Congratulations to our great friend, Dr. Rosalind Barber, for co-winning the 2014 Hoffman Prize for her paper entitled “‘Shortly he will quite forget to go’: Marlowe and the
Faustus Epigrams.” The prize is awarded by the King's School for a "distinguished publication on Christopher Marlowe."
is Ros’s second Hoffman.She won the
prize in 2011 for her debut novel, The Marlowe Papers.
Click here to read the first article exploring a "Marlovian"
perspective on Shakespeare's Sonnets to be published in a peer-reviewed
history journal:Rethinking History (June 2010). Ros Barber's "Exploring Biographical Fictions: the Role of Imagination in Writing and Reading Narrative" is now free to read on open access.
One piece of
stylometric evidence which seems at first sight to throw quite a large spanner
into the Marlovian works appears in Shakespeare,
Computers, and the Mystery of Authorship, edited by Hugh Craig and Arthur
F. Kinney.1 The book itself is not concerned with the Shakespeare
authorship question as such, but with whether certain parts of Shakespeare's
works or apocrypha are either by him or by a collaborator. For example, Craig
argues quite convincingly for Marlowe having made significant contributions to
parts one and two of Shakespeare's Henry
It is in a
chapter called 'The authorship of The
Raigne of Edward the Third' (by Timothy Irish West), however, that the item
having most significance for the Marlovian theory appears. It is a chart
(Fig.6.8, p.130) in which he is simply testing the validity of an approach
being used to see whether Shakespeare wrote either the 'Countess' scenes
(I.ii–II.ii) or the 'French campaign' scenes (III.i–IV.iii) in Edward III.
graph there are 90 shaded circles representing segments of 6000 words each from
27 plays which are taken to be solely by Shakespeare. There are also 236
diamond shapes representing 6000-word segments from 85 other single-author
plays written between 1580 and 1619.
horizontal (X) axis represents the extent to which each segment includes
lexical words2 which have been identified as more characteristic of
Shakespeare's works than the others'. The vertical (Y) axis shows the extent to
which it uses words more typical of the others' works than Shakespeare's.3 Not surprisingly, they divide into two fairly distinct clusters – the circles
in one and the diamonds in another.
particular chart, West has removed the three 6000-word segments of Marlowe's Edward II from the data, and treated
them as if it were all of unknown authorship. Shown as black triangles on the
chart, all three fall quite clearly within the 'other authors' cluster, and not
within the 'Shakespeare' one. Here is the result. (The caption should of course
read 'segments of Edward II', not
'segments of Edward III'.)
this, he shows (pp.127–8) segments from Shakespeare's King John, Henry IV (part 1) and Henry V, all of which fall in the
'Shakespeare' cluster, albeit at the edge nearest to the other one.
There is no
doubt that this is a fairly strong piece of evidence that the author of Edward II (i.e. Marlowe) was not also
the author of the Shakespeare canon. A few points need to be borne in mind,
however, before we all admit defeat.
the data for Edward II are ignored in
arriving at the characteristic words for the 'other authors', all of the rest
of Marlowe's plays (except Dido,
because of the possible input by Thomas Nashe) are included, whereas they would
all need to be ignored too if the intention was to assess Marlowe as a
Shakespeare authorship candidate – which it wasn't.
2. The three
Henry VI plays, Titus Andronicus and The
Taming of the Shrew – those which because of time proximity are most likely
to have similarities to Marlowe – play no part in this calculation.
3. This also
means that there is no play in the 'Shakespeare' set which is known to have
been written less than five years or so after Edward II.
Furthermore, the Shakespeare set includes plays as late as The Tempest, written some twenty years later.
question of date is of crucial importance in any stylometric attempt to assign
authorship. Let me give an example which is in essence a very much simplified
version of the method employed by Craig and Kinney (and West).
there are two bodies of work, one which we will ascribe to playwright A and the
other playwright B.
We work out
that the frequency with which they each use the words 'most' and 'then' differs
greatly. In fact, if we add up the total for both words in a play by either of
them and find what percentage of them are 'most' we can be fairly sure that:
* if it's
less than 40%, it's by playwright A
* if it's
more than 40%, it's by playwright B
this works for all of A's 21 plays bar one, and all of B's 16 except two. You
would need to get a bit more complicated to get 100% in each case!)
imagine that we have a play where we suspect collaboration between the two
playwrights. We find that Acts 1 & 2 are well below 40% (so probably
playwright A) and Acts 3 & 5 well above (playwright B). Act 4 is more
doubtful at 43%.
So does this
tell us anything at all about whether the two playwrights are different people?
No. In fact playwright A is Shakespeare before 1600, and playwright B is
Shakespeare after 1600. And Twelfth Night
(1601?) was the play in question, if you were wondering.
What we can
see, therefore, is that to claim that this tells us they were different people
is circular reasoning. If you start with an assumption that they are
two different people, and take no account of time, then it’s hardly surprising that
this is just what the figures will seem to show.
Don't get me
wrong, though. This is a powerful piece of evidence against the Marlovian
theory, and itwould be wrong to think
1Craig, Hugh; Kinney, Arthur F. (2009). Shakespeare, Computers, and the Mystery of Authorship. Cambridge
University Press. 2According to Craig & Kinney (p.224), "Words can be
classified into functional words and lexical words (with just a few doubtful
cases). Function words have a grammatical function; examples are the, and,
she, before, and of. [...]
Lexical words [are] nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs which can be
substituted for each other in a given sentence." They give king and mother as examples. 3The most characteristic words for Shakespeare (the horizontal
axis) are found by calculating the proportion of 'Shakespeare' segments within
which a given word appears and adding this to the proportion of 'others'
segments within which it does not
appear (giving a theoretical maximum of +2). The 500 words with the highest
scores are the ones used. For the vertical axis, the same procedure is
followed, but finding those words with the highest combination of proportions
'within the others' and 'not within Shakespeare'.
Click here to read The Marlowe Society's post on theJune 23 Times (U.K.) article concerning doubts about Marlowe being the sitter of the famous Corpus Christi portrait. Click here for Ros Barber's June 25 letter to the Times regarding this matter (via our International Marlowe-Shakespeare Society Facebook page).
A recent exchange on the "Oxfraud" Facebook page (commencing June 6), which consists of comments by International Marlowe-Shakespeare Society members Peter Farey and Daryl Pinksen, has prompted this blog to re-post two older blog articles on the issue of Shakespeare being a front for another, possibly blacklisted writer. In "Philip Yordan: A Modern-Day Shakespeare?" Daryl Pinksen examines some compelling parallels between Marlowe and the Hollywood blacklisting of the 1950s. In "William Shakespeare, Businessman - Forgotten Genius," Anthony Kellett also explores the life of a literary front man. We welcome your comments to these provocative pieces.
Readers of this blog are probably well
familiar with Monsieur Le Doux, who in 1595 was a tutor at the home of Sir John
Harington in Rutland, was instructed on the gathering of intelligence for the
Earl of Essex and Anthony Bacon in 1596, and whose name appears briefly in
Thomas Birch's Memoirs of the Reign of
Queen Elizabeth and in Bacon's papers. We had believed until very recently
that Le Doux might have been an identity for the surviving Christopher Marlowe
in hiding. But we now know this was not the case.
In fact, this Monsieur Le Doux was
Catharinus Dulcis or Catherin Le Doux, a reputable European scholar of the
Italian and French languages. He was born in Savoy in 1540, worked for a long
time as an itinerant tutor to young noblemen, and became a professor of Italian
and French at the University of Marburg in Germany in 1605. He compiled an
Italian-Latin dictionary, translated works by Tasso and Terence, and wrote a
comedy of his own, Tobie (Tobias).
Much information about his life can be found at this German website.
Marburg was the world's first
Protestant-founded university, and in fact Dulcis's Protestant beliefs were the
reason he had to leave the Continent and stay in England as Monsieur Le Doux in
the period 1594-1596.
Co-author Caveney first discovered the
identity of Le Doux as Dulcis in a letter Dulcis wrote from London in November
1594 to Sir John Skene. It appears on pp. 156-157 of the book Memorials of the family of Skene of Skene...,
published in 1887. The letter is written in French and signed "Le
Doulx," and below it, "CATHARINUS DULCIS". Among other things in
the letter, he mentions the kindness and courtesy of Anthony Bacon.
Further research by the two of us has
uncovered abundant confirming information that clearly shows that this man must
have been Monsieur Le Doux. Dulcis's own autobiographical sketch Vitae Curriculi Breviarium, written in
Latin, mentions his time in England working for Essex and Bacon and even
tutoring for the Haringtons, the main activity of Le Doux that we knew of from
Bacon's papers. This work of Dulcis also mentions Antonio Perez, Mittelburg,
Baron Zeirotine, Count Maurice of Nassau, Archduke Albert and Henri d'Eberbach,
all figures who appeared in Le Doux's correspondence as we knew it.
Finally, co-author Farey examined a letter
by Dulcis in 1607 and found that the handwriting and signature are so similar
to those found in the letters that we have of Monsieur Le Doux, that it is
quite clear that they were written by the same person.
Click here to read Dennis Rawlins's truly compelling (and highly amusing) paper entitled "Marlowe Created Shakespeare" in the latest issue of DIO, the International Journal of Scientific History. Since 1991, DIO has held an interest in exposing historical hoaxes of various types (read about their work regarding the North Pole discovery here in the New York Times). International Marlowe-Shakespeare Society members Peter Farey, Ros Barber, and Samuel Blumenfeld receive nice plugs in Rawlins's must-read paper.
"The way to really develop as a writer is to make yourself a political outcast, so that you have to live in secret. This is how Marlowe developed into Shakespeare."
Letters of Ted Hughes, ed. Christopher Reid, Faber 2007, p.120
Stylish Leather Handbags
Welcome to MSC: the Web's #1 Blog on Christopher Marlowe
We kicked off in May 2008. We're a blog dedicated to the brilliant Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe. Yes, we believe he could have authored many of the Shakespeare works, and so we offer up hearty servings of delicious intrigue. Thanks for visiting!
THE POWER OF US: KIT Marlowe Up, Earl of Oxford Down
"Meanwhile, the authorship debate shows no signs of fading away. Francis Bacon's star has waned, eclipsed long ago by the Earl of Oxford's. Now Christopher Marlowe's star is on the rise. 'It looks like there's a shelf life to every candidate' of about 75 or 80 years, Shapiro says. 'There's a lot more energy and enthusiasm behind Marlowe.'"
DIG THIS CONSPIRACY: Our Favorite Shakespeare Authorship Theory, En Breve
Christopher Marlowe - prodigy, successful playwright/poet, and pretty darn good spy for Queen Elizabeth - lands himself in the kind of hot water that may send him to the gallows. His powerful handlers in espionage, concerned about saving their talented agent, decide to fake his death and send him away. Marlowe, in hiding, continues to write plays and poems. William Shakespeare agrees to be the frontman for these works.
From Amazon: "Rodney Bolt’s book is not an attempt to prove that, rather than dying at 29 in a tavern brawl, Christopher Marlowe staged his own death, fled to Europe, and went on to write the work attributed to Shakespeare. Instead, it takes that as the starting point for a playful and brilliantly written 'fake biography' of Marlowe, which turns out to be a life of the Bard as well." The Spectator praises: "A triumph...perfect." Click the pic to purchase! And click here for our interview with Rodney Bolt!
Marlowe's Motto, Angelina Jolie's Tattoo
"Quod me nutrit, me destruit"
Nuestra teoría favorita de autoría sobre Shakespeare, en breve
El prodigio Christopher Marlowe, exitoso dramaturgo, poeta y un excelente espía para la reina Isabel I, murió aparentemente a los veintinueve años durante una pelea. Sin embargo, los documentos oficiales en torno a su muerte son extraordinariamente sospechosos, por lo que parece más que probable que las personas poderosas que manejaban su carrera como espía, decidieron proteger no solo a un agente valioso, sino tambien a un genial dramaturgo, involucrado en alimentar con sus obras de teatro la maquinaria de propaganda de la dinastía Tudor. Existen poderosas razones para pensar que la muerte de Marlowe fue una triquiñuela para salvarle de las acusaciones de herejia lanzadas contra él, que podian haberle enviado a la hoguera. Si esto fuera cierto, Marlowe hubiera continuado escribiendo obras de teatro y enviandolas desde algun lugar del Continente Europeo para su representación en Londres; para este plan se necesitaba una “tapadera.” Esa “tapadera” se llamó William Shakespeare.
Haga click aquí para leer un excelente artículo de Isabel Gortázar sobre el asunto la autoría, originalmente impreso en el periódico catalán La Vanguardia de Barcelona y ahora disponible en línea en la pagina web en el español radical.es de España.
La Nostra Preferita Teoria Shakesperiana sull’autore, In breve.
Christopher Marlowe, prodigioso drammaturgo/poeta di successo e notevole spia per la Regina Elizabetta, naviga in cattive acque, punibili con la condanna al rogo. I suoi superiori, nel campo dello spionaggio, allo scopo di salvaguardare il loro agente di valore, decidono di fingerlo morto e lo mandano via. Marlowe, dal suo nascondiglio, continua a scrivere drammi e poesie e William Shakespeare accetta di appropriarsene.
Wonder who wrote Shakespeare? Mike Rubbo's Much Ado About Something makes a compelling case that it was Marlowe. As seen on PBS Frontline and now on DVD. Elvis Mitchell of the New York Times praises: " . . . an inviting piece of film . . . Much Ado About Something is a film of ideas - well, notions, anyway - that are bound to stimulate discussion, an aspect long missing from documentary." Click the pic to purchase! (or rent it today on Netflix!) Click here for our print interview with Mike Rubbo, click here for our video interview. Click here for an 8-minute preview of the film. Click here for a Tampa Tribune feature about Mike Rubbo. Click here for a raving Salon.com review of the documentary.
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