of his early death Christopher Marlowe would be the strongest of Shakespeare candidates.” The only problem is that Marlowe is thought to have died. And yet we find the author of Shake-speare’s Sonnets telling us repeatedly that he is dead to all the world and it is someone else whose name from hence immortal life shall have, someone else whose monument shall be my gentle verse, someone else who still shall live when all the breathers of this world are dead because of the virtue of my pen.
- In Much Ado About Something Mike Rubbo interviewed John Baker who explained a few of the reasons why it is doubtful William from Stratford wrote the Works attributed to him. The Shakespeare authorship remains an illegitimate question to ask in academia, and Keir Cutler has made two amusing videos around this topic. The first one reveals the lack of supporting evidence for the Stratford Shakespeare as writer of the Works: Is Shakespeare Dead? The second one is an appeal to academia to accept the idea of reasonable doubt concerning the Stratford Shakespeare: Shakespeare: Why Was I Never Told This?
Academia has ignored the conclusions of intelligent men who took the position that there was something incredible and absurd about the Shakespeare authorship, men like Henry James, Mark Twain, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Sigmund Freud. Academia looks upon those who ask the question as biting the hand that feeds them. In actuality, the question is most often voiced by those who are extremely familiar with Shakespeare's works and are people of conscience concerned that the true author receive the credit he is owed. As Reverend David Rhys Williams said in 1950, “While it is true that the great majority of the professors and teachers of English literature still accept the man from Stratford as the authentic author, with or without reservations, it is the creative literary artists, knowing what is involved in producing literature of high quality, who seriously question the claim made in his behalf."
- The Marlowe Studies is dedicated to the work of A.D. "Dolly" Wraight. They say the intellectual makes easy things look hard while the artist makes hard things look easy. Wraight writes in an easy-reading style while she creates a strong hypothesis for the greatest literary story ever told: The likelihood that Christopher Marlowe was the man behind the pseudonym William Shakespeare. Wraight upholds the Marlovian position that Marlowe, England's greatest and most unique dramatist, was continually evolving as a dramatist from Tamburlaine onward, and his maturation is seen in the works under his pseudonym Shakespeare. This is why all the scholars of the 19th century, when Marlowe had finally been discovered, thought that Shakespeare began his writing by emulating him. As Daryl Pinksen of The International Marlowe-Shakespeare Society has written, "Christopher Marlowe was not only a recognized poet and playwright working in the period immediately before the debut of "Shakespeare, it was Marlowe who actually created 'Shakespearean drama'."
- This can be said of no other contender for the Shakespeare works.
In The Story That The Sonnets Tell, A.D. Wraight says, "Marlowe's reputation has been vilified on three counts: that he was a blaspheming atheist, a man given to violence, and a homosexual. These accusations all stem from the Star Chamber witch-hunt of 1593. They have been sheepishly followed by latter-day credulous critics."
Wraight is referring to the informant Richard Baines who wrote what we now tag Baines' Note, the charges of heresy and sedition that got Marlowe arrested, then released by the Privy Council's order he return every day to appear before it. Five to seven days later, Baines' Note arrived at the council's door. Most of Marlowe's biographers treat Baines as if he were town Mayor. Incredulously, they have ignored the 16th century Church and State use of informants to get rid of threatening men through charges of heresy. They also ignore the strong evidence that Baines was working for the ecclesiastical faction and that he had personal motivation in bringing Marlowe down. They ignore the structure of Baines' Note which follows the template of charges made by the Church to get someone labeled a heretic. They ignore the high coincidence that Marlowe was "killed" by his own patron's man just days before he was to go before the Star Chamber Court where he would surely be condemned to hanging. They ignore all the references to this aspect of Marlowe's story in Shakespeare's Sonnets.
Hence, thou suborned informer! a true soul
When most impeached stands least in thy control.
Wraight goes on to say, " . . .the premise of every one of these base intimations is flawed by error at its inception. Not one of these accusations stands up under close investigation." Wraight's work gives us this "close investigation" which proves to be the foundation for a paradigm shift in the interpretation of Marlowe's work.
- As Daryl Pinksen says in his award-winning book Marlowe’s Ghost: The Blacklisting of the Man Who Was Shakespeare, “The evidence for Marlowe’s authorship of the works of Shakespeare is overwhelming. The case is made simply by listening to two centuries of Shakespearean scholarship.”
- The Marlowe Studies believes there is so much evidence that the study of Christopher Marlowe is the most important literary endeavor of our time.
The Marlowe Studies combines traditional scholarship with the detailed research of Marlowe's advocates, making available online reading of the books and essays that have built a solid case for Christopher Marlowe as the author of the Shakespeare Works. These studies offer academia a most fascinating focal point for students navigating both Shakespeare and the 16th century, and can aid the planning of both college Professors and High School teachers. A quick introduction to Marlowe's case can be had by reading two essays: Archie Webster's "Was It Marlowe?" and Benjamin Wham's "Marlowe's Mighty Line: Was Marlowe Murdered at Twenty-Nine?"
- Of special note are three items in our library: Alex Jack's analysis of Hamlet as written by Marlowe, the most in-depth study ever performed on the play showing its relationship to both the writer and its historical context (for instance, the "Wicked Whitgift" passage voiced by the Ghost that points directly to Marlowe's nemesis Archbishop Whitgift), Isabel Gortazar's enlightening "The Clue In The Shrew" which analyzes the Inductions of both The Taming Of A Shrew and The Taming Of The Shrew, concluding they reveal Marlowe did not die at Deptford and that he was helped to escape England, and Peter Farey's essay "Hoffman and the Authorship" which is a good beginning point for those who are not well-versed in the complexities of Marlowe's situation that May of 1593 when charges of sedition and heresy were about to be brought upon his head. Peter not only summarizes in an easy-reading style, he brings in the traditional Shakespearean arguments at each point along the way showing the details they have overlooked in their conclusions that Marlowe died at Deptford. He begins his Hoffman Prize-winning essay with an analyses of the "riddle" on the Stratford Monument, the meaning of which traditional scholars such as Stanley Wells admit to being unsure of for its "somewhat cryptic" nature. For the first time, Peter Farey gives us sound evidence from Marlowe's contemporaries stating he wrote the works of Shakespeare.
In spite of the fact that there is general agreement among orthodox Shakespearean scholars Marlowe's style had the greatest influence on Shakespeare, many in academia have made their assessments on a seemingly brief study. Perhaps their resistance to studying Marlowe is due to the myths that formed around his character during the turbulent age of religious reformation that swept Europe. This myth was strengthened by the Puritans and the Victorians, and later embellished by 20th and 21st century Shakespearean scholars affiliated with the universities. Academia has also chosen to ignore the obvious connection between the William Shakespeare name suddenly appearing for the first time only a few weeks after Marlowe "died" and the circumstance of England’s Post-Reformation inquisition, which, although of shorter duration than Spain’s, was occurring at the very time Marlowe was accused of heresy.
In Shakespeare New Evidence, Wraight says, "A pseudonym tends to take on a life of its own, and we forget that Voltaire was really the obscure Monsieur Francois-Marie Arouet, who once attended a public burning of his own books [Marlowe's books were also burned]. In the case of the pseudonymous Shakespeare, even his actual identity has disappeared, deliberately hidden for the purpose of total protection, leaving us only with the famous pseudonym without an identity. Into this lacuna, which had to be filled to prevent endless unwelcome speculation and investigation, was snugly fitted the Stratford actor, a safe, un contentious image, whose shortcomings in intellectual quality and education have been glossed over by the simple expedient of investing him with all the attributes of genius exhibited in the plays published in his name. It has proved a fail-safe formula, successfully marketed all over the world."
Wraight suggests the weak links in the cover-up are the autobiographical sonnets written by Shakespeare. Many of these sonnets have remained a riddle to Shakespearean scholars because they seem so contrary to the Stratford Shakespeare's successful life as a business-man. In her The Story That The Sonnets Tell Wraight classified all the sonnets into their theme groups, where we find the sonnets of exile. Nowhere is it more clear that these had to be written by someone who was cast out of England, someone whose name had been disgraced, someone who knew another man would take credit for his work.
The Marlowe Studies library contains literature on the authorship debate and the cutting-edge research of those who see Marlowe's hand in the poems and plays written under the pseudonym William Shakespeare. We would like to thank A.D. Wraight's family for giving us permission to place all of her books into The Marlowe Studies library. We have put them into book readers with zoom capabilities for easier reading.
MARLOWE BOOKS and AUTHORS
Review of Donna Murphy's
The Marlowe-Shakespeare Continuum
A.D. Wraight: Her Work
The Story That the Sonnets Tell
Christopher Marlowe and Edward AlleynIn Search of Christopher Marlowe:
A Pictorial Biography (more than 300 photos that illustrate Marlowe's life)
David Rhys Williams
Shakespeare Thy Name Is Marlowe
Who Was Kit Marlowe?
C.F. Tucker Brooke: Marlowe
The Clue In The Shrew
Hoffman and the Authorship
The First Man Proclaims: It Was Marlowe!
Wilbur Gleason Zeigler (1895)
The Second Man Asks: "Was It Marlowe?"
Archie Webster (1923)
Marlowe's Mighty Line:
Was Marlowe Murdered at Twenty-Nine?
Benjamin Wham (1961)
The Profound Abysm of Sonnet 112
Isabel Gortazar interprets the title page of Thomas Thorpe’s edition of Shake-speares Sonnets (1609)
OUR. EVER. LIVING POET AND MR WH.
Wraight Dismantles the Marlowe Myths
1. Violent: The Distorted Image
The Myth of the Bradley Duel
The Myth of Corkyn v. Marlowe
Kyd's Statements After Being Tortured
2. Homosexuality: Assumption
3. Blasphemous Atheist: Assumption
4. Baines' Note: Flimsy Credibility
Giordano Bruno and Christopher Marlowe
Synopsis of Wraight's argument for
Marlowe's Authorship Edward the Third
Wraight on Marlowe's Authorship of
1 King Henry VI
Wraight on Marlowe's Authorship of
King Henry VI Parts 2 and 3
If Shakespeare was a pseudonym for Marlowe
we would expect to find these traditional
Scholar's Quotes: Marlowe/Shakespeare
A New Play At The Rose
An exploration into how 1 King Henry VI was written for Henslowe's new theatre.
The play's relationship to Marlowe and dates of composition.
Marlowe's Extended Canon pre-1593
C.F. Tucker Brooke: The Marlowe Canon
Amores, translated by Marlowe
(with A.D. Wraight's comments)
THE AUTHORSHIP DEBATE
Read the Review of Alan Nelson's
Monstrous Adversary: The Life of Edward De Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford
Isabel Gortazar's essays
Nor Oxford Either!
The Marlowe-Shakespeare Connection
#1 Web Blog on Christopher Marlowe. Here you
can read the latest articles by Marlovians and post your comments.
Donna Murphy specializes in the authorship of anonymous works, and those of suspect authorship written during the English Renaissance.
Contact The Marlowe Studies