Q: Sam, how long have you been working on The Marlowe-Shakespeare Connection?
Sam: I actually began working on the project in 1999. I thought that a book on the Shakespeare authorship question would be an easy sell, but I was wrong. I sent the book proposal to many, many trade publishers and literary agents, but found no takers. But once I got started researching and writing the book, I was determined to finish it. That took about eight years. I was able to find interest at one university press. They held the manuscript for almost a year, then decided not to publish it. I then sent the proposal to Steve Wilson, the editor at McFarland Publishing Company. He liked the book and decided to publish it. So the moral of the story is never give up. By the way, the most wonderful aspect in writing the book is that I had to read all of Marlowe’s works as well as the 36 plays in the First Folio attributed to Shakespeare. It was a tremendous intellectual experience.
Q: That Marlowe is the true author of the plays and sonnets attributed to Shakespeare is not a new theory. What new ground does your book cover?
Sam: It was Calvin Hoffman who wrote the first book asserting that Marlowe was the true author of the works attributed to Shakespeare. Back in those days, in the late 1950s, I was editor of the Universal Library, Grosset & Dunlap’s quality paperback line, and one day Calvin came to my office with his book, The Murder of the Man Who Was Shakespeare. I knew nothing about the Shakespeare authorship issue. I assumed, like so many college graduates, that Shakespeare’s authorship had been solidly established by documentation. But after reading Hoffman’s book, I realized how wrong I was. The book, which we published in a paperback edition, turned me into a Marlovian. The problem with Calvin’s book is that it made many assertions that were pure fantasy. Although there was enough circumstantial evidence in favor of Marlowe, there were gaps that had to be covered. In writing my book, I decided to use the techniques of a historian and detective and I was able to construct an entirely new story that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that Marlowe wrote the works attributed to the so-called Bard of Avon. When I started to read the 36 plays in the First Folio, I had no idea what I would find. But what I did find was a gold mine of clues deliberately inserted in the plays by Marlowe indicating he was the author.
Coming next: Sam reveals some Marlowe clues in Hamlet !
© The Marlowe-Shakespeare Connection, May 2008
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