Thursday, January 13, 2011

Was Marlowe Shakespeare? Ros Barber Interviewed

The idea that Christopher Marlowe faked his own death and fled to the continent, writing as "William Shakespeare" in exile, has never been the subject of serious academic research. Ros Barber, who recently completed the first PhD in the subject, is interviewed by former BBC World Service journalist Tim Grout-Smith as part of a media training course run for postgraduate researchers at the University of Sussex.

Ros Barber is the first person in the world to complete a PhD in Marlovian authorship theory. Her PhD was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK). Her first degree was in Biological Sciences. A founding member of the International Marlowe-Shakespeare Society, she has published articles challenging the orthodox biography of Marlowe in academic books and journals, including the peer-reviewed Routledge journal Rethinking History. Her essay "Was Marlowe a Violent Man?," which was presented at the Marlowe Society of America conference in 2008, is featured in Christopher Marlowe the Craftsman (Ashgate 2010). A published poet, her latest poetry collection, Material (Anvil 2008), was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and was funded by Arts Council England.

Click here for Ros's exclusive article for MSC, "Stanley Wells and the Cobbe Portrait," one of this blog's most popular posts.



Order Ros's debut novel today!

"It’s enough to strike despair into the heart of James Shapiro, author of Contested Will, as well as the hearts of all the other Shakespeare experts who refute the so-called 'authorship controversy'."  (Financial Times)


Click here for the blog's home page and recent content.THE MARLOWE PAPERS

19 comments:

DresdenDoll said...

Excellent!

CrisBoll said...

a very good interview that I'll be sure to share with others.

isabel Gortazar said...

Excellent Ros!

68Maxwells said...

wonderful job on the blog. cheers to all. I'm still on the fence, but . . .

CooCooRoo said...

Stylistic similarities are definitely there between the 2; and if you look at Marlowe and Shakespeare as one canon, as Ms. Barber states, this explains the "development of the artist" and accounts for the stylistic changes over time. Reasonable to me!

Sam Blumenfeld said...

Bravo, Ros! Am looking forward to the rest of the interview.

Cynthia Morgan said...

Interviews around Marlowe can be difficult since there are so many facts to pick from when responding to the questions. You did an A+ job Ros, clear and concise answers. Bravo!

bob said...

If "Tamburlaine" was considered to be such a masterpiece and, in a sense, a smash hit at the time, then why were Shakespearean plays, written only a short time later, viewed as the food of the common man, and beneath those of the intellectual coterie?

Sebastian said...

very nice.

Ros Barber said...

Bob, Tamburlaine was a smash hit at the time (i.e. popular with "the common man"), as was Doctor Faustus, as were many of the plays we later know as Shakespeare's. Regarding certain of these plays (from both the Marlowe and Shakespeare canons) as works of great genius (and I specify here, re the Marlowe plays, "for someone in their twenties" is a 19th/20th/21st century perspective.

I don't know where you get your information but Shakespeare plays were not regarded as "beneath those of the intellectual coterie". They were very popular with members of the inns of court, for example - a discerning intellectual audience. Never mind the Queen herself (a woman of no mean intellect).

That they also appealed to the masses is not in question, but there is no evidence at all that they were disliked by more educated folk; quite the opposite. Indeed, the 1623 First Folio is itself evidence that they were very highly regarded by the kind of people you suggest disdained them.

LunaRosa6 said...

The blog gets better and better. Thanks for posting the video.

isabel Gortazar said...

In reference to the "intellectual coterie" and the more educated people: Titus Andronicus was performed at a private family party in Burley on the Hill, as we know by Jacques Petit's letter, during the Christmas and New Year Festivities in 1595/6. For the purpose of such performance the owner of Burley, Sir John Harington, had one of Companies of Players come from London for just that one night.

Even if the Company could have been the Earl of Pembroke's Men rather than the Lord Chamberlain's Men (both Companies had performed the play), organizing such performance would have been expensive (as Petit comments in his letter).

So, it seems that the intellectual coterie, (one of whose leading figures would be Lucy Harington, Countess of Bedford), was not looking down on "Shakespeare's" early works, particularly such a Marlovian Play as Titus.

Peter Farey said...

No indeed. In fact the only person known to have criticized the show at the time was Jacques himself, who found the performance better than the play.

Whether or not he actually knew that it was probably written by the person for whom he was at the time pretending to be a valet, and who must have also been present, is an interesting question!

Peter

bob said...

I stand corrected!

Isabel Gortazar said...

Peter:
Yes, isn’t it an interesting question?

My gut feeling is he did know and was being spiteful, because he was jealous of the attention that “le Doux” was receiving from everybody.

Mean little worm, our Jacques.

LemoyneBECK said...

very cool.

TraderJoe said...

wonderful video!

ChicagoBenvolio said...

Nice!

Camila S. said...

A very informative video.