Christopher Marlowe: Life and Times (1564-1593)

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Christopher Marlowe: Life and Times (1564-1593)

<p>Kit Marlowe died in somewhat mysterious circumstances in 1593 in a tavern. The troubled enigmatic genius was only 29 years old, a shooting star of the late Tudor period. Marlowe was hailed as the

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Kit Marlowe died in somewhat mysterious circumstances in 1593 in a tavern. The troubled enigmatic genius was only 29 years old, a shooting star of the late Tudor period. Marlowe was hailed as the greatest playwright and poet in the 1580s, the decade before Shakespeare began writing. His 7 plays include Edward II, The Jew of Malta, Dr Faustus and Tamburlaine the Great. It was rumoured he was an atheist, a capital crime in the Tudor police state. He may have faked his death to avoid his enemies and the impending inquisition. Since 1593 there has been speculation that he a likely candidate to be the author of Shakespeare’s plays.


SUGGESTED READING

  • David Riggs, The World of Christopher Marlowe, Holt 2007
  • Charles Nicholls, The Reckoning, the Murder of the Christopher Marlowe, Harcourt 1997
  • Park Honan, Christopher Marlowe and the Renaissance, OUP 2006
  • Constance Brown, Christopher Marlowe, Poet and Spy, OUP 2006


COURSE OUTLINE

  • Early life of Marlowe in the reign of Elizabeth 1, studies at Cambridge University
  • Plays and poems written by Marlowe and his reputation as a writer
  • His employment by Sir Francis Walsingham and the Elizabethan spy network, reputation for atheism
  • Theories surrounding his mysterious death in 1593 and the vicious politics of the 1590s
  • Is there evidence for assuming Marlowe has written any of Shakespeare’s plays ?

PLANNED LEARNING OUTCOMES By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Gain a sound understanding of the politics of late Tudor England and the place of Marlowe in that context
  2. Appreciate the depth of his scholarship as a 16th century playwright and poet
  3. Evaluate the significance of several theories surrounding Marlowe’s life and death