Christopher Marlowe: Poet & Spy

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9780198186953: Christopher Marlowe: Poet & Spy

Christopher Marlowe's life was the most spectacular of any English dramatist. One of the great playwrights of his age, second only to Shakespeare, he was also a secret agent as well as the central figure in a murder mystery. Now, Park Honan offers the most thoroughly researched and detailed biography of Marlowe to appear in over fifty years.
Honan, the acclaimed biographer of Shakespeare, takes us from Marlowe's childhood in Canterbury to his mysterious death in Deptford, shedding much light on this shadowy individual. The book features new information on Marlowe's six-and-a-half years at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, his shocking blasphemy and his street fights, his methods of preparing himself for writing, and his alleged atheism. The book includes new facts about Marlowe's adventures on the continent, where he was caught with a counterfeit coin, a hanging offense, but talked his way out of the noose and was returned to England in irons. Honan describes his attraction to scientists such as Thomas Harriot and other hard-headed realists bent on innovation and free thought. In addition, there are new details on spies and business agents that Marlowe knew, a more exact account of the circumstances that led to his murder, and a fresh description of his evolving relationship with Shakespeare.
The author of Tamberlaine the Great and Doctor Faustus, Christopher Marlowe changed the nature of the English stage. Researched in archives in England, Europe, and the United States, this superb biography paints an unforgettable portrait of one of the most remarkable figures in English literature.

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About the Author:


Park Honan is Emeritus Professor at the School of English, University of Leeds. He has written biographies of Jane Austen, Matthew Arnold, and Robert Browning. His most recent biography, Shakespeare: A Life, was hailed as "the best available biography" (Boston Globe) and "impressively researched" (New York Times), and The Baltimore Sun wrote "If you have never read a book about William Shakespeare, please read this one."

From Publishers Weekly:

When it comes to the accumulation of apocryphal legend, few poets can compete with Christopher Marlowe: Scholars have long ruminated over evidence of his activities as a "spy, unceasing blasphemer, a tough street-fighter and courageous homosexual," not to mention his murder at age 29. In this well-crafted biography, Honan (Shakespeare: A Life) sheds light on the much-speculated (and previously erroneously reported) aspects of Marlowe's life without neglecting its more ordinary features (his stable two-parent upbringing, his diligent scholarship at Cambridge) or destroying the poet's aura of intrigue. Honan engages with the work of prior scholars, but draws his own conclusions, employing Cambridge University records, unpaid bills ("he still seems to have owed for lamb chops and beer"), and "suddenly acquired" documents to freshly reconstruct Marlowe's activities, which included arrests, brawls, imprisonments and his involvement in a counterfeiting operation in the Netherlands. Honan writes that "as a poet, Marlowe had interested himself in clandestine power, tricks, abasement, and immoral force," and by infusing his account with close readings of Tamburlaine, The Jew of Malta, Dr. Faustus and Hero and Leander, Honan explores the fascinating convergence of Marlowe's dual professions. Finally, revisiting the coroner's report and the facts surrounding Marlowe's final hours (he died after being stabbed in the face), Honan handles the poet's murder with the same attention to detail he brings to his life. The care and depth of this biography honor Marlowe's complexities-as Honan writes, "Our lives do not fit into the conventional genres of the stage, as he knew."
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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2005. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Christopher Marlowe: Poet Spy is the most thorough and detailed life of Marlowe since John Bakeless s in 1942. It has new material on Marlowe in relation to Canterbury, also on his home life, schooling, and six and a half years at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and includes fresh data on his reading, teachers, and early achievements, including a new letter with a new date for the famous putative portrait of Marlowe at Cambridge. The biography uses for the first time the Latin writings of his friend Thomas Watson to illuminate Marlowe s life in London and his career as a spy (that is, as a courier and agent for the Elizabethan Privy Council). There are new accounts of him on the continent, particularly at Flushing or Vlissingen, where he was arrested. The book also more fully explains Marlowe s relations with his chief patron, Thomas Walsingham, than ever before. This is also the first biography to explore in detail Marlowe s relations with fellow playwrights such as Kyd and Shakespeare, and to show how Marlowe s relations with Shakespeare evolved from 1590 to 1593. With closer views of him in relation to the Elizabethan stage than have appeared in any biography, the book examines in detail his aims, mind, and techniques as exhibited in all of his plays, from Dido, the Tamburlaine dramas, and Doctor Faustus through to The Jew of Malta and Edward II. It offers new treatments of his evolving versions of The Passionate Shepherd , and displays circumstances, influences, and the bearings of Shakespeare s Venus and Adonis in relation to Marlowe s Hero and Leander Throughout, there is a strong emphasis on Marlowe s friendships and so-called homosexuality . Fresh information is brought to bear on his seductive use of blasphemy, his street fights, his methods of preparing himself for writing, and his atheism and religious interests. The book also explores his attraction to scientists and mathematicians such as Thomas Harriot and others in the Ralegh-Northumberland set of thinkers and experimenters. Finally, there is new data on spies and business agents such as Robert Poley, Nicholas Skeres, and Ingram Frizer, and a more exact account of the circumstances that led up to Marlowe s murder. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780198186953

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2005. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.Christopher Marlowe: Poet Spy is the most thorough and detailed life of Marlowe since John Bakeless s in 1942. It has new material on Marlowe in relation to Canterbury, also on his home life, schooling, and six and a half years at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and includes fresh data on his reading, teachers, and early achievements, including a new letter with a new date for the famous putative portrait of Marlowe at Cambridge. The biography uses for the first time the Latin writings of his friend Thomas Watson to illuminate Marlowe s life in London and his career as a spy (that is, as a courier and agent for the Elizabethan Privy Council). There are new accounts of him on the continent, particularly at Flushing or Vlissingen, where he was arrested. The book also more fully explains Marlowe s relations with his chief patron, Thomas Walsingham, than ever before. This is also the first biography to explore in detail Marlowe s relations with fellow playwrights such as Kyd and Shakespeare, and to show how Marlowe s relations with Shakespeare evolved from 1590 to 1593. With closer views of him in relation to the Elizabethan stage than have appeared in any biography, the book examines in detail his aims, mind, and techniques as exhibited in all of his plays, from Dido, the Tamburlaine dramas, and Doctor Faustus through to The Jew of Malta and Edward II. It offers new treatments of his evolving versions of The Passionate Shepherd , and displays circumstances, influences, and the bearings of Shakespeare s Venus and Adonis in relation to Marlowe s Hero and Leander Throughout, there is a strong emphasis on Marlowe s friendships and so-called homosexuality . Fresh information is brought to bear on his seductive use of blasphemy, his street fights, his methods of preparing himself for writing, and his atheism and religious interests. The book also explores his attraction to scientists and mathematicians such as Thomas Harriot and others in the Ralegh-Northumberland set of thinkers and experimenters. Finally, there is new data on spies and business agents such as Robert Poley, Nicholas Skeres, and Ingram Frizer, and a more exact account of the circumstances that led up to Marlowe s murder. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780198186953

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