Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Marlowe's Sexuality by Isabel Gortázar

As all scholars who have studied Christopher Marlowe’s life and troubles know, the Note delivered by the informer Richard Baines to the authorities sometime in May 1593 contained eighteen accusations of which all but two referred to rather colourful heretical opinions, allegedly manifested by Marlowe in public. The two exceptions accused Marlowe of saying that 1): he had as good right to Coin as the Queen of England; and 2): that they that love not Tobacco and Boies are fools.

We have no way of knowing whether Marlowe had ever said any such things, but his alleged plans for coining, denounced by Baines and investigated in January 1592, must have been nonsense, because Kit was not punished for it. As for charges of immoral behaviour, they seem to have been standard procedure in famous prosecutions for “heresy” in all times and all religions, so those Boies were probably nonsense as well.

But, while the world is prepared to accept that Marlowe was no forger of coins, the Boies have stuck. In the not-so-distant past, when homosexuality was a crime punishable by imprisonment, Baines's accusation went a long way to destroy Marlowe’s reputation; in these days when “gay” is “cool," some scholars seem to think that arguing against Marlowe’s alleged homosexuality is a sign of old-fashioned morality.

I am personally not interested in Marlowe’s sexual proclivities except as they are relevant to my investigation of his life and work. Trying to “read” his real meaning in some apparently equivocal texts may be a way to obtain valuable information about what was happening to him. So, yes, I think it is important to find out whether Marlowe, alias Shake-speare, was gay or not, regardless of moral fashions.

Both Tamburlaine and Faustus, the two Marlovian characters with whom Kit was identified by his contemporaries, were heterosexual. However, after his name had been vilified to suit political interests, his sexuality was scrutinized on the basis of Baines's Note and on the fact that he had presented homosexual characters on the stage.

Meanwhile Stratfordians have managed to look at their man’s plays and sonnets, without feeling the need to declare their author to be gay. As I believe that Marlowe wrote the Shakespearian Canon, I have looked at those works for further information.

Marlowe wrote about gods and kings falling for good-looking boys. Likewise, there are a couple of Shakespearian characters, both of whom are called Antonio, who fall for younger men. As I suspect that Marlowe was an agent of the Earl of Essex between 1593 and 1599, and as the homosexual Bacon brothers were also working for the Earl during those years, it may be that these two Antonios refer to Anthony Bacon.

Let's have a look at the two characters.

- Twelfth Night: A kind sailor named Antonio rescues Viola’s twin brother, Sebastian, from a shipwreck. Antonio becomes infatuated with the boy and recklessly gives him his purse so he may spend freely while he, Antonio, goes about his business. Sebastian is certainly not gay; he is grateful to Antonio for his kindness but he falls in love with Olivia and marries her before the end of the play.
- The Merchant of Venice: The relationship between another infatuated Antonio and the heterosexual Bassanio is practically the same. Foolishly, Antonio will place his life at risk in order to give to Bassanio the money he wants to woo Portia. Bassanio is very fond of Antonio, but he is in love with the girl and will marry her. In the source story, Il Pecorone, by Giovanni Fiorentino, (1558), the names are different and the doting benefactor is presented clearly as a “father” figure.

Although I found a Bassani family in Padua, one of whose members was called Antonio Bassanio of all things, the name Bassanio might derive from the basanite stone or lapis lydius, which, like the touchstone, serves to identify precious metals. (For definitions of these stones, see footnote, below).

This possible interpretation would fit with the name given in The Merchant of Venice to the young man who manages to choose the valuable metal casket despite misleading clues. As the name of Touchstone in As You Like It is one of the clearer references to Marlowe in the Canon, we might be justified in surmising that Bassanio/ Touchstone may be a reference to Marlowe as well.

At the risk of sounding frivolous, since my information is based on the unreliable Internet, I cannot resist passing on a curious anecdote: In the same article, where the basanite or lapis lydius is described as “A black flinty jasper used for estimating the purity of precious metal alloys" (so a good name for Bassanio), we are told not to confuse the basanite with the bassanite, which is “a saline evaporite, consisting of calcium sulphate, found at Vesuvius." And here the plot thickens because, in the same entry, we are alerted to the fact that the anagram of bassanite is Sebastian.

I leave it to my readers to decide what kind of spooky coincidence is this. That said, if the bassanite (as opposed to the basanite), was only discovered and given its name in the 20th Century (see footnote), we need to forget the bassanite altogether in this exercise and assume either that the basanite was spelt in the usual random way of those days, or that both the Sebastian anagram and the name Bassanio, with its double s, are a complete fluke. Quite frankly, I dare not express an opinion on the matter.

But whatever we think of the names, we have here the repeated pattern of a kind, homosexual man helping a boy whom he evidently fancies, and providing him with money; this boy who is in some sort of trouble, accepts the help and the money but he clearly likes women.

Then we have Sonnet 20, with what seem to me clues in the same direction. My choice of Anthony Bacon for the role (he was eight years older than Marlowe) is based in the known fact that he was a homosexual and that, if indeed Marlowe was Essex’ agent, Anthony, acting on behalf of their mutual boss, would have provided him with money, papers and general “help” in his secret life. Marlowe would have been grateful for all this kindness, which may explain not only the sonnet, but also the friendly outcome of the difficult relationship between the boys and their Antonios in both plays.

Here is Sonnet 20:

A woman's face with nature's own hand painted,
Hast thou the master mistress of my passion,
A woman's gentle heart but not acquainted
With shifting change as is false women's fashion,
An eye more bright than theirs, less false in rolling:
Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth,
A man in hue all hues in his controlling,
Which steals men's eyes and women's souls amazeth.
And for a woman wert thou first created,
Till nature as she wrought thee fell a-doting,
And by addition me of thee defeated,
By adding one thing to my purpose nothing.
But since she pricked thee out for women's pleasure,
Mine be thy love and thy love's use their treasure.

This is the kindest rejection of a dear friend’s advances in the history of unrequited love. Here is what I read:

“You are as good-looking and gentle as a woman, and more loyal. In fact, you should have been a woman, but, when she was creating you, Nature lost her head (“fell a-doting”) adding one thing (a phallus) to your wonderful person. By this addition, which is nothing to my purpose, Nature me of thee defeated; in other words, she deprived me of you. As you were provided with a phallus to give women pleasure ("she pricked thee out for women's pleasure"), I will have your love but the use of “it” must be their treasure.”

The word love here must be understood in Elizabethan, not romantic terms. In Sonnet 26 we read:

Lord of my Love, to whom in vassalage, etc.

I think this humbly apologetic sonnet may have been dedicated to Essex but that’s another story; Marlowe may have referred to any of his aristocratic patrons as Lord of my love, simply as a mark of respect and devotion.

(By the way, no earl in his right mind would have offered vassalage to any man under his monarch; the word could never be addressed to an equal. I wonder how Oxfordians explain this sonnet.)

In sum: Bassanio and Sebastian, like the author of Sonnet 20, love their benefactors, but cannot be in love with them. Sonnet 20 is telling us that, despite the beauty and virtues of a dear friend, the male organ held no attractions for Shake-speare.

© Isabel Gortázar, March 2011

Isabel Gortázar is an independent scholar, specializing in Shakespeare and Marlowe studies. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Marlowe Society (UK) and a founding member of the International Marlowe Society. She divides her time between London and Bilbao, Spain.
who wrote shakespeare's sonnets?emmerich devere
a): a black siliceous stone related to flint and formerly used to test the purity of gold and silver by the streak left on the stone when rubbed by the metal.
b): a test or criterion for determining the quality or genuineness of a thing.
Basanite: A black flinty jasper used for estimating the purity of precious metal alloys.
Bassanite: “A saline evaporate consisting of calcium sulphate, found at Vesuvius. First discovered around 1906/ 1910.
The stone was given its name to honor
Francesco Bassani (1853–1916)
, Professor of Paleontology, University of Naples, Naples, Italy.

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daver852 said...

I have never found anything in Marlowe's works - either those attributed to him, or those published under the name of "Shakespeare" - that remotely suggests that the author is homosexual.

TeenGirl said...

"Both Tamburlaine and Faustus, the two Marlovian characters with whom Kit was identified by his contemporaries, were heterosexual."

While I'm perfectly willing to believe that Marlowe was heterosexual, I don't find this a particularly convincing proof. Do gay writers always write about gay protagonists? Marlowe's contemporaries could have identified him with those characters for dozens of reasons (starting with that, arguably, Tamburlaine and Faustus were simply his two most well-known plays) having nothing to do with sexuality. You might as well argue that Gustave Flaubert was secretly a woman because he was identified with Madame Bovary.

Dan Sayers said...

My feeling is that whilst Marlowe / Shakespeare perhaps may have been, broadly speaking, heterosexual, there is much in the writings that suggests a more varied and interesting approach to the possibilities of human couplings. From the descriptions of Leander's feminine beauty, to the sexually suggestive gender play in so many of the comedies, this is an vital aspect of these works - the author certainly wasn't boringly shackled to straightness.

It should come as no surprise, then, that there are suggestions with both Marlowe and Shakespeare that they might have been interested, and involved, with both sexes. This seems a reasonable interpretation, and wholly concomitant with the universality so often ascribed to Shakespeare's drama. What is clear, however, is that in Marlowe's case the suggestion of interest in men has been used to damn him, historically speaking, whereas with the author known as Shakespeare, people have tended to conveniently ignore any suggestion of homosexuality where it has conflicted with their own ideas of him as a national symbol, etc.

Ros Barber said...

Definitely with you, Dan.

AlanW said...

Harold Bloom writes that Marlowe was a homosexual (I was browsing one of his "Best English Poems" anthologies at the bookstore recently). How can he say it with such certainty?

Daryl Pinksen said...

In his Amores Book II, Ovid was able to casually remark, "I hate those embraces in which both do not consummate; that is why boys please me but little,"* without a hint of confusion about his sexual identity. [Note: "boy" is a term given by older Roman -- and Elizabethan -- males to younger males of lesser social status.]

If Ovid were privy to our modern judgment of such activity as "homosexuality," he would have been utterly baffled. Ovid doted on his wife, and missed her terribly during his exile. In his youth, he bedded many female lovers, and, judging from this confession, some "boys" as well.

Marlowe was saturated with Classical literary attitudes toward sexuality, and his writing reflects this. His behaviour in life, it can reasonably be assumed, probably reflected the Ancient attitude as well. Was Marlowe homosexual? If one can answer that question about Ovid, that answer can just as well stand for Marlowe.

In my mind the utility of this debate is once again the uncanny resemblance between the works of Marlowe and Shakespeare. Shakespeare's sonnets reflect the same Classical literary and (likely) biographical ambivalence toward same-sex behaviour that Marlowe's do. This suggests the Shakespeare writer shared an immersion and suffusion of Classical influence equal to, if not identical to, Marlowe's.


isabel Gortazar said...

Hi Daryl-
I agree with almost everything you say, particularly with your conclusion about the utility of this debate.

However, one small point: I don’t see any sexual ambivalence in Marlowe’s work. That he wrote plays about gods and kings that fell for young men only reflects –in my opinion- a reality that we know existed, even based on historical figures, such as James of Scotland. It is interesting by the way, that he chose Jupiter (the god that chased women in and out of Olympus) as one of his “homosexual” models.

We know that the Greeks and the Romans were often bisexual, including Julius Caesar, and so I find your Ovidian quote very apt; in a way it reminds me of the contents of Sonnet 20th.

So, perhaps both Ovid and Marlowe “tried” boys, in the same way that some people in the Sixties tried LSD; they both say that the result is not very satisfactory.

Anonymous said...

It is difficult to know what to make of the Baines note. Baines appears to be an enemy and could say anything, but then the Tutor Intelligencers were a bunch of chancers, crooks, conmen and double agents. More Callan than James Bond. It’s difficult to divine anyone’s motives. However, I think it wrong to suggest that the note can be dismissed. The charge of “coining” probably has some validity. It seems likely that Marlowe was parachuted into the Low Countries to sniff out Catholic coiners as an agent provocateur. He probably walked into a pub and said:”Hey guys, I’m really into coining. Anyone else interested?” or something similar. His subsequent deportation under close arrest might well be the services method of getting him out without screwing his cover. Who know? But the lack of prosecution fits and also fits with the later Coroner’s fudge. (Ah, how things never change!)
It’s difficult, therefore, to know if the charge that he claimed: “they that love not Tobacco and Boies are fools” has any meaning.
Many commentators have pointed out that there were no Tudor equivalents to today’s gays, the concept being invented a century or so later. While I find it hard to believe that nobody yearned to live their life with a partner of the same sex, it must be accepted that the economic and social pressures of the age meant that male/female union underpinned society in a way that is no longer true, and that anything else was an add-on. People who might well be “gay” today, would then have accepted wife and family, and possibly sought solace elsewhere. In addition, genuine bisexuality was relatively common and, as in the Victorian period, largely ignored provided you pretended to support the official moral code.
Anthony Burgess (“Dead Man in Deptford”) suggests Marlowe had various partners, but this is fiction for a 21st century audience. It’s more likely he picked up the odd rentboy, or perhaps he was that rentboy. True, like the queen herself, he never married, but then he didn’t live that long. There is precious little evidence of any of any union.
Looking through his works to find well-drawn or sympathetically portrayed homosexual characters is not likely to prove anything. Nor, as some have, is the search for a bias against women or a feminine cast to his words likely to be more than an interesting diversion.
At the end you have to accept there is no way to prove his sexuality either way. But then, why couldn’t he be gay? Somebody had to be. And like that picture you see everywhere, supposedly of him, it most probably isn’t him after all. On the other hand, what did they all get up to in Raleigh’s School of Night? Was it all smoking and talk of atheism?

daver852 said...

It would almost be impossible to write anything on a classical theme without some element of homoeroticism; and it would be impossible to write a play about Edward II without addressing that king's homosexuality, which ultimately led to his downfall. This has nothing to do with the author's sexual orientation!

Isabel Gortazar said...

Anonymoys: In reply to some of your comments:

Baines was enemy enough to denounce Marlowe to the Authorities in Flushing. If the charge of coining had had any validity, Marlowe would not have been set free.

Tudor spies included major politicians, civil servants, the minor nobility, women, friars, priests, University people, etc; at the bitter end of the chain were, as you say, “chancers, crooks, conmen anddouble agents. ” The often shocking plots were usually devised by the men in power, such as Sir Francis Walsingham. Elizabeth herself and her country owe their lives to all these men.

We all know their collective motives; their private motives would have been as complex as private motives usually are.

In the case of Marlowe his multiple role as an outstanding humanist, a linguist, poet and playwright of genius, as well as, apparently, an efficient spy at the Queen's service, makes him a colossal figure to whom the Anglo-Saxon world owes a staggering debt that will never be repaid, least of all by quibbling about his imagined personal shortcomings.

Isabel Gortazar said...

Anonymous 2

The fact that, for lack of more serious ammunition, Stratfordian writers like Burgess have decided to see unmistakable signs of homosexuality in Marlowe, sounds to me as convincing as the unsubstantiated charges of immorality and/or witchcraft that accompanied the executions of the Templars, Joanne of Arc, Giordano Bruno and Sir John Oldcastle, to name a few: Atheists, heretics and libertines, all of them. Fire is too good!

Unfortunately, some wishful-thinking gay authors looking for intellectual vindication have taken up the Marlowe was gay banner;. The Stratfordians help with glee; the would-be liberal thinkers say why not?.

You say: “But then, why couldn’t he be gay?
Somebody had to be”. I prefer: Why should he be gay? Some people weren’t.

Baconians don’t ever talk about the fact that their man was gay, knowing full well that, even today, this trait of his character wouldn’t favor his image.
Nor do historians linger on the blatant homosexuality of King James and the way by which Buckingham (and all his family) made their fortunes. If Marlowe, as you suggest, may have been a “rent-boy”, so was George Villiers, except he seems to have done a much better job of it.

As I said in my article, I am not interested in moral trends; i am interested in Marlowe’s sexuality only insofar as it helps me to understand his writings and clear up the authorship question.

ElviraCardigan said...

Isabel, I have to say ya don't come across on my reading as being non-commital about M's sexuality. You actually come across as rather anxious to find good reasons for assuming he was straight.

Your prerogative of course, and you may be right, ,but I just can't avoid the sense you feel you are 'defending' him, which sets off dubious little ripples in the ether.

isabel Gortazar said...

In your comments about my essays on this matter you come across as very eager to preserve the unproven theory of Marlowe's homosexuality.

Luckily, one has no need to defend homosexuals in this day and age. As for myself, not only does my list of close friends contain several homosexuals, also some of my favorite authors, such as Wilde and Proust were gay.

However, after researching the evidence concerning Marlowe for more than ten years (rather than just a week), I came to the conclusion that Marlowe's works as well as Shakespeare's (whoever wrote them) appear, in my humble opinion, to have been writen by a heterosexual man. So, as with all other aspects of Marlowe's personality, I thought I should share my thoughts with others.

If you see a homophobic approach in my writings, it must mean that I have failed to explain my reasons. On the other hand, your anxiety to maintain a largely unsupported theory, might mean that your mind is not as open to explore new ideas as you think it is. If you mean to start on the mammoth effort of researching Marlowe, perhaps you'd like to think about that.

ElviraCardigan said...

Isabel - I've only just gotten interested in this topic, literally days ago, so I have no preconceived ideas and no axe to grind. I'm just calling em like I see em.

To show you where I'm coming from here, let me put a case to you...

Imagine the Baines note had said "Marlowe's never been seen to have any interest in men and he says anyone who doesn't love women and tobacco is a fool" - would you be arguing that meant nothing and he could still very likely be *gay*?

I don't think so, do you? If Baines had said he was a *straight* licentiate you'd believe him. And the reason you reject it out of hand when he says he was gay is because you feel a personal need to do so, and not because it's intrinsically impossible.

of course this Baines guy can't be trusted. But that doesn't mean whatever he says is automatically the diametric opposite of the truth. Yes, he was trying to discredit Marlowe by saying he liked boys, but the corollary of that isn't "therefore Marlowe was straight". Baines might have been lying, OR he might have been aware M really did like boys and be using that known fact against him.

So, while we can't claim the Baines accusation *proves* Marlowe was gay, we can't either claim it can be entirely dismissed. The fact is, it's the only direct evidence about his sexuality we have, and to reject it in favour of personal conviction is unscholarly.

And that's why, when you do just that, *and* employ subtly derogatory terms to define the homosexual experience, I feel a few lines are being crossed that possibly shouldn't be.

isabel Gortazar said...

I realize that the assumptions that Marlowe was a homosexual and that William Shakespeare wrote the 36 plays in the First Folio, have made a deep impression on readers for 400 years. I am questioning both these assumptions.

The two major reasons why I started my research on the subject of Marlowe’s sexuality were: a) That the two protagonists among Marlowe’s plays with whom his cotemporaries identified him as a person were Faustus and Tamburlaine, both of whom were heterosexual, and b) that if I look at the Shakespearian plays and sonnets, they strongly suggest (to me) that their author was also heterosexual.
So, I needed to check this impression against Baine’s accusation, even though we know the accusation was deleted from the Note together with the accusation of forgery; as the accusation of forgery (first made in 1592) was probably false because Marlowe was not punished for it, one must consider the possibility that the accusation related to “Boies” also deleted, may have been false too.

One feeble, but real, bit of evidence is that if we look at the First Folio in search of how the word “boys” was spelt at the time, at least by Shakespeare (whoever he was), we find that it was spelt as “boy” or “boys”, never as “boies”.
Another feeble, but real, bit of evidence is that the word “bouse” (modern “booze”) was known at the time and, specifically used by Spencer in The Fairy Queen, when he mentions a “bousing can” from which to drink. The probably ancient Dutch word “bouse” would sound phonetically very similar to “boies” , which might conceivably mean that Marlowe had said (if he had said any such thing) “tobacco and booze” instead of the less logical pairing of “tobacco and boys”.

I am aware that possiting at this stage that Marlowe may have been straight after all is not “cool”, but if I suspect that the plays and sonnets give us information as to who their author might be, I need to know as much as possible about my candidate in order to come to a conclusion that satisfies my sense of logic.

On the other hand, I totally agree that I am a poor scholar and ten years is nothing for this difficult subject.

ElviraCardigan said...

Isabel - I appreciate you've given a lot of time over to this, which is admirable, but ultimately any theory is only as good as the evidence it's based on, not the amount of time spent analysing it, and the only actual evidence for Marlowe's sexuality is the Baines note, however inadequate that might be. It's not at all conclusive, but it's all there is.

Your 'boies' argument is sliiightly tenable, if a little strained, though it doesn't explain the other refs to homosexual 'theory' in the Baines note does it? But finding evidence that a playwright was straight based upon the sexual orientation of his characters is probably not wise ( we *could* use the method to produce stunningly revisionist biographies of Orton and Wilde though, which might be fun).

Cool, or otherwise doesn't interest me. And I don't think people become gay in pursuit of fashion status.

And by the way, it's your saying things like "Baconians don’t ever talk about the fact that their man was gay, knowing full well that, even today, this trait of his character wouldn’t favor his image" that make me feel you're not as sympathetic to the gay experience as you might be. ;-)

I have to say, on a different note, I think your study of the Othello/ Moor of Venice anomaly is very compelling, and a much more proper use of textual analysis than "look, Faust and Tamburlaine were straight, so Marlowe must have been too".

isabel Gortazar said...

The question of Marlowe’s homosexuality has been used ad nauseam by scholars and writers of a generation when being gay was still socially unacceptable.

Sentences from some historians to the effect that when Marlower died “gentlemen in England” slept safely in their beds would be inadmissible whether he was gay or not. But it so happens I honestly think he was not.

Sonnet XX, which I quote in my essay, is believed by millions of people to have been written by WS. In that sonnet, the author is, in my opinion, clearly rejecting a man as a lover not on account of the man’s individual shortcomings, or because of the author’s little regard for such man, but solely because he is “pricked for women’s pleasure”.

As long as one believes that WS wrote this sonnet, one can interpret that (even if homosexuals did/do often marry and have children) the author is a heterosexual man kindly rejecting the advances of a gay friend. But, once you start considering that “Shake-speare” was Marlowe, the same Marlowe that we all thought was a homosexual, then this sonnet does not make sense.

And that is when, if you have a curious mind, you begin to explore what actual grounds we have to believe that Marlowe was indeed a homosexual; and that is when ALL you find supporting such information is an accusation made by Baines, badly spelt, and actually deleted by the authorities together with another accusation which we have strong grounds to believe was false.

And if this still does not serve you to accept my neutrality on the subject, I will happy to agree to disagree.

BTW, thank you for your comments on Othello.

ElviraCardigan said...

Isabel - yes, actually I *know* (as I've said) that the only grounds for thinking M was gay is the Baines note, and if that was balanced by a number of his friends saying M was straight as a die then you'd have a very good point. But it isn't. There's nothing said by any contemporary to either confirm or deny any aspect of his sexuality. Which means we are left with two possibilities - either Baines was making it up or he was telling the truth - and no way of knowing which is correct.

I hear what you say about Sonnet XX, but I'm sure you can see this is inference, not evidence? I mean, even if we accept the Sonnet is by Marlowe (which is a looong way from being anything but speculative), how can we tell what he *really* meant by it? Your reading is valid, but so would be a reading that saw the writer teasing his male lover about his androgyny or sexual ambiguity. Who can possibly arbitrate which is right? How biographically significant is it that M created on of the most overtly gay protagonists in literature? You'd say it isn't significant at all. A Queer Studies author would probably say it was immensely significant and demonstrated, in conjunction with Baines, that Marlowe was a proudly homosexual man. You can't both be right, can you?

This is why I prefer to leave such 'readings' out of a man's biography. In the end they tell us only about the preoccupations of those doing the reading.

Which leaves us - sadly - with only the very poor witness, Mr Baines.

Something just occurred to me - do we know how accurate were B's other accusations? If there was a grain of truth or more in those then I guess we could tentatively infer there might also be a grain of truth in the 'boies' claim. If it was all lies then the 'boies' claim would likely be a lie also.

This line of enquiry feels a lot more solid and historical than panning for clues in the various bits of fiction M and others may have written.

ElviraCardigan said...

Just posted my reply to Isabel - and then found this...

ANONYMOUS (that most prolific of commentators) said...

"The charge of “coining” probably has some validity...His subsequent deportation under close arrest might well be the services method of getting him out without screwing his cover. Who know? But the lack of prosecution fits and also fits with the later Coroner’s fudge...It’s difficult, therefore, to know if the charge that he claimed: “they that love not Tobacco and Boies are fools” has any meaning."

So, can we say the coining accusation does seem to be based on an edited kind of truth? Does that make the 'boies' accusation slightly more likely to be also at least loosely based on fact? Can we infer Marlowe having said something like it, at some time, in Baines's hearing?

I think, right now, we'd have to say there was a weak probability that this was so, for what it's worth.

Peter Farey said...

ElviraCardigan (I do like that name) asked " we know how accurate were B's other accusations?"

I think that the accusations of his other room-mate, Kyd, might be said to back up several of them. has the details.


ElviraCardigan said...

Peter - thank you for liking the name ;-)

Good point about Kyd. It suggests there was a general idea that such accusations were the kind of thing that might stick, even if M didn't actually say the slightly puerile things quoted.

Does Marlowe, as depicted by Baines and Kyd remind anyone else of the unfortunate Joe Orton?

frank said...

Why is it always assumed that Marlowe's alleged remarks about tobacco and boys ( it has been suggested that 'boyes' means 'booze') referred to himself? Might he not have been defending his putative friend Ralegh who brought tobacco to England or to his neighbour in Norton Folgate, the earl of Oxford,condemned by his enemies as a sodomite?