Christopher Marlowe: A Renaissance Life

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9780801439780: Christopher Marlowe: A Renaissance Life
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Christopher Marlowe (1564–1593) emerges in most accounts of his life by biographers and critics as a mysterious and sensational action figure, a hapless pawn of circumstance, or a pseudonymous cipher. Constance Brown Kuriyama's new biography reconstructs the eventful life of a radically innovative playwright who flourished briefly and died violently more than four hundred years ago, yet persists in the romantic imagination even today.

Many discoveries about Marlowe's life have emerged over the past hundred years. The author here supplements these findings with new material, placing the dramatist and poet more precisely in his historical milieu. Kuriyama interprets Marlowe's acts of violence―inexplicable though they may seem―as logical consequences of the circumstances he faced. Experience and temperament both accounted for the characteristically brash way he moved through the world.

The stringent constraints of Elizabethan society, which encouraged intense political and religious conflicts, had a great influence on Marlowe's thinking, while his ambitions were stirred by the period's unprecedented opportunities for talented individuals to rise in society. The documentary evidence assembled by Kuriyama―and made available to readers―allows her to show how Marlowe was able to take advantage of Elizabethan social mobility. In the context of Elizabethan education, society, and culture, Marlowe becomes a fully human, three-dimensional figure.

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About the Author:

Constance Brown Kuriyama is Professor of English at Texas Tech University. She is the author of Hammer or Anvil: Psychological Patterns in Christopher Marlowe's Plays, coeditor of A Poet and a Filthy Play-maker: New Essays on Christopher Marlowe, and translator and editor of The Intimate Charlie Chaplin.

Review:

"Double agents, barroom brawls, counterfeit coins, paid informants, hired henchmen, intelligence networks spanning foreign locales, and dashing gents sent on clandestine missions for Her Majesty's secret service―descriptions from the most recent James Bond film? No, just some of the disputed details from Constance Brown Kuriyama's new biography of Christopher Marlowe.... My own sense is that the actual 'facts' of the poet and playwright's life lie somewhere between the wild speculations of Marlowe's more imaginative biographer's and Kuriyama's necessary and important corrective to them."

(Robert Sawyer South Atlantic Review)

"In this more speculative life of Marlowe, Kuriyama provides insightful details into English education, politics, and religion during the Renaissance."

(Library Journal)

"Although Kuriyama devotes plenty of space to the writer's posthumous progress,... the real value of her book lies in the prevailing skepticism with which she treats her subject: the documentary evidence and the conspiracy theories favored throughout the past century."

(Michael Caines Times Literary Supplement)

"Constance Brown Kuriyama's new book on Christopher Marlowe offers a refreshing counter to some of the more speculative and conspiracy-theory oriented works of literary biography on the young playwright. In her methodological introduction she presents a candid and honest overview of the demands and pitfalls of biographical writing and illustrates some of the dangers for Marlowe scholarship of valorizing a documentary-based approach without considering the immediate context of chosen primary materials.... Kuriyama's book is clearly presented with chapters structured around successive stages of Marlowe's personal development.... As a readable introduction to the playwright's life this book offers students a highly commendable combination of both primary and secondary material."

(Matthew Woodcock Sixteenth Century Journal)

"Kuriyama has written a smart 'life' shot through with learning―a timely look at the most notorious early modern 'badboy' and his reputation."

(Studies in English Literature)

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Book Description Cornell University Press, United States, 2002. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) emerges in most accounts of his life by biographers and critics as a mysterious and sensational action figure, a hapless pawn of circumstance, or a pseudonymous cipher. Constance Brown Kuriyama's new biography reconstructs the eventful life of a radically innovative playwright who flourished briefly and died violently more than four hundred years ago, yet persists in the romantic imagination even today.Many discoveries about Marlowe's life have emerged over the past hundred years. The author here supplements these findings with new material, placing the dramatist and poet more precisely in his historical milieu. Kuriyama interprets Marlowe's acts of violence-inexplicable though they may seem-as logical consequences of the circumstances he faced. Experience and temperament both accounted for the characteristically brash way he moved through the world.The stringent constraints of Elizabethan society, which encouraged intense political and religious conflicts, had a great influence on Marlowe's thinking, while his ambitions were stirred by the period's unprecedented opportunities for talented individuals to rise in society. The documentary evidence assembled by Kuriyama-and made available to readers-allows her to show how Marlowe was able to take advantage of Elizabethan social mobility. In the context of Elizabethan education, society, and culture, Marlowe becomes a fully human, three-dimensional figure. Seller Inventory # APC9780801439780

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