Christopher Marlowe

MarloweChristopher Marlowe's candidacy pre-dates De Vere's by some 20 years and has a great deal going for it.

There is one major hurdle to overcome. If De Vere was dead before a third of the plays were written, Marlowe was dead before almost any of them were written. Marlowe died in a pub in Deptford on 30 May 1593. There was a body, there were witnesses, there was an inquest, there were 16 jurors, there was a verdict and there was a funeral.

However, the historical sleight of hand required to turn the man from Canterbury into the man from Stratford is only a fraction of what is needed to turn the 17th Earl into Shakespeare. And Marlovians are up to the task. They have an explanation for the witnesses, an alternative body and a host of reasons why Marlowe would want to play dead and could have pulled off a fake killing successfully. To cap it all, the best single endeavour in the entire Authorship Debate is the Marlovian blank verse novel, The Marlowe Papers, by Ros Barber, which is a great read.

If Marlowe didn't die in 1593 and became Shakespeare then there is no need for the preposterous Oxfordian redating scheme. The plays, say Marlovians, were written and performed in an order which follows the rules of history, scholarship and common sense.

Unlike Oxford, Marlowe was a gifted writer, a pioneering playwright, a superb poet and a consummate craftsman. Stylometry even places his vocabulary nearest to the vocabulary used in the canon (Oxford's is out by from here to Venus).

Unlike Oxford, Marlowe was a commoner, a rare visitor to court with no rights or personal experience of courtoisie and matters of detailed hierarchy. His English history plays show shortcomings in knowledge of the court that are almost identical to the gaps in Shakespeare's knowledge.

Unlike Oxford, Marlowe was a graduate—an intellectual even. The so-called 'missing academic hinterland' need not be improvised from fable as the evidence is all solid.

Unlike Oxford, there are plausible reasons for the switch with no need for feeble pseudonymy or the invention of claptrap like 'the stigma of print'.

Unlike Oxford, the use of a pseudonym in the publication of Venus and Adonis supports the argument instead of blasting it to smithereens.

Unlike Oxford, the cover up as Marlowe assumed his new identity in a milieu which already knew him as Marlowe does not require the incredible invention of a second Shakespeare to explain away topical references. It's still a bit of a stretch to imagine that the cover up would still be covered up, mind. 

If only the timetable fitted just a little better.

If only Will had made zero impact before the publication of Venus and Adonis, Marlowe's could be a very strong case.

Close, Marlowe, but no cigar.

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Comments (6)

  • anon

    I would add that unlike Oxford, if Marlowe had secretly written the works of Shakespeare, Marlowe could have hidden his identity and still have remained heroic.  He could have been forced to adopt a secret identity to continue his work spying for the English monarchy.   He could have been a hero like Zorro or the Lone Ranger.  In comparison, Oxford in "Anonymous" is presented as a prude who is actually ashamed of having written such works as "Hamlet" and "Henry V."

    Jan 23, 2013
  • anon

    That whom we know as "Marlowe" is clearly a front for a nobleman who refused to publish under his own name.  Why, we have nothing but a single signature in his hand!  No letter, no manuscript, nothing!  And no one ever mentioned any work of literature in connection with his name during his lifetime!  Why, all of the evidence of his literary career comes from after his death!  It was clearly a cover up!

    And it is clear why he had to die.  After all, a belted Earl - let's call him the Earl of Oxford to distinguish him from de Verre, the Earl of Oxenford - decides that he needs a front for his play writing and poetry.  He would not choose some hick from the sticks with no education; no, a smart Earl would look for someone with the educational background to support the whole ruse.  A University man, someone a bit down on his luck, and looking for some coin....  Robert Greene is first scoped out, but it is clear quickly that he will not do.  Ah, but there is this other chap, Marlowe....  Marlowe is approached by Oxford, the deal is made.

    Sadly, thought, it becomes clear that Oxford had not properly vetted Marlowe.  He is perhaps a little too seedy, too down on his luck.  The love that dare not speak its name is whispered about - Oxford's Edward II being partly responsible - and worse, he gets wrapped up in a Star Chamber case.  This is dangerous; heresy is the least of Oxford's problems - Marlowe might, under torture reveal the real facts of authorship which would be, well, a real disaster for Oxford for reasons we and Thomas Sackville can only guess at.  A knife through the eye, a few people paid off to praise him, their silence bought with money and the ever present example of Marlowe's fate.

    And the Earl?  What of him?  He has learned his lesson.  No more poetry, no more playwrighting.  Instead, he turns his artistic talent to writing letter after whinging letter, regarding tin, tin, tin.

    Jan 24, 2013
  • anon

    Ahhh. How cruel is fate?? If Anonymous had been a success, funding this film would have been a piece of cake. Would you have allowed your artistic integrity to be compromised and gone with Anonymous 2? Or would you have stuck out for your own title? It's probably too late for TinTin, anyway.

    Jan 24, 2013
  • anon

    Legend of the Gaurdian: The Earl of Ga'Hoole.


    Stupid title.

    Jan 26, 2013
  • anon

    There is a new novel, written in verse, about Marlow writing the works credited to William Shakespeare.  It's called "The Marlowe Papers" and is by Ros Barber.  It is reviewed in the New Yrok Times Book Review section on May 27, 2013.

    The review in the New York Times is by Charles Nicholl, the author of "The Reckoning:  The Murder of Chrstopher Marlowe."  Nicoll writes in the review, "hat Barber's book and Emmerich's film propose two different candidates indicates one of the weaknesses of the anti-Stratfordian case.  Another, of course, is a glaring lack of contemporary evidence."


    Jan 27, 2013
  • anon

    Just as an aside, I ran across this article from Ros Barber.

    Note the first sentence.  I am releaved.

    Jan 31, 2014