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Christopher Marlowe in motion : forces that shape literary reputation and the classroom canon

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Title:
Christopher Marlowe in motion : forces that shape literary reputation and the classroom canon
Creator:
Madison, Todd
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Publisher:
University of Colorado Denver
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Language:
English

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Master's ( Master of humanities)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:
Humanities
Committee Chair:
Woodhull, Margaret
Committee Members:
Banerjee, Pompa
Movshovitz, Howie

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Abstract:
Literature teachers and professors continuously distinguish which books, poems, and plays reach their students and which do not. Often, factors unrelated to the works’ literary merit are determinative. Christopher Marlowe provides a long-range study of how writers move in and out of public and critical discussion, and how a variety of forces secure a position in the classroom canon. Marlowe’s reputation today rests not only on the force of his verse, but on his suspicious and dramatic early death, his iconoclasm, and his sexuality. These qualities have been molded by centuries of critics, publishers, theatre directors, actors, novelists, theorists, activists, and filmmakers. Consequently, the Marlowe we embrace in the 21st century is a construct— engineered in great part to separate him from his contemporary Shakespeare as a worthy figure of study, of Elizabethan repertory, and of book and ticket sales. Beneath the Marlowe persona, of course, is a foundation of consequential poetry and drama, but for Marlowe to secure a place in the classroom, his transgressive qualities must be included and celebrated. As demonstrated by queer theory’s embrace of Marlowe in the 1990s, his political potency—whether real or imagined—make him a fitting writer for our time. With such conscious attention to his life, death, and legacy, Christopher Marlowe may indeed vie with Shakespeare for a space in curricula to come.

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University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
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Copyright Todd Madison. Permission granted to University of Colorado Denver to digitize and display this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.

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CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE IN MOTION:
FORCES THAT SHAPE LITERARY REPUTATION AND THE CLASSROOM CANON
by
TODD MADISON
B.A., Washington University in St. Louis, 1983
A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Humanities Humanities Program
2018


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This thesis for the Master of Humanities degree by Todd Madison has been approved for the Humanities Program by
Margaret Woodhull, Chair Pompa Banerjee Howie Movshovitz
Date: May 12, 2018
Madison, Todd, M.A., College of Humanities


Ill
Madison, Todd (M.H., Humanities Program)
Christopher Marlowe in Motion: Forces that Shape Literary Reputation and the Classroom Canon
Thesis directed by Professor Margaret Woodhull
ABSTRACT
Literature teachers and professors continuously distinguish which books, poems, and plays reach their students and which do not. Often, factors unrelated to the works’ literary merit are determinative. Christopher Marlowe provides a long-range study of how writers move in and out of public and critical discussion, and how a variety of forces secure a position in the classroom canon. Marlowe’s reputation today rests not only on the force of his verse, but on his suspicious and dramatic early death, his iconoclasm, and his sexuality. These qualities have been molded by centuries of critics, publishers, theatre directors, actors, novelists, theorists, activists, and filmmakers. Consequently, the Marlowe we embrace in the 21st century is a construct— engineered in great part to separate him from his contemporary Shakespeare as a worthy figure of study, of Elizabethan repertory, and of book and ticket sales. Beneath the Marlowe persona, of course, is a foundation of consequential poetry and drama, but for Marlowe to secure a place in the classroom, his transgressive qualities must be included and celebrated. As demonstrated by queer theory’s embrace of Marlowe in the 1990s, his political potency—whether real or imagined—make him a fitting writer for our time. With such conscious attention to his life, death, and legacy, Christopher Marlowe may indeed vie with Shakespeare for a space in curricula to come.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication.
Approved: Margaret Woodhull


IV
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. INTRODUCTION...................................................................1
Prologue.......................................................................3
Reputation.....................................................................3
Performance History............................................................8
The Critics on Marlowe.........................................................9
II. THE LIFE OF A SINGLE POEM....................................................21
“The Passionate Shepherd” as Marlowe’s Marker.................................21
The Poem’s History............................................................22
The Poem Itself (and Its Interpretations).....................................27
Responses, Parodies, and Legacy...............................................28
The Passionate Shepherd’s Growing Reach.......................................33
The Afterlife of the Dead Shepherd............................................42
III. THE CORPUS Cl IRISH PORTRAIT................................................45
The Impact of Faces..........................................................45
The Discovery................................................................47
The Grafton Portrait.........................................................54
Mythmaking...................................................................57
The Limits of Likenesses.....................................................59
IV. MARLOWE ON STAGE, FILM AND TELEVISION........................................62
The Power of Captured Performance upon the Classroom.........................62
Derek Jarman’s Queer Edward II...............................................72
Richard Burton’s Faustus.....................................................75
From Marlowe Adapted to Marlowe Embodied.....................................77


V
Anonymous................................................................79
Will.....................................................................80
V. POLITICIZATION: THE QUEER THEORY 90s &
MARLOWE’S 21st CENTURY LIFE..............................................85
The Political Charge of Canon Selection..................................85
Queer Theory in the 1990s................................................85
Queering Marlowe.........................................................88
Edward II................................................................89
Gender Studies, Representation, and the Classroom Canon..................92
Conclusion: Marlowe’s Next Life..........................................93
BIBLIOGRAPHY.................................................................97


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LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1: The Corpus Christi Portrait................................................48
Figure 2: The Grafton Portrait.......................................................55
Figure 3: Portraits of Shakespeare...................................................59
Figure 4: Rupert Everett in Shakespeare in Love......................................77
Figure 5: Trystan Gravelle in Anonymous..............................................79
Figure 6: Jamie Campbell in Will.....................................................80


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CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Prologue
There is but a single artist of whom one may accurately write, “Stabbed in the eye after an alleged dispute over a bar bill, the playwright/spy was murdered at the height of his fame and accomplishments, leaving an absence filled by a contemporary who redirected the course of theater, poetry, and human understanding.” Christopher Marlowe is so eclipsed by the enormity of Shakespeare that for 400 years he has had to fight for a place at the public’s table. Yet the drama and intrigue of his short life have been central to his work’s survival. In an imagined alternative history—what if Marlowe had lived?—one might anticipate Marlowe growing as a writer and thinker in ways to rival Shakespeare’s richer, more mature works, but one may also see him as diminished by comparison as Ben Jonson is, i.e., as someone who outlived but does not challenge Shakespeare. Given the one history we do have, the course of Marlowe’s reputation proves to be an erratic but revealing one. It illuminates many of the methods and forces that revere some works and neglect others, that preserve some writers but forget their competitors. As constructed by a multitude of forces, the canon betrays its designers, and by investigating Marlowe in relation to history, theory, and commerce, the cultural gatekeepers’ methods become clear.
Under examination in this paper are the following factors, each proposed in general before being applied specifically to Marlowe: popular reception, early death, performance history, visual likenesses, poetic parodies and allusions, literary theory, and film adaptations. The effect of these forces upon Marlowe have commemorated, generated, regenerated, and sustained


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an artist—or at least a construct of an artist—whose life and afterlife deserve attention in every century.
Marlowe’s demise, to begin with, is an essential part of his history and what we choose to remember about him. Such a phenomenon is not rare. In Greil Marcus’ notorious, entertaining, and tasteless “Rock Death in the 1970s: A Sweepstakes” (1979), he applies a “death meter” to rate the significance of each unfortunate “non-survivor” of that decade. Measuring PC (Past Contribution), FC (likelihood of Future Contribution), and M (Manner of Death)—each on a ten-point scale—Marcus awards points to everyone from Bobby Darin (5+l+5=l 1) to Elvis (10+7+5=22). Plane crashes and murders outweigh overdoses, and youth earns higher FC scores—for some, anyway: Marcus diminishes Minnie Riperton and Tim Buckley, giving zeroes for their would-be future work, while Gram Parsons and Janis Joplin get sevens. (Parsons gets a bonus point for having his body stolen and burned in the Mojave Desert.) The champions of the list are Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Ronnie Van Zant (8, 9, 8) and Jimi Hendrix (10, 10, 5), celebrated for their artistry and their anticipated artistry to come (Marcus 63-75).
Marcus’ target is “necrophagy” itself. He is offended by not only the obsession with the deaths of the famous but also the anointing of those who insist on living, those “survivors” of a tumultuous art. In the late 70s, he writes, surviving became a signal for “empty song-protagonists, washed-up careers, third-rate LPs, [and] burnt-out brainpans” to be hailed as strong, determined, and instructive. From Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” to the band named Survivor, Marcus notes how the valorization of the dead and the survivor concept stalked the 1970s in tandem. His death meter, consequently, is his revenge: “Given the obscenity of the survivorship cult, then, why not an equal, no, a further obscenity: why merely make a study of rock deaths when one could rank them?” (60-61)


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Marcus’s conceit is brazen only in its irreverence, for the sudden deaths of artists are sometimes the most vivid thing that is known about them; and even if the artists’ work is unassailable, their deaths help define them in the public eye. Sometimes the nature of their ends even redirects how their work is interpreted. (Imagine if Marlon Brando expired in 1956 and James Dean lived until 2005, and how different their performances, influence, and iconography would live in the public mind.) For whether the subject is John Keats, Katherine Mansfield, Buddy Holly, or Jean-Michel Basquiat, a career ended too soon means both a limited corpus and an unlimited, imagined future. The short life we know is tinged with tragedy and sadness, and the unlived afterlife springs from that trauma.
The most potent example of such an artist may be Christopher “Kit” Marlowe: born in the same year as Shakespeare in 1564, schooled as a scholarship boy at Cambridge, recruited to espionage as he made his name as a poet and playwright, author of Dr. Faustus, Tamburlaine, The Jew of Malta, Edward //, and “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love,” an iconoclast targeted by the state for alleged atheism and homosexuality, and murdered at 29 under eternally mysterious circumstances in 1593. This is a figure who, if we apply Greil Marcus’ metrics, scores the highest of all: Past Contribution (an innovator), 10; Future Contribution (he may have surpassed Shakespeare), 10; Manner of Death (not only gruesome but possibly glamorous and freighted with intrigue), 10. Thirty points out of thirty. As we will see, for even a collectively imagined Marlowe to survive as a writer over the past four centuries—for his work to be performed and read—he will need that perfect score.
Reputation
Christopher Marlowe’s reputation today rests not only on the force of his verse, but on his suspicious and dramatic early death, his iconoclasm, and his sexuality. In popular and critical discourse, Marlowe is the romantic and tragic rebel in the shadow of his contemporary


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Shakespeare. What are under examination here are the forces that inflate and deflate such reputations, for artists depend on currents unattached to the merits of their own work. In these ways, artists gain or lose their places in history. At one time, James Fenimore Cooper was acclaimed as a great American novelist, yet now he is barely assigned; Buster Keaton went from fame to trivia to the pantheon; John Donne’s standing was not assured until Yeats and Eliot championed his poetry in the early 20th century; and some painters get absorbed into the calendar business while others do not. The forces that make such alterations include trends in literary theory, publishing, the marketplace, technology, the academy, personal charisma, and the collisions of history with the present. By examining such shifting conditions over the 400-year history of Marlowe’s reputation, we can attempt to grasp the intellectual life of a culture.
Precedents for the study of reputation include John Rodden’s The Politics of Literary Reputation: The Making and Claiming of “St. George” Orwell (1989). As Orwell continues to be quoted approvingly by the left and the right across the globe, Rodden addresses the author’s elevation to a status as unassailable as that of Lincoln. Rodden’s study encompasses the forces of literary reputation themselves, even apart from Orwell. He looks at the functions of politics, the academy, the canon, feminism, journalism, Hollywood, satire, publishing, and Orwellian alignments with current events and the Zeitgeist. Rodden demonstrates how Orwell’s reputation mutated from that of his own time through post-war reflections, Cold War dangers, and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Rodden also surveys those who hold Orwell in contempt (again, on both the right and the left).
Gary Taylor’s Cultural Selection: Why Some Achievements Survive the Test of Time and Some Don’t (1996) is a wide-ranging examination of many of the issues applied to this present Marlowe project. As a Shakespeare scholar, Taylor is attuned to the forces that established Shakespeare’s reputation in his own time and what has happened in the centuries since. Despite


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his specialty, Taylor is no Bardolator, and he sees little reason in the works themselves to justify Shakespeare’s preeminence over such dramatists as Aeschylus or Moliere. Taylor turns as well to matters of social and class conflicts, hierarchies of intellectual circles, and the motivations of those who claim culture for themselves. He also touches upon an expansive variety of art, from Frankenstein to the Sistine Chapel to Casablanca. Another Taylor work, Reinventing Shakespeare (1989) explores how Shakespeare’s place in the world has shifted over the centuries. He argues that Shakespeare’s position in the cultural cosmos is a construct set apart from the playwright’s specific achievements. Much of Taylor’s work here reflects usefully on Marlowe’s treatment over the same period.
In another helpful model, Samuel Schoenbaum’s Shakespeare’sLives (1991) is invaluable as it tracks the biographical versions of Shakespeare over the centuries. The reader finds that the 18th century conception of the author resembles very little the Elizabethan one, and the 20th century version is another animal indeed. Discovering how such a variety of perceptions are conjured over time is the mission of Schoenbaum’s book and the heart of this project.
Throughout the literature, one finds Marlowe’s reputation ever evolving. From Robert Greene’s 1592 paen/warning to T.S. Eliot’s 1919 deflating to the late 20th century revival, the critics have engaged with the myths and merits of Marlowe’s life and work. In 1820, William Hazlitt writes of “a lust for power in Marlowe’s writings” and emphatically favors Edward II over Shakespeare’s RichardII (O’Neill 17); elsewhere, William Empson, C.S. Lewis, George Bernard Shaw, and others have attempted to define Marlowe’s work in the shadow of Shakespeare.
Another force that propels Marlowe today is the romance of conspiracy. The conceit that Marlowe is the secret author of the plays we know to be Shakespeare’s is undying. The Marlowe Society proceeds online as a vehicle for these suppositions; homemade documentaries


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accumulate on YouTube; and counterfactual historical novels tell of entire decades of Christopher Marlowe’s life past his death at 29. Rodney Bolt’s History Play, for example, has great fun taking the Marlowe-as-Shakespeare myth as a given. By admitting the scenario as fantasy, he is unfettered by history or sense, and romps through Elizabethan and Jacobean history with a dynamic, imagined Marlowe. Anthony Burgess’s novel of Marlowe, A Dead Man in Deptford, does not need to imagine an alternative history for Marlowe, for it finds enough fuel in the richness and tragedy of such a short and dramatic life. As a work of nonfiction, Charles Nicholl’s The Reckoning is a mixture of deep scholarship and admitted speculation. His book not only chronicles Marlowe’s mysterious murder, it also pushes the playwright back into the educated layperson’s consciousness. The drama and controversies surrounding Marlowe’s death are some of the factors that keep his life and reputation compelling. Nicholl also delves deeply into the Elizabethan world itself, exposing nests of spies, courtiers, villains, and, oh yes, poets.
With regard to the fusion of Marlowe’s life and his art, Lukas Erne notes how Marlowe’s reputation is mixed in with the actions and natures of his characters: “The reception of Marlowe has often been marred by a vicious hermeneutic circle within which the play’s protagonists are read into Marlowe’s biography and the mythographic creature thus constructed informs the criticism of his plays” (Erne 28). Erne contends that such readings are simplistic, relying too heavily on Marlowe’s allegedly transgressive personality traits. He assails scholars who fall into this trap.
The most recent factor elevating Marlowe today are the textual studies of Shakespeare’s possible collaborations. In tandem with Gary Taylor’s overall project of reassessing the canon, Emma Smith and the New Oxford Shakespeare team have discovered textual evidence to suggest Shakespeare collaborated with other writers at least a third of the time. In Daniel Pollack-Pelzner’s “The Radical Argument of the New Oxford Shakespeare,” the author considers this


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approach’s anti-canonical energy. The Oxford group’s conclusion is that there was far more collaboration with other playwrights in Shakespeare’s plays than has ever been considered. Taylor and Smith argue in part to rehabilitate Marlowe’s genius, to remove him from the shadow of his rival, and to speculate how literary history might have changed if both writers lived until their fifties. Taylor says, “At the start of his career, it’s by no means clear that Shakespeare is the greater writer. If Marlowe had an additional twenty years, we could imagine him providing very different canonical models of histories, tragedies, and comedies” (Pollack-Pelzner).
If this revelation (based on data-mining texts using computers tuned to writers’ particular styles) continues, Marlowe could be ascendant. He could then be marked as a much greater voice in Elizabethan literature, including in plays assigned (until now) solely to Shakespeare. Stanley Wells’ Shakespeare & Co. proceeds on similar assumptions, as he gives the entire assembly of the era’s playwrights their due recognition, while Stephen Greenblatt’s Will in the World investigates in detail how the playwrights of the day competed, collaborated, thrived, and failed, all under the Elizabethan surveillance state that adds so much drama to Marlowe’s biography.
In “Marlowe Now,” Paul Menzer writes in 2013 that current Marlowe scholarship is a combination of “skullduggery or boy-buggery,” producing “a deviant Marlowe, whose racy pronouncements and shadow demise position him on the outskirts of Elizabethan respectability, a fugitive from the past and a harbinger of our contemporary preoccupations” (357). Menzer examines most closely how Marlowe’s death—as violent as those of his characters—dominates how we treat the playwright today. This is particularly dramatic when we contrast his end with Shakespeare’s quiet retirement. Thus the “jagged edges” of Marlowe’s life and death fuel political readings of his work; recent productions of Edward II are hailed for their “heroic sexual politics” and their “critique of state power and class privilege” (Menzer 360). This obscures the true Marlowe legacy:


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Imagine a Marlowe at the height of his powers, his work in its full maturity, a subsequent dark period, and a late autumn harvest. Imagine Marlowe at forty or fifty.
But that is to revise Marlowe’s ending as well, to project that Marlowe I want onto the Marlowe we have. There is no end to the pleasures of what survives of Marlowe. And that is enough. (Menzer 363-64)
Menzer reminds the reader of the myth-making that attends other artists’ early deaths, and urges clear-eyed consideration of the work rather than what might have been.
Performance History
The movies have a special relationship to literature. They can define a novel’s hero for a generation (for most, McMurphy will always be Jack Nicholson and Sophie will always be Meryl Streep); they can resurrect neglected works (Jane Austen’s Love and Friendship) and they can entomb even the most thrilling books (see Midnight’s Children, or any version of Moby Dick). Their presence can also help cement classic status (imagine if To Kill a Mockingbird was never made into the well-loved movie, or, worse yet, if the movie of the book were dreadful). Authors can enjoy a vogue in the cinema as well (Forster and Austen had sizable runs in the 80s and 90s, for example), while others miss out entirely on the transfer to the moving picture.
IMDb (the Internet Movie Database) tallies that William Shakespeare’s plays have been made into 1,264 productions (including television and filmed plays). Of those are 410 big-screen adaptations. For Christopher Marlowe, IMDb identifies only 13 adaptations, eight of which are based on Dr. Faustus. Of those titles, Marlowe has a grand total of two major movie productions—the 1966 Faustus with Richard Burton, and Derek Jarman’s 1991 EdwardII.
A similar disparity exists in the number of stage productions each author is accorded. Of course, Shakespeare is proven to fill houses, while Marlowe is not. The demand of audiences for the familiar, for the pre-approved, is an important part of our culture’s intellectual life. A symphony’s need, for example, to showcase Mozart and even John Williams over less audience-friendly fare is another mark of a narrowing culture that assigns some major artists to oblivion.


The history of Marlowe productions over the centuries highlights that battle between art and the market.
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The question about cultural selection draws upon not only literature, film, and art studies, but also economics, history, sociology, technology, and perhaps even philosophy. Since one cannot read everything, instructors at every level must decide what books to assign and what books to omit. The variables that proclaimed Sinclair Lewis a Nobel Prize winner are the same that mark him today for storage-room limbo. This is also true for what hangs or does not hang in museums, what words actors are trained to memorize, and which artists attain immortality. The items listed above are each part of this fluid phenomenon.
The Critics on Marlowe
If Marlowe had not been murdered so soon he would very probably have been burned alive. It was not hard for him to imagine hell fire.
—William Empson (quoted in O’Neill 218)
Despite his status as the premiere “playmaker” of his day (offered as a running gag at his rival’s expense in Shakespeare in Love), Christopher Marlowe’s sudden death received little public heed. In fact, his burial was modest and barely attended. We may imagine that the news brought great upset to his community of writers, players, and theatre-goers, but no acknowledgements or tributes are recorded for many weeks after the Deptford event.
In The Reckoning: The Murder of Christopher Marlowe (1992), Charles Nicholl aims to account for all we know about what occurs before, during, and after Marlowe’s death. After detailing the unsavory reputations of those in Marlowe’s company that day (a trio of grifters and spies), and exploring the accusations of heresy and buggery (made by Thomas Kyd and Richard Baines) that led to Marlowe’s interrogation and a sort of probation (reporting weekly to his inquisitors), Nicholl reveals how the shapers of public opinion first reported the crime.


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Nicholl notes that since most Elizabethan writing has disappeared, we cannot be sure of
what was expressed in the immediate aftermath of Marlowe’s May 1593 death. In the weeks
following, he received tribute in poems that circulated privately (discussed below), but our
earliest recorded public accounts were primarily fuel for Puritan propaganda: Marlowe’s bloody
end was simply justice for a sinner. Significantly, the zealots that approved of Marlowe’s fate
have helped stabilize the rebel’s standing ever since. The most influential attack was published in
1597, when the Puritan cleric Dr. Thomas Beard wrote The Theatre of God’s Judgments, an
accounting of the sinners and transgressors who had earned God’s wrath. Among his litany was
one Christopher Marlowe, asking the reader “to see what a hook the lord put in the nostrils of
this barking dog” (Nicholl 65). Beard described Marlowe’s fate with some satisfaction:
It so fell out that in London streets, as he purposed to stab one whom he ought to grudge unto with his dagger, and other party perceiving, so avoided the stroke that withal catching hold of his wrist, he stabbed his own dagger into his own head, in such sort that notwithstanding all the means of surgery that could be wrought, he shortly died thereof. (Nicholl 65)
Nicholl notes discrepancies from the more verifiable story (Marlowe did not stab himself, and the incident took place up the Thames in Deptford), but Beard was the first to draw the incident in terms of a knife-fight with other unruly sorts. Beard also adopted the official inquest’s conclusions that Marlowe was killed in self-defense—a claim made by the crime’s only witnesses, the very men who worked together in skullduggery and conspiracy, including of course the man wielding the knife. The coroner accepted the killer’s version of events, and Beard adopted it for religious reasons. Beard next invented a flourish—the stubborn sinner dying without grace: “[Marlowe] even cursed and blasphemed to his last gasp, and together with his breath an oath flew out of his mouth” (Nicholl 66). Beard’s stirring condemnation was popular and often repeated in the years to come, as Marlowe came to be known more widely not just as
an artist but as a damned man.


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In 1598, Francis Meres added another touch to this larval mythmaking, claiming Marlowe “was stabbed to death by a bawdy serving-man, a rival to his and his lewd love” (Nicholl 67). Meres sustained Beard’s verdict that Marlowe’s vices brought about his death (making “a pitiful end, our tragical poet Marlowe for his epicureanism and atheism had a tragical death”) (Nicholl 67). Nicholl gives credit to Meres’ version for its setting and method, but Ingram Frizer—the stabber—was in fact a gentleman, not a serving-man, and the witnesses (including the killer) said the dispute was over money rather than love. The “lewd love” Meres identified hints at the otherwise unspoken allegations of Marlowe’s homosexuality, which added more to what will be remembered in the years to come. Nicholl notes that in these early years a version of Marlowe was taking shape:
These stories are in themselves only hearsay, but once enshrined on the printed page they become something more. Five years after his death, the consensus view on Christopher Marlowe—unless you happened to know otherwise—was that he had died on the streets of London in a fight over some rent-boy (Nicholl 68).
Historians will later correct these details, but these early tales began to cement the overall
impression of Marlowe as a dangerous transgressor. That reputation has survived the centuries
and lives today. For example, in the 2017 television drama Will, Marlowe is represented as a
glam-rock mentor to a punk-rock Shakespeare, as he dashes from theatres to occult meetings to
brawls to sexual romps to intense solitary writing sessions. The show uses Marlowe as naughty
and dangerous inspiration—doomed to thrill and to die. It is probable that it is Marlowe’s
notoriety, rather than his art, that made him a co-star with the mighty Shakespeare. Yet this
factor only makes the persona of Marlowe visible (for things like lively and irreverent TV
shows); over time, for scholars, critics, and audiences, this infamy also informs Marlowe’s
standing as an artist and thinker.


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Alongside the Puritan campaign to claim Marlowe as both sinner and cautionary tale (a campaign designed in part to intimidate other oversteppers, most especially Thomases Nashe and Kyd) others busily praised Marlowe’s gifts. In private correspondence and private poetry, several writers celebrated his greatness on the page. Two of Marlowe’s contemporaries and friends, George Peele and Thomas Nashe, wrote the earliest epitaphs. Just three weeks after Marlowe’s death, Peele writes, “unhappy in thine end,/Marley, the Muses darling, for thy verse/Fit to write passions for the souls below” (Nicholl 51-52).
Meanwhile, so as not to align himself too closely to his old Cambridge classmate, Nashe disguised his own tribute, using Pietro Aretino as a stand-in for Marlowe. Nicholl writes that Aretino was a noted Italian satirist from decades before, celebrated for his talents but condemned for his atheism and pornography (Nicholl 54). Aretino had previously been used as a Marlowe avatar during the playwright’s life; Gabriel Harvey in 1592 wrote censoriously of the “atheist Aretine” (Marlowe) who with his friend “the Devil’s Orator” (Nashe), “domineer in taverns and stationers’ shops... [and] scare multitudes of plain folks... with their scoffing and girding” (Nicholl 52). Harvey even alluded to Doctor Faustus (“Come, I think Hell’s a fable.. .be not afeard of bug-bears and scarecrows”) with his own “O wretched atheism! Hell but a scarecrow and heaven but a wonder-clout in their doctrine” (Nicholl 55). Nashe’s posthumous link of Marlowe to Aretino, of course, was quite different. He wrote of Marlowe with fondness and admiration. “One of the wittiest knaves God ever made,” Nashe wrote, before settling in on his friend’s literary impact:
His pen was sharp-tongued like a poignard. No leaf he wrote on but was like a burning-glass to set on fire all his readers. With more than musket-shot did he enlarge his quill where he meant to inveigh.. .He was no timorous servile flatterer of the commonwealth wherein he lived. His tongue & his invention were foreborn: what they thought they would confidently utter. Princes he spared not, that in the least point transgressed.
(Nicholl 55)


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Nashe concluded defiantly against those who condemn and judge, not only defending Marlowe from charges of atheism but attacking the religious wave sweeping the land: “Puritans, spew forth the venom of your dull inventions... Your malice hath not a clear dram of any inspired disposition” (Nicholl 56). Before long, however, Nicholl writes that Nashe had to quickly alter his rhetorical course, since such sentiments could invite him to the Tower. In presumably an act of self-preservation, Nashe wrote Christ’s Tears Over Jerusalem, a pious polemic that lamented the impudence of atheists like his old friend (Nicholl 57).
Among the few recorded documents rests another tribute to Marlowe, written just a few months after the Deptford murder. Thomas Edwards alluded to Marlowe’s own Hero and Leander: “Amyntas and Leander’s gone/Oh dear sons of stately kings,/Blessed be your nimble throats/That so amorously could sing” (Nicholl 52-53). Such sentiments confirm that the celebration of Marlowe’s work began immediately, comingling over time with (and sometimes enriched by) indictments and lamentations.
In the year before Marlowe’s death, Robert Greene called him “thou famous gracer of Tragedians” while admonishing, “Why should thy excellent wit, [God’s] gift, be so blinded that thou shouldst give no glory to the giver? Is it pestilent Machiavellian policy that thou hast studied?” (Robert Greene, 1592, cited in O’Neill 3—Note: all O’Neill citations come from Critics on Marlowe, a collection of primary sources edited by Judith O’Neill). Here we see both tales intertwined: the genius poet, damned with each unrepentant verse. As the decades after Marlowe’s death followed, the tributes kept coming while the scolding faded to a background hum, ever-present but not prominent enough to define him as a debauched scoundrel. By the 17th century, Marlowe was in the pantheon, warts and all. In 1627, Michael Drayton wrote,
Neat Marlowe bathed in the Thespian springs
Had in him those brave translunary things
That the first Poets had, his raptures were


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All air and fire, which made his verses clear,
For that fine madness still did he retain,
Which rightly should possess a Poet’s brain.
(O’Neill 13)
William Prynne celebrated a 1633 production of Doctor Faustus, writing of “that fearful night”
where he saw “the great amazement” of the play (O’Neill 13). By 1675 we have Edward Phillips
writing of Marlowe as “a kind of second Shakespeare.. .though inferior both in Fame and Merit”
before praising Faustus and especially Hero andLeander for its “clear and unsophisticated wit”
(O’Neill 13). In a 1691 essay, however, Anthony A. Wood was intent on diminishing Marlowe
even further in contrast to Shakespeare by thoroughly reviving tales of the atheist and
troublemaker while parroting the untrue version of the murder, calling it a lover’s quarrel that
resulted in a battle with a pimp (O’Neill 14).
The ensuing century saw very much the same insinuation and degradation of Marlowe’s
character, with critics once again infusing their judgments of Marlowe’s work with their
judgments of his wicked life, often blaming his deficiencies (especially in contrast with
Shakespeare) on his corrupted soul, or, at the very least, his desire for mischief. In The History of
English Poetry (1781), Thomas Warton wrote,
His tragedies manifest traces of a just dramatic conception, but they abound with tedious and uninteresting scenes, or with such extravagancies as proceed from a want of judgment, and those barbarous ideas of the times.. .Marlowe’s wit and spriteliness of conversation had often the unhappy effect of tempting him to sport with sacred subjects; more perhaps from the preposterous ambition of courting the casual applause of profligate and unprincipled companions, than from any systemic disbelief of religion. (O’Neill 14)
Warton tut-tuts the Puritans’ simplistic interpretation of Marlowe’s murder being God’s wrath, before going on to note the then-weakened impact of Faustus, a play that dominated the end of the 16th century but “now only frightens children at a puppet-show in a country-town” (O’Neill 15). Yet the case was alive in intellectual circles of the time. Warton’s judgments prompted a


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response from a critic who, while respecting Marlowe “as an ingenious poet,” demanded the record show Marlowe as a deviant (O’Neill 15).
What follows in the early 19th century and beyond are critics who negotiated their admiration of Marlowe’s work with their wariness of his notoriety. The question of how much infamy is earned or unearned is also arbitrated. Charles Lamb and William Hazlitt traded conjectures as they celebrated the richness of Marlowe’s best plays, particularly Edward II.
What began at this time was a shift in critical consensus: Marlowe’s brilliance.
Marlowe’s personal transgressions were now not something to lament—a blight on his genius— but rather an essential component of that genius, as well as a catalyst for Marlowe’s dramatic vision. In 1808, Lamb attributed the richness of Doctor Faustus in part due to its author’s abhorred inclinations:
Marlowe is said to have been tainted with atheistical positions, like Faustus, to have denied God and the Trinity. To such a genius the history of Faustus must have been delectable food; to wander in fields where curiosity is forbidden to go, to approach the dark gulf near enough to look in, to be busied in speculations which are the rottenest part of the core of the fruit that fell from the tree of knowledge. (O’Neill 17)
A decade later, Nathan Drake called Faustus “the product of a mind inflamed by unhallowed
curiosity, and an eager irreligious desire of invading the secrets of another world, and so far
gives credence to the imputations which have stained the memory of its author.” Drake hailed the
play as “emerging from the gulf of lawless spirits,” making the “heart shudder [and] the hair
involuntarily to start erect” (O’Neill 16). This conception of play and playmaker united them as
dark kindred spirits, helping to separate the writer Marlowe from not only his contemporaries but
any possible descendants. Drake thought that Marlowe’s following of “bad models” in life
“condemned him.. .to an obscurity from which is not likely to emerge” (O’Neill 16), but
Marlowe’s life has embellished his work for centuries, and may be the key factor in his
occasional bursts of appreciation and visibility.


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In 1820, William Hazlitt addressed the art/notoriety fusion: “There is a lust for power in [Marlowe’s] writings, a hunger and thirst after unrighteousness, a glow of the imagination, unhallowed by anything but its own energies. His thoughts burn within him like a furnace with bickering flames; or throwing out black smoke and mists, that hide the dawn of genius, or like a poisonous mineral, corrode the heart” (O’Neill 17). Such sentiments could not be expressed about Shakespeare, for his work is so expansive that only singular plays or pages earn such description. Marlowe’s complete works, on the other hand, are few and concentrated, and they attracted interpretations like Hazlitt’s into their narrow orbits. Hazlitt favored Faustus (“his greatest work”) over Edward //, but states that the standards of the day (1820) had decreed the latter as “Marlowe’s best play,” thanks to it being “smooth and flowing... with few offences” (O’Neill 18). Yet although EdwardII lacked for Hazlitt the corrosive (and irresistible) dangers of Faustus, he celebrated the king’s death-scene, particularly in regard to Shakespeare: “[The] death of Edward II.. .is certainly superior to that of Shakespeare’s King in Richard II; and in heartbreaking distress, and the sense of human weakness, claiming pity from utter helplessness and conscious misery, is not surpassed by any writer whatever” (O’Neill 18).
In 1830, James Broughton wrote a five-part series for Gentlemen’s Magazine, in which he recounted Marlowe’s biography and interpreted his plays. His mission included an attempt to alter the conventional view of Marlowe by making Marlowe a more conventional artist. Broughton aimed to wash the alleged sins away. After his many exertions, he concluded:
That my feeble arguments will suffice wholly to wipe from his memory the stigma with which for upwards of two centuries it has been branded, I cannot so far flatter myself as to suppose. Many.. .will doubtless remain unconvinced; while others...will continue to take for granted the current tale of his enormities.. .My end, however, will be accomplished, should but some few be induced to pause ere they condemn him. (O’Neill 18)


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This goal helped usher in another stream of Marlowe appreciation: his role as an innovator. By acknowledging Marlowe as a visionary in verse, it became easier (particularly in Victorian times) to excuse the excesses of his life and his characters.
Marlowe’s “mighty line” transformed blank verse. Henry Hallam pronounced in 1834 that Marlowe was the indisputable master of the form, for he gave it “a variety of cadence, and an easy adaption of the rhythm to the sense, by which it instantly became in his hands the finest instrument that the tragic poet has ever employed for his purpose” (O’Neill 18). Later, J. H. Leigh Hunt wrote that Marlowe and Spenser were the first poets “who perceived the beauty of words.” Marlowe matched the spiritual with a “corresponding felicity,” Hunt continued, accumulating images into a “deliberate and lofty grandeur.” Tis a shame, he added in an aside, about all the atheism (O’Neill 19).
Marlowe’s importance as a writer persevered as the decades passed. “Superior to all who came before him,” wrote Alexander Dyce in 1850, Marlowe was heralded for the “nerve and variety of his versification,” his blank verse being “the chief creation of English literary art,” absorbed by Shakespeare, becoming “the lifeblood of our literature.. .Marlowe’s place is at the heart of English poetry, and his pulses still thrill in our verse” (O’Neill 19). Algernon Swinburne shared even more sweeping praise, as he contrasted Marlowe with those contemporaries who were not Shakespeare:
Marlowe differs from such little people [Greene and Peele] not in degree, but in kind; not as an eagle differs from wrens or titmice, but as an eagle differs from frogs or tadpoles. He first, and he alone, gave wings to English poetry; he first brought into its serene and radiant atmosphere the new strange element of sublimity. (O’Neill 20)
Swinburne’s praise helped firm Marlowe’s reputation as the century turned.
An influential shaper of literary opinion in the early 20th century was T. S. Eliot, who did
more, for example, to add the near-forgotten John Donne to the pantheon than any other critic.


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When it came to Marlowe, Eliot elaborated on the playwright’s innovations in meter and expression, giving “blank verse the melody of Spenser, and he gets a new driving power by reinforcing the sentence period against the line period.” Marlowe, Eliot contended, broke blank verse away “from the rhymed couplet, and from the elegiac or rather pastoral.” All of these moves helped establish the distinct Marlovian energies of the plays, what Eliot called “pure Marlowe”—breaking up lines, jiggering intensities, and developing “a new and important conversational tone,” particularly in Faustus (O’Neill 22). Eliot also expressed the now common had-he-lived rumination, as he wondered what might have been if the playwright had escaped the Deptford knife:
[The] direction in which Marlowe’s verse might have moved, had he not “dyed swearing,” is quite un-Shakespearian, is toward this intense and serious and indubitably great poetry which, like some great painting and sculpture attains its effects by something not unlike caricature. (O’Neill 23)
Eliot’s use of “caricature” will later be echoed by such critics as Harold Bloom, who admonish
Marlowe for his crude scenarios and protagonists, particularly put next to Shakespeare’s all-
encompassing humanity, nuance, and understanding. Eliot himself was rather critical of
Shakespeare on that score, so it is illustrative to observe his enthusiasm for the lesser light.
In 1930, C.F. Tucker Brooke marveled at Marlowe’s ability to condense “an entire lyric
into a single glorious verse,” writing “mighty lines which glitter and writhe like burnished living
serpents” (O’Neill 26). Brooke provided many examples of “breathlessness in ten syllables”:
“Was this the face that launched a thousand ships?”
“Tis magic, magic, that has ravished me.”
“And ride in triumph through Persepolis.”
“The sweet fruition of an earthly crown.”
“Still climbing after knowledge infinite.”
“Infinite riches in a little room.”
“A God is not so glorious as a king.”
“I’d give them all for Mephistophilis.”
“And all is dross that is not Helena.”
“There is no music to a Christian’s knell!”


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“Break heart, drop blood, and mingle it with tears.”
“But stay while, let me be king till night.”
Brooke also expressed another assessment that had taken hold over the previous century, and one
which secured both appreciation and depreciation for Marlowe’s work, i.e., here is a playwright
who shines in part but not in whole. Brooke wrote,
The most useful aesthetic criticism (for Marlowe) is therefore not that which concerns the total effect conveyed by this work of borrowed plot and rather composite style, but that which deals with the many illuminating individual passages where we see the impact of Virgil’s splendid gravity upon the most exuberantly romantic of the Elizabethan dramatists, or mark the blend of ardent impulse with austere intellectual insight that best defines Marlowe’s view of life... (O’Neill 27)
Critics had endorsed this view many times before. Drake cited passages that overcame
Marlowe’s “diabolism” with “great moral sublimity.. .in which Milton seems to have fixed his
eyes” (O’Neill 27). Critics regularly called Marlowe an “unequal” writer—meaning
inconsistent—who only “in detached passages and single scenes, rather than in any of his pieces
taken as a whole, that he displays the vast richness and vigour of his genius” (O’Neill 17),
because his dramas “are mostly series of scenes held together by the poetic energy of his own
dominating personality” (O’Neill 21). Like Shakespeare, these critics said, Marlowe borrowed
plots, characters, and conflicts, but unlike Shakespeare, he could not sustain his own vision over
five acts. In other words, we think of Lear and Othello as the agonizing subjects of their own
plays, but it is Marlowe himself—not Tamburlaine, Edward, or Faustus—who fills the role of the
protagonist in each of his own works.
William Empson promoted a particular interpretive window for Marlowe in 1946. He also gave a glimpse of how Marlowe’s sexuality and sexual themes were addressed at that time. Focusing on Edward IF s climax, when the king is stripped, imprisoned, bullied and abused, and is ultimately sodomized by a hot poker, Empson wrote,


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The last act.. .is a crescendo of horror, seen as a punishment deserved by Edward because of his exorbitant love of his favourites. The obscene torture by which he is at last killed is an appalling parody of the homosexual act, and while it is being done the text presumes that the actor will wring the nerves of the audience by his yells: “I fear me that his cry will rouse the town”.. .This does not mean that Marlowe agreed with his audience that the punishment was deserved. Edward gives a long list of classical precedents for his tastes: “The Roman Tully loved Octavius” and so on; it seems clear that Marlowe felt a good deal of Renaissance snobbery about the matter.. .The unmentionable sin for which the punishment was death was the proper thing to do. (O’Neill 118)
Empson concluded by demanding more from his fellow critics. There was no value anymore in
avoiding unmentionable sins:
There are two occasions in the plays when Marlowe piles up the horror in this way, the deaths of Faustus and Edward, and they die because of the two crimes for which Marlowe stood boastfully and defiantly in peril of death. It seems to me that this is the primary fact about his work, and that a critic who muffles it up, from whatever kindly intentions, cannot be saying anything important about him. (O’Neill 119)
Marlowe’s atheism and homosexuality, whether real or merely rumored, must be part of every
critic’s inquiry. Empson’s recommendation found its adherents, and the richness these elements
have added to Marlowe study in last 50 years has helped restore Marlowe to the primacy of
English letters and dramatic vision. What’s more, as we will see in later chapters, the vitality of
this more expansive version of Marlowe helps promise a more visible presence in classroom
instruction.


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CHAPTER II
THE LIFE OF A SINGLE POEM “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” as Marlowe’s Marker
Classroom canons are dependent upon what teachers have available to them, and since budgets drive class sets, anthologies and textbooks exert a powerful influence on which writers are assigned and which writers are omitted. Where Christopher Marlowe persists over time, despite the evolving interests in his dramas and persona, is in the canon of poems that never fade. In virtually every poetry anthology that intends to survey the course of English-language verse, Marlowe is present. In fact, over the past fifty years of quantifying which poems are in circulation, Marlowe’s “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” consistently resides in the top ten, even as other poems and poets rise and fall. The 1998 Columbia Granger’s Index to Poetry, which measures how often poems are included in textbooks and collections, ranked “The Passionate Shepherd” as the fourth most anthologized poem, trailing only Keats’ “To Autumn,” Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan,” and Keats’ “La Belle Dame runs Merci.” Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” followed in fifth place, but the nearest Shakespeare sonnet (among many on the list) finished twenty-fourth (Harmon 7). To demonstrate Marlowe’s staying power, the 1988 Granger Index placed “The Passionate Shepherd” ninth on a list topped by Blake’s “The Tyger,” with Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73 nestling in fourth place.
As someone who relies on poetry anthologies both as a literature major and as a classroom teacher, I witness the power they possess in directing curriculum. (After all, one teaches what the department budget affords.) And what students read, study, and write about is dependent upon a semi-official pantheon of verse. This core of poems demonstrates not only the evolution of poetry but the evolution of human troubles, passions, and understanding. In a survey


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course, students likely read a handful of Donnes and Wordsworths and Brownings, as they navigate their path to the Frosts and Bishops of the twentieth century. Along the way, some poets are marked for posterity by one particular masterwork. Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress,” Herrick’s “To the Virgins,” and Marlowe’s “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” are of that family. But in the thicker volumes that include more Marvells and Herricks, there is still but one Marlowe. And because Marlowe’s poem is so popular and influential, it has secured its writer’s place (to a degree) in high schools and universities. One might even say that, because the poem is generally the only piece of his that is assigned {Dr. Faustus and EdwardII having little to no place in secondary schools or survey classes), “The Passionate Shepherd” has become a stand-in, or marker, for a formidable career that is otherwise commonly eclipsed. It is as if to say,
Marlowe was here, as was Donne and some other fellows. Now, let’s get back to Shakespeare.
The Poem’s History
In the version typically presented today, the poem is an invitation to a catalogue of pleasures:
Come live with me and be my love, And we will all the pleasures prove That hills and valleys, dales and fields, Woods or steepy mountain yields.
And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks By shallow rivers to whose falls Melodious birds sing madrigals.
And I will make thee beds of roses And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cup of flowers and a kirtle Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle.


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A gown made of the finest wool Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair-lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold.
A belt of straw and ivy-buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs;
An if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.
Thy silver dishes for thy meat,
As precious as the gods do eat,
Shall on an ivory table be Prepared each day for thee and me.
The shepherd-swains shall dance and sing For thy delight each May-morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me, and be my love.
(Marlowe 207)
“The Passionate Shepherd” continues to be read as a sweet love poem, wherein a suitor summons his promises from countryside ideals, careful to avoid any suggestion of rural struggles. But the poem’s imagery and structure have also invited critics to contemplate the speaker’s entire cosmology, while Marlowe’s iambic tetrameter and rhyme give the verse a musical form as essential to its long-lasting status as its conjuring of an eternal spring.
In the centuries after the poem’s publication, it achieved an after-life distinct to its essence and to its author, helping Marlowe sustain his profile no matter the era. In 1925, R.S. Forsythe recounted this history and accounted for the poem’s legacy. He identifies its immediate classical source as Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Book XIII, which tells the tale of the Cyclops shepherd Polyphemus courting the nymph Galatea. Forsythe proclaims Marlowe’s work as one of the earliest and certainly the most influential of the English-language pastorals. It was not published until 1599, years after Marlowe’s death, but Forsythe cites evidence that the poem was already popular in the late 1580s, “between the appearance of Tamburlaine and The Jew of


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Malta, that is to say, probably in 1588” (701). It was known at that time as a popular song, set to music, and Robert Greene borrows from it in his 1589 play Menaphon. After locating echoes and sketches of the poem’s sentiments in many of Marlowe’s own works, Forsythe writes that in the centuries since its composition the poem has “permeated literature,” exercising an influence “equaled by that of few poems,” even helping to create a literary device—“the invitation to love”—which continues to exist in Marlovian form today. Dozens of other poets have elevated the original’s profile by explicitly answering Marlowe in distinct and creative ways, beginning with Raleigh’s “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd” in 1600 and extending to the present.
What accounts for such popularity? The precision of Marlowe’s images, the directness and music of the simple rhyme scheme, the meter that finds its voice in the many songs given these words—all combine to project Marlowe’s poem into its multiple resonances. It stands as a pastoral, a lyric, an air, a love poem, a carpe diem poem, a come-on, a fantasy, a lament, a vision of the world. The poem invites readers into its multiple welcoming arms. In 1965, A. L. Rowse demonstrates how the poem can reach across generations to evoke the deepest of feelings. Rowse celebrates the poem as “haunting.. .full of nostalgia and longing for what can never be” (124), marveling that this is the work that has moved more readers of Marlowe than anything else in his canon (125). Rowse even seems to project his own personal anxieties onto Marlowe’s words. A closeted homosexual in the mid-20th century, Rowse unites emotionally with what Marlowe may have been experiencing in his own time:
It needs no very subtle psychological perception to understand why this perfect lyric exerts more power upon the human heart than anything else Marlowe ever wrote: it reaches down to the levels of the unconscious, of desire and dream; it has pathos along with extreme beauty: Marlowe must often have known loneliness, reached out a hand, and found no one there. (125)
That Marlowe’s invitation to love can produce such poignant responses is testament to the poem’s delicacy and range. After the parade of promises (“beds of roses,” an embroidered cap of


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flowers, “melodious birds,” “a gown made of the finest wool,” as well as coral, ivory, amber, gold, and silver), the speaker’s “if’ in “If these delights thy mind may move” makes everything hinge on an uncertainty, which deflates all of the preceding proposals. By conveying such ironies and ambiguities in its verse, Marlowe’s poem remains ripe for argument and exploration.
Many scholars have also noted the presence of Cambridge training in the poem’s sources and allusions, and Marlowe’s translations share some of the same priorities (Wraight & Stern 78). Rowse extinguishes talk that Shakespeare wrote this poem (the original publishers named “W.S.” as the author) by noting that the speaker’s fancies are those of a city intellectual’s idea of pastoral life, not those of a country boy from Stratford. The “images have Marlowe’s jeweled precision,” he writes, evoking “Virgil’s Second Epilogue, where Corydon invites Alexis to live with him and be his love” (124). A country boy like Shakespeare would never be so inauthentic; Marlowe was inspired by the classics, not by fields of green and flocks of sheep. Consequently, the poem is not only a conditional plea (“if’) but also a vision of an inaccessible ideal.
If Rowse joins and fortifies the consensus that the poem is not only Marlowe’s but specifically reflects its maker, Adam G. Hooks targets the entire notion of Marlowe’s authorship. In 2012. Hooks, an historian of books and other material objects of Early Modern literature, challenged the attribution as another example of “trying to find Marlowe where he is not” (1). By forcing interpretations to suit Marlowe’s rebel-scholar image, we are doing a disservice to history, to scholarship, and to the real Marlowe himself. Associating the poem as we know it with the songs, ballads, and other orally circulated texts of its day, Hooks suggests that Marlowe’s name eventually landed on something that was already in circulation (2). For Hooks, this action would become part of the phenomenon of Marlowe being “constructed over the centuries” as “more of a collection of myths than as an historical figure” (5).


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The most famous allusions to Marlowe in Shakespeare’s work fall under Hooks’ scrutiny. He suggests that the “dead shepherd” referred to in As You Like If s allusion (to Marlowe’s Hero andLeander)—“Dead shepherd, now I find thy saw of might/Who ever loved, that loved not at first sight? (III.v.81-82)—may just as likely be “Indeed, shepherd” or “’Deed, shepherd” (3).
The allusion to Marlowe remains (his mighty line, quoted intact), but the association with his murder is lost. Hooks writes that such textual instability affects and even undermines our perception of Marlowe, and because his works were attributed posthumously, “Marlowe is an ideal test case for measuring the impact of other agencies in the construction of an authorial persona” (3). Digging through As You Like It, Hooks also rejects the association with Touchstone’s “a great reckoning in a little room” (Ill.iii. 12) with Marlowe’s death, noting that the inquest’s description of the 1593 fatal quarrel as “le recknynge” was not widely known—as far as we can tell—until the document’s discovery in the 1920s (7). Such are the ways, Hooks writes, that we match what we learn with the myths we already believe.
As for “The Passionate Shepherd,” Hooks argues that modern conceptions of authorship are inapplicable to early-modernity. Noting the poem’s unattributed circulation in the years before Marlowe’s death, Hooks writes, “Taking the material forms of the poem seriously requires an acknowledgment that the poem did not require an author. Reading the poem only as Marlowe’s limits our understanding of its place in other economies beyond literary authorship”
(3).
To illustrate the ambiguity of the text’s origins, we need only look to its first appearances. The “Passionate Shepherd” changed forms between its first publication in 1599’s The Passionate Pilgrime, where it was attributed to Shakespeare, and in 1600’s Englands Helicon, where it is attributed to “Chr. Marlow” and where “The Nymph’s Reply” is credited to “Ignoto.” This is the only textual citation to Marlowe until 1653’ s Compleat Angler, when names


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are fixed evermore: “Kit Marlow” for the first poem, and “Sir Walter Raleigh” (“in his younger days”) for the second.
Hooks is in fact modest in his claims, announcing his attentions as merely “(kind of)
arguing that Marlowe did not write” the poem. For him the questions about attribution raise more
relevant points than who gets the credit for something so popular and influential:
If we must consider “The Passionate Shepherd” as Marlowe’s, then, we should consider it as his version of a traditional and well-known cultural artifact—one that would circulate in an extraordinary number of versions after him (and, perhaps, before him?), versions which do not proclaim any affinity to Marlowe... (Hooks 7)
The poem’s place in anthologies is always marked “by Christopher Marlowe,” so in the absence
of new evidence the matter is settled. What we do with that poem, and that byline, however, is
another matter.
The Poem Itself (and Its Interpretations)
Questions about the poem’s provenance may be answered in part by recognizing how much of Marlowe’s education and other work resides in these stanzas. Patrick Cheney matches many of the poem’s allusions to Virgil and Ovid with Marlowe’s translations of these writers’ works, transplanting even “the water-bird trope” of Ovid to “The Passionate Shepherd” (529). Cheney also discusses a possible challenge by Marlowe to Edmund Spenser to become England’s national poet. Claiming to channel Derrida (deconstruction occurring from within a tradition rather than from outside it), Cheney presumes Marlowe a voice for “national liberty” in a contest with Spenser’s lofty authority:
At heart, what Marlowe criticizes is Spenser’s writing of Elizabethan England, with its vision of the poet as an elitist figure of cultural authority penning the aristocratic genres of pastoral and epic, its service to a virgin queen and her regime’s imperialist projects, its hypocritical advocacy for a mutual marriage between men and women, and its large claims for poetic fame as a mediator for Christian glory.. .“The Passionate Shepherd” is thus a multi-faceted carnival of national liberty. Before the gaze of culture, Marlowe playfully, passionately transacts the freedom of poetic voice, political choice, personal destiny, and sexual orientation on which a new state could be founded. (544)


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Cheney adds that Raleigh and other imitators created an “ever-unfolding future” for the poem, as they pursued its intertextual possibilities, creating “a gossamer hinge, so exquisite in its expression that it forges powerful links among past, present, and future—among Ovid, Virgil, Spenser, Raleigh, and even the rest who complain of cares to come” (544). By giving the poem such a lofty—even heroic—status, Cheney may embody that strand of critic who matches the idealized rebel Marlowe with what is before us on the page. His transgressions are the poem’s transgressions, his violations the reader’s to absorb. This pattern repeats itself throughout this thesis, as the constructed Marlowe gains more and more weight, glamor, and attention as he sustains his position in the arena.
Responses, Parodies, and Legacy
Earlier, I discussed how Marlowe’s developing persona has given varied dimensions to a single lyric. In this section, I explore a major byproduct of this phenomenon, as various poets latch onto the Marlowe vision—or, rather, their visions of his vision. Among the strongest reasons for the steady prominence of “The Passionate Shepherd” is its fuel for parodies, allusions, and replies. By being so adaptable, as well as so attuned to eternal desires and priorities, the poem has remained a part of the conversation. Poets’ responses to Marlowe’s original are also part of a tradition that extends from poetry to popular music. When a teacher assigns Langston Hughes’ “I, Too, Sing America,” that teacher must preface it with “I Hear America Singing,” the Walt Whitman poem Hughes is answering and amending; Byron’s “The Destruction of Sennacherib” is addressed satirically by Ogden Nash’s “Very Like a Whale;” and Keats and Frost tangle over how just how steadfast a star can be (in “Bright Star” and “Something Like a Star”). As with music, the original poem provokes and is revived by its descendent. (In country music, rhythm and blues, and hiphop, the dynamic continues, sometimes


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even mimicking in spirit the Marlowe responses discussed below. Kitty Wells, Roxanne Shante, and Etta James, for example, recorded music to set their male suitors’ songs straight.)
As other poems from the same era became fixed, even petrified, “The Passionate Shepherd” continued being reinvented as other poets adopted it as a template or as a challenge. Raleigh began the practice, answering Marlowe’s classical inspirations and (seemingly) romantic
promises with sober, puncturing declarations. He parries stanza for stanza:
Marlowe:
Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove That valleys, groves, hills, and fields Woods or steepy mountain yields.
And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks By shallow rivers to whose falls Melodious birds sing madrigals.
And I will make thee beds of roses And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle.
A gown made of the finest wool Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair lined slippers for the cold With buckles of the purest gold.
A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs;
And if these pleasures may thee move, Come live with me and be my love.
The shepherds' swains shall dance and sing For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.
Raleigh:
If all the world and love were young,
And tmth in every shepherd’s tongue, These pretty pleasures might me move To live with me and be thy love.
Time drives the flocks from field to fold, When rivers rage and rocks grow cold; And Philomel becometh dumb;
The rest complain of cares to come.
The flowers do fade, and wanton fields To wayward winter reckoning yields;
A honey tongue, a heart of gall,
Is fancy’s spring, but sorrow’s fall.
Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy bed of roses, Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies,
Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten, In folly ripe, in reason rotten.
Thy belt of straw and ivy buds,
Thy coral claps and amber studs,
All these in me no means can move To come to thee and be thy love.
But could youth last and love still breed, Had joys no date nor age no need,
Then these delights my mind might move To live with thee and be thy love.
(Marlowe 207-209)


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Raleigh mocks the original speaker’s ideals and fantasies as oblivious to the “winter reckoning”
that eventually confronts us all. In retrospect, it may be notable that it is the allegedly naive and
deluded poem that becomes an unwithering conveyance for Marlowe’s legacy.
Raleigh’s clear-eyed, all-too-knowing contemplation of limitations and demise provide as
direct a contrast to Marlowe as one might envision. The poems paired together are nothing less
than a clash of worldviews. Hannibal Hamlin writes of Raleigh’s poem that, “even though the
nymph rejected the shepherd’s invitation, her reply—Raleigh’s reply—transformed a soliloquy,
or a solipsistic dialogue of one, into an ongoing poetic conversation” (72). Scholars credit
Raleigh with a second variation on the theme, conveniently entitled (for our purposes) “Another
of the Same Nature Made Since,” which begins “Come live with me, and be my dear,/And we
will revel all the year,” and then leads to eternal ditties, playful nymphs and satyrs, and heavenly
tuned birdsongs to “inflame the heart”—which in the end point to the speaker’s purpose:
Upon the bare and leafless oak The ring-doves' wooings will provoke A colder blood than you possess To play with me and do no less.
In bowers of laurel trimly dight We will out-wear the silent night,
While Flora busy is to spread Her richest treasure on our bed.
Ten thousand glow-worms shall attend,
And all these sparkling lights shall spend
All to adorn and beautify
Your lodging with most majesty.
Then in mine arms will I enclose Lilies' fair mixture with the rose,
Whose nice perfection in love's play Shall tune me to the highest key.
(Marlowe 211)


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Raleigh here makes the speaker’s overture rather explicit, and this variation on “The Passionate
Shepherd” has catalyzed, propelled, and modulated the centuries of versions that have followed,
generating perhaps the longest verse conversation among all poets.
Another quality central to the poem’s survival is its musical life. Susanne Woods writes
that the Marlowe and Raleigh poems likely enjoyed a mutual transmission, given that they were
known to be sung. This calls their published versions into question. Just when were the poems
sung, and when were they first transcribed? These “much heard, much sung, and much altered”
pieces were attached to melodies as early as 1606 and 1612 (29). The 1612 song is Alexander
Craige’s combination of Marlowe and Raleigh, wherein “Alexis” beckons “Come be my love,
and live with me/And thou shalt all the solace see,” only to be answered by “Lesbia” (“If all
were thine that there I see/Thou paints to breed content to me”). She would yield, but only if she
believed the suitor (Woods 30). But Woods locates her firmest evidence for the musical sources
in Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, when Hugh Evans’ sings snatches of the
Marlowe poem (29). Marlowe’s presence in a Shakespeare play (yet again) has conditioned us to
assume not only Marlowe’s popularity but his influence in the works of his contemporaries. The
Hugh Evans scene, consequently, has been a factor in Marlowe’s sustained reputation.
In the early 1600s “The Passionate Shepherd” inspired many other poets to echo or
undermine its sentiments, rejuvenating the poem in the first few decades after Marlowe’s
murder. In “The Bait,” John Donne contributes his own entry in these variations and rewrites,
finding a different mission for the speaker’s romantic conquest:
Come live with me, and be my love,
And we will some new pleasure prove Of golden sands and christal brooks With silken lines and silver hooks.
Once his quarry agrees to come with the speaker, she will serve a direct and useful purpose:


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There will the river whispering run,
Warm'd by thine eyes more than the sun;
And there th' enamoured fish will stay Begging themselves they may betray.
When thou wilt swim in that live bath,
Each fish which every channel hath Will amorously to thee swim,
Gladder to catch thee than thou him.
But Donne ends ironically, for the speaker himself is as helpless a catch as these enamored fish.
He contrasts his efforts using this “bait” with other anglers who use nets and silken flies:
For thee, thou need'st no such deceit,
For thou thyself art thine own bait:
That fish that is not catched thereby,
Alas, is wiser far than I.
(Forsythe 706)
Robert Herrick returns the message to its more pastoral intentions, writing,
Live, live with me, and thou shalt see The pleasures I'll prepare for thee;
What sweets the country can afford Shall bless thy bed and bless thy board.
(Forsythe 707)
The speaker proposes “soft sweet moss shall be thy bed” and, on tables of daisies and daffodils, goats’ tongues “shall be thy meat;/their milk thy drink.” Herrick’s poem establishes the popularity of the pastoral appeal and the romance the country life held for London poetry market at the time (Forsythe 707).
Published sometime in the 1640s, J. Paulin’s “Love’s Contentment” recasts the
shepherd’s wooing as a promise of a virtual kingdom, where the two lovers reign as monarchs:
Come, my Clarinda, we’ll consume Our joys no more at this low rate;
More glorious titles let’s assume And love according to our state


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For if Contentment wears a crown Which never tyrant could assail,
How many monarchs put we down In our Utopian commonweal?
(Forsythe 708)
Forsythe accounts for the following centuries’ adoption of “The Passionate Shepherd’” s template. Octosyllabic entreaties abound, mixed sometimes with satire and sometimes without, each relying on the reader’s awareness of Marlowe’s original and its legacy. At times the nymph is the one proposing, and in Samuel Daniel’s “Ulysses and the Siren,” it is the latter who invokes the theme (“Come, worthy Greek, Ulysses come/Possess these shores with me”). Forsythe describes this poem’s transition into a debate about whether the siren’s offer of idleness and pleasure is ethically allowed (708).
Throughout the 17th century, poets and balladeers sustained and modulated the original theme. In “The Two Yorkshire Lovers” the lad Willy offers a young woman familiar temptations—nuts, apples, cream, lamb’s wool gowns, flowers, arbors, downy beds, and “a parade of sheep”—arranged in strict Marlovian stanza and rhyme form (Forsythe 709). But, as we have seen, the elasticity of the poem allows for more than the wooing of country lovers. Writers, for instance, used the form to reenact Henry V’s courtship of Catherine, wherein the king mixes pastoral pleasures with temptations of royal wealth, and other poets depicted seductions by knights, soldiers, merchants, and even a young Edward IV (Forsythe 710-711). Sometimes the poems are in dialogue form, a fusion of sorts of Marlowe’s original and Raleigh’s reply—the lovers tangling within the verse, rather than exchanging verses of their own.
The Passionate Shepherd’s Growing Reach Another factor in the longevity of “The Passionate Shepherd,” and in the persistence of its author’s status, is the poem’s service to themes beyond those of romance. “The Praise of a Countryman’s Life,” a version of Marlowe’s work from the late 17th century, elevates the idyllic


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imagery. It would not be out of place in a rural English real estate office, luring city dwellers to
escape their urban worries and adopt the easy life (which includes, in the poem, such carefree
chores as tilling soil and trapping foxes). Other poems simply celebrate individual country
houses. And yet another tack to is to change romantic love to spiritual love: Nicholas Breton (“A
Solemn Passion of the Soul’s Love”) and Richard Crashaw (“In the Glorious Assumption of Our
Beloved Lady”) both imitate Marlowe in form but not in spirit, celebrating heavenly reward and
salvation rather than embraces by a country stream (Forsythe 713). (That the alleged wicked
atheist of the Elizabethan age contributed to future pieties is another of the ironic echoes of the
Marlowe legacy.) In both cases the poets adopt the original’s meter and structure, as they
demonstrate how their devotionals may rely on such a sturdy foundation.
The linking of Marlowe to celebrated poets buoys the poem’s prominence. Forsythe
enumerates dozens more invitation poems of this sort through the 18th century and after, locating
parallels to “The Passionate Shepherd” in works by Keats (Endymion), Shelley (Epipsychidion),
Wordsworth (“Peter Bell”), Tennyson (“The Sea-Fairies”), and Wilde (“Charmides”) (727-29).
He traces most variations to Marlowe but acknowledges how Milton’s own octosyllabic couplets
also established the form. Some scholars, meanwhile, have credited Marlowe as the influence
upon Milton. Hamlin even finds in Endymion a blending of Marlowe with Milton:
In Keats’ poem, Marlowe’s madrigals become anthems, sung by a morning lark (not a nightingale) out of Shakespeare by way of Milton. Marlowe’s straw and buds are here too, but they are the real thing, not transmuted into coral and amber. Keats is aware of Raleigh’s poem too, with its reminders of the passing of Time; this is not a poem of May mornings like Marlowe’s, but an autumn poem by the master of the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.” He knows, as he writes, that cheeks fade, maidens age, eyes grow weary, faces and voices tire with familiarity, and ‘Everything is spoilt by use.’ (Hamlin 71)
Hamlin elaborates on 19th century poems that allude to Marlowe and Raleigh: those by John Clare and Tennyson stand out because they “incorporate the realism of Raleigh’s reply without its skepticism” (74)


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Overseas, meanwhile, the frame of Marlowe’s poem remained elastic and adaptable.
Early American contributions to the “Passionate Shepherd” tradition include a 1799 poem written by a George Washington detractor named Philip Freneau. In “To an Alien, Who After a Series of Persecutions Emigrated to the Southwestern Country,” Freneau writes, “Where you are gone the soil is free/And freedom sings from every tree,/’Come quit the crowd and live with me!”’ (Hamlin 78). Another American invitation poem by William Gilmore Simms turns the shepherd into an Indian hunter, who, after offering a few gifts to his maiden, gets to his true desire—her service: “And be my love and trim for me,/The yellow buckskin moccasin.” As Hamlin writes, “The so-familiar allusion comes, by its easy familiarity, to stand for allusion itself, so that the poet who uses the allusion is openly admitting to an engagement with the poetic tradition” (78). Other such tanglers with the tradition include Thomas Moore (“Come wed with me, and we will write,/My Blue of Blues, from morn till night.”) and Samuel Hoffenstein, whose “Invocation” invites the lover to this time forsake the lures of nature: “Come live with me and be my love/In statutory Christian sin,/And we shall all the pleasures prove/Of two-room flats and moral gin” (Hoffenstein).
Noting the decline of the pastoral in late 19th and early 20th century poetry, Forsythe nevertheless finds Marlowe unforgotten, just present enough for revivals to come. And all along, of course, he was accompanied by the shadow of his contemporary: the allusions and parodies found within As You Like It and The Merry Wives of Windsor kept the verse alive in audience’s minds, as the deathless Shakespeare breathed life into those original lines of Marlowe’s.
As for the 20th century, many poets used “The Passionate Shepherd” as a foundation for both comedy and philosophy—in either case, counting on the poem’s familiarity to buttress gags and ruminations. Marlowe’s name was apparently in the air in the 1920s in America, for a number of poets found him useful as an allusion and as a base upon which to build. J.P.


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McEvoy’s 1921 “The Modern Lover to His Lass” is a stanza-by-stanza Marlovian recreation,
mocking an uncultured American’s inability to “sling them fancy words” while striving mightily
to do so. Others used the “The Passionate Shepherd” to indulge the jargons and cultures of their
professions—in one case, journalism (“If Marlowe Had Tried to Write It in the Office
Yesterday”) and in the other, science (“The Passionate Paleontologist”—wherein the title
character woos with such specific ardor that the lines become decasyllabic to accommodate the
names of dinosaurs and their bones). This is where Forsythe ends his 1925 study, proclaiming
that Marlowe single-handedly kept the pastoral alive over 350 years (742-43).
Forsythe’s prediction that “The Passionate Shepherd” would never wane was sound, and
the poem’s visibility throughout the 20th century runs in tandem, as we have seen in other
chapters, with Marlowe’s revitalized overall reputation as a dramatist. In 1929, Ogden Nash, in
his mildly satiric way, found the path to Marlowe’s lyric. In “Love under the Republicans (or
Democrats),” the speaker invites his lover to a different sort of rustic life:
Come live with me and be my love And we will all the pleasures prove Of a marriage conducted with economy In the Twentieth Century Anno Donomy.
We’ll live in a dear little walk-up flat
With practically room to swing a cat
And a potted cactus to give it hauteur
And a bathtub equipped with dark brown water.
We’ll eat, without due discouragement,
Foods low in cost but high in nouragement And quaff with pleasure, while chatting wittily,
The peculiar wine of Little Italy.
We’ll remind each other it’s smart to be thrifty And buy our clothes for something-fifty.
We’ll bus for miles on holidays For seas at depressing matinees,
And every Sunday we’ll have a lark And take a walk in Central Park.


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And one of these days not too remote You’ll probably up and cut my throat.
(Nash)
Six years later, Cecil Day Lewis adopted a similar theme, but without the punchlines:
Come, live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove Of peace and plenty, bed and board,
That chance employment may afford.
I’11 handle dainties on the docks And thou shalt read of summer frocks:
At evening by the sour canals We’ll hope to hear some madrigals.
Care on thy maiden brow shall put A wreath of wrinkles, and thy foot Be shod with pain: not silken dress But toil shall tire thy loveliness.
Hunger shall make thy modest zone And cheat fond death of all but bone—
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.
(Day Lewis)
That Marlowe’s structure proves so flexible permitted the original poem a currency that 20th
century poets were able to exploit and undermine. Tying themselves to a canonical English poem
allowed poets to simultaneously elevate their work and declare independence from older values.
The original Marlowe/Raleigh debate allowed subsequent writers to pick a side and make a sort
of Declaration of Principles. Nash and Day-Lewis offered social commentary—the first poet for
laughs, the second for melancholy—and other poets joined the conversation, sometimes in the
form of mission statements. In 1944, William Carlos Williams made sure to choose his party, in
his poem “Raleigh Was Right:”
We cannot go to the country for the country will bring us no peace
What can the small violets tell us that grow on furry stems in


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the long grass among lance shaped leaves?
Though you praise us and call to mind the poets who sung of our loveliness it was long ago! long ago! when country people would plow and sow with flowering minds and pockets at ease—
if ever this were true.
Not now. Love itself a flower with roots in a parched ground.
Empty pockets make empty heads.
Cure it if you can but do not believe that we can live today in the country for the country will bring us no peace.
(Williams)
“If ever this were true,” writes Williams, adopting Raleigh’s puncturing of the pastoral myth,
where flowers wilt, bugs bite, and gardens freeze. Williams has no patience for the passionate
shepherd’s fancies, for “Empty pockets make empty heads” and love itself will eventually be
starved by “a parched ground.” (Williams returned to Marlowe allusions in his poem “The
Observer,” in which he evokes “quickening pleasures prove” in a sea-side invitation.)
In 2004, however, another poet answered the answerer. In “Williams Was Wrong,” Greg
Delanty resurrects a version of Marlowe’s original vision:
Now I find peace in everything around me; in the modest campion and the shoals of light leaping across the swaying sea and the gulls gliding out of sight.
The tops of wave-confettied rocks slide into water and turn into seals.
They move to the lively reel of the cove’s clapping dance hall, rising blithe yelps above the sea’s music.
The ocean draws in and out like an accordion and unseen lithe fingers play the strings


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of joy on what the moment brings.
The seals close and part and close again.
Their awkward fins have turned to wings.
(Delanty)
Here Delanty is unconcerned with wooing any fair lass; his motivation is to argue with Williams’
cynicism, with a worldview that discounts the pastoral and devalues the natural world. For
Delanty, the peace that Williams forswears is instead all around him, from whitecaps to seal fins
to the lively reels of the dance hall (his version of the shepherd’s madrigals). The “unseen
fingers” that bring the waves may belong to the hand of God, or they may simply be a way to
address the beauty of the rhythms around Delanty’s speaker. Either way, they link the poem to
Marlowe’s evocation of myths and spirits amid the fields and flowers of the original poem.
Peter de Vries’ “Bacchanal” (1950), on the other hand, addresses the limitations of
Marlowe’s ideal, particularly regarding its gender dynamics:
'Come live with me and be my love,'
He said, in substance. 'There's no vine We will not pluck the clusters of,
Or grape we will not turn to wine.'
It's autumn of their second year.
Now he, in seasonal pursuit,
With rich and modulated cheer,
Brings home the festive purple fruit;
And she, by passion once demented —That woman out of Botticelli—
She brews and bottles, unfermented,
The stupid and abiding jelly.
(de Vries)
There is only so much a shepherd can do to keep spreading his own cheer, if the nymph is the
one doing all the work. In 1959, Babette Deutsch finally gave a woman’s input to the nymph’s
voice, in “The Dispassionate Shepherdess:”
Do not live with me, do not be my love.
And yet I think we may some pleasures prove


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That who enjoy each other, in the haste Of their most inward kissing, seldom taste.
Being absent from me, you shall still delay To come to me, and if another day,
No matter, so your greeting burn as though The words had all the while been packed in snow.
No other gift you'll offer me but such
As I can neither wear, nor smell, nor touch —
No flowers breathing of evening, and no stones Whose chilly fire outlasts our skeletons.
You'll give me once a thought that stings, and once A look to make my blood doubt that it runs.
You'll give me rough and sharp perplexities,
And never, never will you give me ease.
For one another's blessing not designed,
Marked for possession only of the mind,
And soon, because such cherishing is brief,
To ask whereon was founded the belief
That there was anything at all uncommon In what each felt for each as man and woman —
If this then be our case, if this our story,
Shall we rail at heaven? Shall we, at worst, be sorry?
Heaven's too deaf, we should grow hoarse with railing,
And sorrow never quickened what was failing.
But if you think we thus may pleasures prove,
Do not live with me, do not be my love.
(Deutsch)
The allusions, echoes, and homages often include direct citations, as with Thomas
Dermody (“Who.. Has not, while wilder’d in the bow’ry grove,/Oft sigh’d: ‘Come, live with me,
and be my love’?/Yet, oh! Be love transfomr’d to deadly hate,/As freezes memory at Marlowe’s
fate.” And Alice Cary ( “And if you hide thee, you will hear her sing/That song Kit Marlowe
made so long ago—/’Come live with me, and be my love,’ you know.”). In 1951, Louise
MacNeice’s “Suite for Recorders” rejoins the two poets who began this enterprise:
If shepherd to nymph were the whole story Dying in holocausts of blossoms,


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No midwife and no middleman Would contravene the upright sun.
If Raleigh to Marlowe on the other Hand were an uncontested audit,
Then Thames need only flow to mock A death in tavern or on block.
(Hamlin)
Here both poets are elevated by the drama of their deaths, whether in Deptford or in the Tower of London. This is another case where Marlowe’s persona, or the construction of that persona, is infused with his work and its reverberations.
But poets also adopt “The Passionate Shepherd” for its playful romantic qualities. The Scottish poet Edwin Morgan adds a Hollywood icon to the poem’s story: “Who has not heard of Lauren Bacall’s grace?/But I have looked upon her face to face./Most fervently she sang: ‘Come live with me/And be my love, and make my morning tea,/And we may all the silken pleasures prove/Of bearskin rugs, bear-hugs, and bunny-love’” (Morgan). Kate Benedict’s “Atlantic City Idyll” offers another nimble adaptation, tying the risks of love to the gambles of craps players (“Come bet with me and be my luck/And bring me gimlets tart with lime./We’ll chase the wily holy buck/and toss the dice and sneer at time,” while W.D. Snodgrass unites post-Marlowe giants with the original’s form (“Come couch with me mit Freud und Lust/As every evening’s last connection;/Talk to me; prove the day like Proust;/Let what comes next rise to inspection” (Snodgrass).
Such verse reflects how modern poets may play with allusion and echoes of the past, as they secure their own voices to the established canon. They mix irreverence with reverence, mischief with respect. They also sometimes make the wooing more homoerotic. Lawrence Ferlinghetti “wrote an imitation expressing all of Marlowe’s desire but purged of its implicit sexual aggression, ending “And let our two selves speak/All night under the cypress tree/Without making love.” (Hamlin) Allen Ginsberg, meanwhile, in “A Further Proposal,” employed


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Marlowe to serenade Neal Cassady: “You will be taught another sense:/The wisdom of the subtle worm/Will turn more perfect in your form.” Hamlin divines a revival of the Marlowe/Raleigh debate within this work: “if Ginsberg is as anti-idealist as Raleigh’s nymph, he is as keen on sexual pleasure as Marlowe’s shepherd, and more explicitly, with men.” Hamlin furthers the comparison by awarding Raleigh the victory, crediting “the perspective of time and art” here to Raleigh himself, beheaded rather than stabbed, offering a consolation of inevitability: “death comes to all poets as well as to all they love” (Hamlin).
The Afterlife of the Dead Shepherd
In the preceding section, we explored how other writers could adopt and adapt the original poem’s tone, meter, structure, and imagery for their own purposes. For four centuries, this phenomenon gave Marlowe a stage, even if the spotlight wavered. But the poem also remains a crucial element in our understanding of Marlowe and in the construction of the Marlowe interpreters favor.
Noting the presence of “The Passionate Shepherd” in the theatre of its day—not only in many Marlowe works but in plays by Greene, Peele, and Johnson, Douglas Bruster observes how an extra dimension is added when the monologic lyric turns into a piece of drama: this “invitation not an invitation” of the shepherd to the nymph reveals itself on stage to be an act of “unstated sexual aggression implicit in the very form and process of the proposal” (50). Many of the poem’s alternate versions, responses, and companion poems provide “that which has been left out, the repressed ultimately finding expression in revisionary, often violent, versions of Marlowe’s haunting lyric” (Bruster 50). In this interpretation, the poem is a blunt come-on, with its bountiful promises merely a list “intended to excite” (Bruster 52). We have seen this already in Donne’s “The Bait,” wherein the nymph is dangled as a lure, but in its theatrical


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manifestations Marlowe’s poem is freighted with the consequences that may befall a nymph if she rejects the proposal.
From Tamburlaine to The Jew of Malta, Marlowe adapted the “Passionate Shepherd”
invitation mode for dramatic purposes (occasionally, suggests Bruster, as an act of self-parody),
altering the list of temptations—“A hundred Tartars shall attend on thee” ('Tamburlaine,
1.2.93)—but concluding with the same refrain: “Shalt live with me, and be my love” {The Jew of
Malta). Forsythe lists fourteen separate occasions when Marlowe inserts this element into his
plays, utilizing language, structure, and meter to evoke the original lyric. And of course in the
plays these words are said to another character, one who must respond. In Tamburlaine, one
object is Olympia, who adopts what Bruster calls a Raleigh-like attitude to such grand promises:
passions will end, flowers will wilt, love will fade (58).
Later Greene and Peele adapt the same dynamic to their own work, and the audiences can
see clearly the dangers of rebuffing such invitations. In Greene’s Alphonsus,King ofArragon, the
title character’s cascading list of promised treasures and pleasures to Iphigenia is declined. In
fact, Iphigenia would prefer death. Alphonsus responds, “And thou shalt die unless it come to
pass” (Bruster 64). Bruster finds similar depradations in Jonson’s Volpone, where the playwright
also modifies Marlowe (“Come, my Celia, let us prove/While we can, the sports of love”
3.7.165-166) and then conjures a familiar offering of rich gowns and glorious banquets. Celia’s
rejection, however, transforms the generous suitor Volpone into a menacing villain: “Yield, or
I’ll force thee” (3.7.265). Bruster elaborates:
Jonson’s imitation of Marlowe here demonstrates the kind of power which the poetry of the Elizabethan playwright continued to wield years after his death: it was Jonson’s poetic ability, after all, which led Eliot to refer to him as “the legitimate heir of Marlowe.” (Bruster 66)
Yet Marlowe’s poem consists of only the first part of the Volpone confrontation. It is but an invitation, conditional on approval (“If these delights thy mind may move...”), especially since


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the promises are extravagant. But Bruster insists on the poem’s assertion of “the primacy of force (physical and linguistic alike) over sexual identity,” revealed because the “dramatic form provides the freedom for a reply to the invitation” (67-68). Only on the stage, in the glare of the spotlight, with two characters entwined in a potential seduction (or rape), does “The Passionate Shepherd” reveal its motivations.
Bruster’s 1991 essay, “Come to the Tent Again”: ‘The Passionate Shepherd,’ Dramatic Rape and Lyric Time,” summarized in part above, is the most frequently cited essay on Marlowe’s poetry in my research. Bruster’s perspective possesses both historical context and contemporary implications of gender roles. He acknowledges the rise of feminist criticism as essential to this reading of the poem, emphasizing the voiceless status of Marlowe’s nymph and the subordinate status of those who receive—or will receive—these sorts of invitations.
One may view such an interpretation as uncharitable, even cynical, but for our purposes it is a viewpoint that has helped keep “The Passionate Shepherd” in the academic conversation.
The poem is not merely a warhorse that lurks within every anthology; it is a matter of contention, speculation, and potency. As Marlowe continues to be constructed, the poem’s qualities are as varied and numerous as its descendants, allowing critics and poets to not only address its content but to reshape it.


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CHAPTER III
THE CORPUS CHRISTI PORTRAIT
While Christopher Marlowe’s plays and verse propel what we claim to understand about him, other factors reshape how those works are received—generating and informing the myths about Marlowe we choose to believe. As we have seen, glimpses of Marlowe’s life and death help construct a dramatic, compelling persona that scholars often seek to discover in his writings. The 1925 discovery of the Deptford murder inquest ended some rumors but birthed new ones. Likewise, the 1953 discovery of a putative Marlowe portrait finally gave a face to a faceless person. Ever since, the painting has confirmed some viewers’ biases, undone others, and more deeply imbedded romantic conceptions of the playwright.
In this chapter, we will look at how authors’ faces can become iconic and interpretive; how the Cambridge portrait came to be identified with Marlowe; and how observers instill their own preconceptions into what they see. Such a phenomenon helps form an author in a reader’s— and student’s—mind. The Marlowe image has been part of our conception of him for only sixty-five years, but it has been a force in the construction of an author that still claims our attention.
The Impact of Faces
Portraits of writers write their own stories. Even when a writer produces mountains of pages rendering human drama, his or her face may add new chapters. A poet may leave behind hundreds of imperishable lines, but they are often embellished by the eyes, mouth, and brow of their maker. Consider how many artists are partially defined by their visual identities, and how often those images direct us to how we read their work. These are images that, once seen, cannot be unseen. Franz Kafka’s intense stare, for example, is as much a part of his corpus as the Hunger Artist’s fasting; Alfred Hitchcock’s double chin and rotund silhouette are inseparable from the master’s cross-cutting suspense; and as Toni Morrison’s gray mane gets grayer, her


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status as Great Writer/Literary Lioness gets grander. Consider this list of images and reflect on how much of our perception of these creators’ work is informed by how we see them: James Baldwin’s giant eyes, Shaw’s beard and bowler, Frida Kahlo’s unibrow, Warhol’s wig, Hemingway’s whiskers, Balzac’s belly, Faulkner’s pipe, Dali’s mustache, Beethoven’s hair, Picasso’s baldness, Sam Shephard’s cheekbones, Gertrude Stein’s Caesar cut, Van Gogh’s severed ear, O’Keefe’s mournful eyes, Wilde’s locks, Whitman’s hat, Woolfs nose, Joyce’s pince-nez, Tolstoy’s Santa beard, and Einstein’s head-topping white bird’s nest—all are inseparable from how we consume what they produced. How would our reading of T.S. Eliot alter if he looked like Ezra Pound (and vice versa)? For that matter, looks aside, what if Truman Capote spoke like Paul Newman? Beyond their words, writers’ images convey an additional layer of content to their audiences.
Yet return to that Kafka gaze. Recent biographers have demonstrated that for decades Kafka’s readers have been misled by that haunted countenance. Kafka was not the tortured soul condemned to spend his days plumbing human futility; he was, in fact (or, more accurately, also), often easygoing, playful, and amusing. He went to the movies as much as possible, was sociable, and, when reading “The Metamorphosis” to his friends, could not stop laughing. None of that diminishes how deeply Kafka explored what had been until then unexplored in the human experience; it just does not freeze him as a writer and person in the way a still photograph does. Max Brod’s curating of Kafka’s writings and estate also included the grooming of an image, and the potency of that image—that “Kafka”—has overwhelmed whatever man he once was in favor of the loftiest of 20th century literary reputations. Many now enter Kafka’s work as if on a dare, in part because of how his eyes challenge us.
When it comes to official portraits, involving a sitter and a painter’s skills, other dimensions come into play. Shearer West notes how a portrait is complicated by a painter’s dual


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goals of capturing an individual and aspiring to an ideal: “Although portraits convey a likeness of an individual, they also can demonstrate the imagination of the artist, the perceived social role of the sitter, and the qualities of the sitter that raise him or her above the occasion of the moment” (24). Cynthia Freeland writes that portraits not only represent the living, physical person but also that person’s inner life. Portraits, therefore, are an act of self-presentation: “People ‘put on’ an identity before the artist, and artists in turn try to reconcile that selfpresentation with their own vision of being depicted” (1). Freeland asserts that portraits can indeed capture a person’s “true” self, and “the greatest portraits interest us because they reveal a person’s character in a very deep sense” (2). The Marlowe portrait under discussion in this chapter may not be considered one of the greatest portraits, but since it is said to depict a great artist, perhaps Freeland’s observations are just as true for it. The best portrait painters are alchemists, she writes. They seek to show us a person “whose physical embodiment reveals psychological awareness, consciousness, and an inner emotional life” (1). For those who believe the Corpus Christi portrait is that of Marlowe, the painting accomplishes just those feats of alchemy.
The Discovery
When an artist’s physical aspect is obscured or unknown, however, there is considerably less of an opportunity for defining their work in this extra-literary way. In the case of Christopher Marlowe, for centuries the opportunity was entirely lost. His was merely a name, a pair of initials, or a “Marlow” here and a “Marley” there—until, that is, 1953. Thanks to the discovery by a Cambridge undergraduate, inspecting the rubble in a construction zone of Corpus Christi College, we now have a face to link to Marlowe’s words (see Figure 1). The discoverer, spying two pieces of wood and realizing that when combined they depicted a young Elizabethan man, passed the portrait to the college librarian, who then sent it to the National Portrait Gallery


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for confirmation. They determined it was indeed of the period, painted in the style of the “Spanish school,” but could not identify the sitter. What has happened in the decades since exemplifies how audiences, critics, and scholars project what they wish to see upon an artist’s likeness.
Figure 1: Possible portrait of Christopher Marlowe, dated 1585, discovered in 1953 at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Consequently, since that day in 1953, Christopher Marlowe’s work is now inflected by forces
invisible to previous generations. Charles Nicholl describes the image:
It shows a striking young man: twenty-one years old, self-assured, a bit flashy. He stands with his arms folded, right over left. The stance is confident, self-completing. It requires no props. It serves also to show off the rows of bossed golden buttons sewn down the sleeves of his doublet, fourteen on each arm. The doublet is superb.. .The material, black or deep brown, has the look of velvet... You can see the jagged pattern of the tailor’s pinking-shears.. .The doublet is so good he can offset it with casualness. He wears no ruff, no fussy ornamental pickadils, just a shirt of the fine linen called ‘cobweb lawn’.. His brown hair is long, brushed up and back. A stray curl catches on his collar. His cheeks are smooth, with just a thin tracing of beard along the jawline. The neat moustache is shaved in the dint of the upper lip. (Nicholl 5)


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Nicholl notes that the sitter’s dress is one reflecting high rank, a fact that will enter into the disputes about the portrait’s attribution. Students of the day would have been forbidden such a costume. But, as we shall see, rather than making the rich clothing disqualifying for Marlowe, his admirers instead assign the discrepancy to Marlowe’s irrepressible rebel nature.
The book In Search of Christopher Marlowe: A Pictorial Biography, by A.D. Wraight (words) and Virginia F. Stern (photographs), is central to Marlowe’s elevation in the second half of the 20th century. Within its oversized pages, Wraight and Stern seek to reestablish Marlowe’s place in the pantheon—in great part by transmitting as much personal anecdota and myth as they can find. This is the book that popularized the Cambridge portrait (discovered only a decade before) and helped shape its reception ever since. Wraight relates the remarkable story of the picture’s rubble-heap origins with drama and wonder (and, it turns out, exaggeration). But her tale earns its audience as she makes the forensics of identification a compelling mystery story. The broken panels, the rainstorm, the undergraduate, a helpful Corpus Christi librarian, and the experts at the National Portrait Gallery are elements in an ascending act of historic discovery— one that finally gives a face to a giant of English letters.
How the painting now thought to be Marlowe’s came to be lost is as much of an example of Marlowe mythmaking as its discovery, and it opens Marlovians another pathway to fortify their prior conceptions of the playwright. This “magnificent painting” (Wraight & Stern 63), having been restored in London by Holder & Sons, now hangs in the Corpus Christi dining hall. The experts have confirmed that the piece is Elizabethan, the subject a young man of Marlowe’s exact age (“aged 21, 1585” reads a Latin inscription), and is now generally accepted as a depiction of Marlowe himself. The evidence is compelling: Wraight notes that Marlowe, being 21 at the time of his first degree (and just beginning his M.A.), is notably old for the time and the school. “Most who matriculated to Cambridge were no older than fifteen,” she writes, citing


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Thomas Nashe among dozens of others (64). Consequently, Marlowe may have been the only 21-year-old graduate of that year, his degree having been delayed for reasons discussed elsewhere in this paper. The timing works for the Marlowe theory in another way, in that no outsider would have had his painting hung in Cambridge’s Master Lodge, from which debris the 18” by 24” painting was found (64). The Master’s Lodge was known to honor various notables in its portrait gallery, including (according to 16th and 17th century accounts) Thomas More, Queen Mary, Thomas Cromwell, and “portraits of a young man” (66). Such associations and speculations enrich the Marlowe persona. Within In Search for Christopher Marlowe we find the authors projecting their conceptions of the playwright’s work and life onto a single image, simultaneously fixing a version of Marlowe and also making him elastic enough to absorb multiple subsequent discoveries. The painting’s discovery, furthermore, is now interlaced with subsequent Marlowe scholarship.
Faced with a number of uncertainties—who is the sitter, why was it painted, why was it
in the Master’s Lodge, was it indeed in the Master’s Lodge, why was it taken down?—Wraight
makes the mysteries fit into her conception of her book’s subject. Here we see a manifestation of
Freeland’s theory of a portrait’s “inner life,” as invested observers try to decipher what lies
behind the sitter’s eyes. Nicholl, for one, eagerly dives into states of mind:
The statement [of the portrait] is one of prestige, of courtliness. It shows him as a young man with money to spend.. .It is not everyone who could afford the services of a good Timmer.’ The portrait itself is a luxury.. .The lips are a problem. You cannot say if he is smiling: if he is, it is not a warm smile, not a smile of complicity. He looks back out at the artist, at the world, with a quizzical gaze. The smile seems ready to mock us. We have been taken in so easily: it is only a portrait, a game he is playing. (5)
Here Nicholl is looking at subject of his book The Reckoning, which is as much a portrait of a
mysterious figure as is the painting. The book portrays a genius playwright who mixes with
thugs, forgers, and spies; who is a threat to order; who is a subversive thinker; who is summoned


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to an assassination. The Reckoning’s 350 pages depend greatly on a man worthy of them, and Nicholl sees that man in the portrait.
Some have questioned that the young man does not look like a student, particularly in manner of dress. Both Wraight and Nicholl use this discrepancy not to question the portrait’s authenticity but to embrace Marlowe’s daring, proposing that a young maverick like Marlowe would resist conformity. Indeed, the silks, the long hair, and the velvet all defy Cambridge’s rules for young scholars. But Nicholl cites Robert Greene, a Marlowe contemporary and rival, recalling his own Cambridge days of fashion bravado, “ruffled out in my silks” (7). Despite the school tightening the dress code further in 1585, Nicholl writes the young man in the portrait “identifies with the new Elizabethan mood” (7). He is colorful, idiosyncratic, and a bit insolent. Nicholls reminds us that Marlowe’s Faustus also wished to “fill the public schools with silk” (7). Nicholl’s speculations deepen when he focuses on the subject’s pocketed hand, wondering what he his hiding from us—“a purse, a dagger, some close-printed text in octavo?”—but also adds that in person, rather than in reproductions, the figure is more of an intellectual than some sly troublemaker. He has the look of an artist troubled by the dangerous themes he ponders (8).
Other observers also invest the image with stories of their own making, fixing them to satisfy the Marlowe construction. Like Nicholl, Wraight writes of the defiance students had for the dress code of the time (under the rank of knight, for example, it was forbidden to wear silk or velvet), noting that the prohibitions were hardly ever obeyed, asserting further that some people were exempt from these rules, including “servants of the Queen, of which Marlowe, as one of Her Majesty’s secret agents, most definitely was one” (68-69). Here we have Marlowe’s other notorieties infusing the portrait’s impact. Wraight reads much of the rebel into the sitter: “The face is at once arresting; the eyes, with their searching, fearless look, have the character that, though here calmly observant, yet betrays a certain passionate intensity.. .He might well be a


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poet, and something of an intellectual” (68). Wraight’s speculations help the Marlowe myth fit neatly into the painting’s timeline. Marlowe’s espionage activities account for his many absences from school and his delayed degree; the painting was commissioned in the year Marlowe began his service to the Queen; he had just earned his B.A. and “possibly achieved some mission of importance;” his service may have been so valuable that an expensive portrait was a part of his compensation or his employer’s gratitude (after all, his degree was granted when the Privy Council reassured Cambridge that Marlowe’s secret service offset the gaps in his studies); and at this time he may have made his first connection with his benefactor Thomas Walsingham, nephew of the Queen’s spymaster (70).
All of these speculations demonstrate the need for some that a specific type of Marlowe
must have existed. Wraight even conjures the entire circumstances of the sitting:
It is a tantalizing thought to imagine Kit delighting in his new-found status and being so taken with his appearance in his first velvet doublet, which he would now be fully qualified to wear, that he decided to have his portrait painted in it. Perhaps it was Thomas Walsingham, admiring his poet’s fine new look, who suggested it to him, and at whose home the portrait might have been executed. (70-71)
Noting the painting’s Spanish-school style, Wraight wonders if it was actually painted in Spain,
“since [Marlowe’s] government work could well have taken him there” (71), and then places the
portrait back in Cambridge as an imagined gift from Marlowe to the Master Dr. Copcott, who
defended Marlowe in the “tug of war” over whether Marlowe deserved his M. A. For Wraight it
is enough that the painting was possibly hanging in the Master’s Lodge that it becomes a gift
from the subject himself. For all of these dramatic speculations, it is worth noting again that there
is virtually no evidence for any of them. For Wraight, it is enough that they conform to prior,
romantic conceptions of his book’s subject and its dramatic title (In Search of...).
The painting’s attribution to Marlowe is fueled as well by its inscription, words that have
invited sixty years of interpretation and projection. Under the subject’s age and the portrait’s date


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are the words “Quod me nutrition me distrust.” “That which nourishes me also destroys me.” In her 1965 book, Wraight falsely asserts that the line, despite “its Ovidian ring,” is original to the sitter, later appearing for the first time in print in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73 (“consum’d with that which it was nourished by”) and altered in his Pericles (“Quod me alit me extinguish”) (67-68). But by 1992 Nicholl notes that scholars have determined it was in fact a popular Elizabethan motto (8), thereby taking a little bit of the energy out of Wraight’s Marlowe adulation and the Marlowe-Shakespeare connection (“for whom else would Shakespeare be so likely to re-echo?”, she writes) (68). But the inscription itself remains, and for sympathetic observers “That which nourishes me also destroys me” is pure Marlowe, and is another demonstration of the myths of Marlowe absorbing and validating themselves. Wraight continues, “This would be just the kind of motto such a young man as Marlowe would have chosen for himself; he liked to say the startling thing with subtle effect,” celebrating the muse “which both inspired and nourished him, and yet consumed him with its fiery genius” (68). For many the motto itself is confirmation of the sitter’s identity—the sentiment, the links to Shakespeare, and the hints at what will follow. Nicholl becomes elegiac:
The motto has this ‘amorous,’ courtly meaning—the consuming passion of unrequited love—but it has many other applications: metaphysical, mystical and indeed political. This ‘posy’ of doomed brilliance... seems so entirely apt for Marlowe. In 1585 he is a young man on the rise. The son of a Canterbury cobbler, the scholarship boy at Cambridge, he now stands on the threshold of a dazzling career. But the future which promises such nourishment—literary fame, government service, aristocratic friendships—also contains, as inextricably as the motto suggests, his destruction. Already he is running out of time. The torch is turning downward. In a few years he will be dead: a ‘sudden & fearful end’ at the age of twenty-nine. (8-9)
By dying so young, Marlowe provided not only a brief life for readers to envision, but also a
destiny that colored his living days with the blood that will spill in Deptford. This combination is
central to the Marlowe construct and is fully served by what the portrait may suggest. The
portrait, furthermore, contradicts nothing. Wraight, Nicholl, and others consequently see the


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Cambridge portrait as a crucial part of what defines Marlowe. No imagined Marlowe is obliterated; all possible Marlowes are served.
The mystery of the painting’s disappearance fulfills a similar function. With little to no evidence, Wraight imagines why the authorities at Corpus Christi would pull the portrait from the wall and leave it dusty and unloved until its 1953 rediscovery. Citing how the Cambridge Master Henry Butts’ portrait was removed following disgrace, madness, and suicide, Wraight assumes a similar fate for Marlowe after his death: “The portrait might have been taken from its place of honor and hidden as a result of the universal condemnation in which Marlowe’s name was held immediately after 1593,” she writes, “especially by the Puritans, who were well represented at Corpus Christi” (67). The likeness required “a more enlightened age” to recognize “the notorious atheist,” but the passing of time assured it being forgotten instead (66). When Nicholl visited the painting in its current perch, in the corner of the Corpus Christi dining hall, he was initially warned off by the head-porter: “Why would you want to see that? He died in a drunken brawl” (8). Such is the standing in this enlightened age of one of Cambridge’s most illustrious graduates in the very dining hall where he took his meals. But for much of the rest of the world, the Corpus Christi portrait embodies the genius and rebel they accept.
The Grafton Portrait
The speculations of scholars attach themselves to another painting, the “Grafton” portrait—once thought to be that of Shakespeare, now adopted by Marlovians (see Figure 2). It depicts a young Elizabethan man and marks him at 24 years of age in 1588, a designation that suits both playwrights. Discovered in 1907 in Grafton Regis, near Stratford, the painting’s origins and neglect are as mysterious as those of the Cambridge portrait. Wraight suggests that the painting’s owners shielded it in a farmhouse as their home was besieged in 1643 during the Civil War. The later rediscovery of the Cambridge portrait has propelled many observers to find


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physical and temperamental resemblances that link the two images to one person. Wraight contends that Shakespeare’s lack of notoriety and station in 1588 rules him out as the sitter, whereas Marlowe, celebrated by this time as a playwright, a Cambridge scholar, an agent of the Queen, and a cohort of other notables, including those in the School of Night, was certainly deserving of not one but two portraits (Wraight 214-222). Through her Marlovian lens, Wraight even scolds—without apparent irony—those faithful to Shakespeare who “are loath to give up their sentimental prejudices in all matters Shakespeare” and embrace uncorroborated evidence to unquestioningly accept that it is another rare likeness of the Stratford man (221-222). Such is the consequence for those who invest so much into their preconceptions; Wraight is untroubled by the absence of evidence as long as that void permits her to shape her conception of Marlowe.
Figure 2: The Grafton Portrait, attributed variously to Shakespeare, Marlowe, and others.
Since Wraight & Stern’s In Search of Christopher Marlowe was so visible in reestablishing Marlowe’s profile as both an artist and a persona, it is notable to see how much they invest in the Grafton portrait’s candidacy. Manhandled apparently by a clumsy cleaning


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staff in 1907, the Grafton is weathered, diminished, and unretouched—which gives openings for those to see what they wish to see. Wraight sees many “striking resemblances” to the Cambridge portrait, and in these we find a solidifying of the Marlowe mythography: similar facial structures, foreheads, hair line, “wide spacing of the eyebrows,” nose, mouth, eyes, and facial hair.
Although the Grafton man is thinner (more to come on that score), Wraight identifies the Cambridge man’s artistic temperament in his face: the Grafton portrays a mood “distinctly romantic and English, somewhat withdrawn and dreamy—a poetic quality with delicate charm” (214), whereas the Cambridge portrait conveys “vivacity and robustness.. .not dreamy but ‘alive’ and eager in repose.. .If the Grafton shows us the poet, the [Cambridge] Marlowe shows us more the dramatist, intensely observant of humanity, the thinker, yet there is also hidden fire in his look” (214-215). Wraight even imagines the second portrait to be another commendation for Marlowe’s services, as the Great Armada occurred in that same year and Walsingham perhaps owed Marlowe for “dangers overpassed” (219). For those invested in a Marlowe who rises above his contemporaries and even challenges Shakespeare, such romantic conceptions have been necessary to deepen Marlowe’s impact. Wraight and fellow Grafton advocates turn even contradictions into confirmations, and they provide the tales to reconcile them.
For an even greater example of confirmation bias, look to Marlovian authorship conspiracists, i.e., those who believe Marlowe wrote the plays attributed to Shakespeare (and who in their own way keep Marlowe’s profile elevated). For them, the portraits possess a different currency. Although the currency is counterfeit—there is overwhelming evidence establishing the Stratford man as the writer Shakespeare—it does direct attention on their hero. The conspiracist Isabel Gortazar, writing in 2009 for The Marlowe-Shakespeare Connection (“The Web’s #1 Blog on Christopher Marlowe”), seizes not only the Grafton portrait for Marlowe but also the Chandos portrait of Shakespeare. Gortazar sees Marlowe just about


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everywhere, and any discrepancies in likeness between the Grafton and the Corpus Christi are simply holes in a story that she will happily fill. The Grafton figure appears much thinner than the other, it is true, but for Gortazar the thinness is due to Marlowe’s many illnesses. She bases this conclusion on an imagined Shakespeare connection: as a proxy for Marlowe (another of Gortazar’s fictions), Henry IV’s Sir John Falstaff recalls his former thinness, induced by illness. Gortazar concludes, “I had come to the conclusion that Marlowe had been unwell, and probably very thin, from, say, 1595 till 1599” (Gortazar). (Since Marlowe was murdered in 1593, and, one may assume, “probably very thin” from ’95 to ’99, this is likely the only unassailable assertion made by the fantasist Gortazar.) While such authorship conspiracies proceed ahistorically, they remain a part of ensuring Marlowe’s present profile.
Mythmaking
In the past two decades, more and more scholars are resisting the temptations of accepting the most romantic and evocative readings of what we know of Marlowe. The Cambridge portrait has inspired key examples. Lukas Erne suggests that our attraction to Marlowe as a heterodox, glamorous, and mysterious figure has distorted our understanding of his work, as well as the period itself; Marlowe’s putative likeness has consequently fed much of these misperceptions. Erne discounts the probability of Marlowe being the portrait’s sitter; he cites not only the lavish dress but the oddity of a reported secret agent putting his image on canvas, and he indicts scholars’ gullibility for believing in something because of its attractiveness. With the painting, Erne writes, “[N]ot only Marlowe but, arguably, Marlowe scholarship was given a face,” citing the Master of Corpus Christi College, who, upon the painting’s 1953 discovery, “cleverly identified ‘the face that launched the Marlowe industry’
(29). The painting’s importance to this industry outweighs the near total lack of identifying evidence. It has contributed to what Erne describes as a kind of self-con: scholars and publishers


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and theater directors have accepted a construction of Marlowe that may have never existed. Erne writes,
The commodity called ‘Marlowe,’ which we try to sell to academic conferences, in university seminars, and to academic publishers, has been selling well in recent times. I believe that Marlowe’s cultural and, in particular, academic capital results to no slight degree from a mythographic creation with which it is in our best interest to be complicit. Marlowe was an atheist, and people who think differently and subversively matter. Marlowe was a homosexual, and sexual difference matters. So Marlowe matters. (30)
Erne then declares that we can be certain of none of these qualities. “We don’t know” is his
mantra. He responds with those words to the possibilities of Marlowe being an atheist (“a term
unthinkable in the 16th century”), gay (“the concept didn’t even exist at the time”), or at all
iconoclastic (30). But “we don’t know” does not sell books or tickets. What does sell is the
growing construction of the disruptive genius Marlowe, beholden to nothing but his own
dangerous pursuits.
Erne and other scholars, including J. A. Downie, Stephen Orgel, J.T. Parnell, and Richard Proudfoot, push back against reading too much (or anything at all) into the portraits. They are also committed to admitting ignorance—if we know what we don’t know, our understanding of Marlowe may flourish and deepen. Otherwise, limiting and distortive mythography may derail our understanding of Marlowe and his work. Erne does grant that there is solid evidence for Marlowe’s intelligence work. He notes that Marlowe’s service itself is unknown to us and may not in any way relate to Marlowe’s murder. In fact, it wasn’t until 1928 that S.A. Tannenbaum developed the theory that Marlowe was assassinated for political reasons (Erne 32). In the 1990s a spate of pseudo-historical and fictional accounts of Marlowe’s life and death brought this conception to fruition. Nicholl’s The Reckoning is just the most celebrated of the crop, which includes Peter Whelan’s play School of Night, Anthony Burgess’ A Dead Man in Deptford, and Paul Honan’s Christopher Marlowe: Poet and Spy. Downie writes that this is “the latest manifestation of a (dis)honorable tradition. For whatever reason, writers and critics seem


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particularly predisposed to pontificate about Marlowe’s life, his character, and his artistic intentions, regardless of the exiguity of the documentary evidence on which they base their accounts” (Downie 13). As discussed elsewhere in this paper, the mythography may have distorted our readings of Dr. Faustus, Edward II, and everything else we consider authored by Marlowe. “When we speak or write about him,” Downie writes, “we are really referring to a construct called ‘Marlowe’” (13). That construct has been reshaped thanks to the discovery of two panels in a pile of Corpus Christi rubble. The Marlowe face now gracing his old dining hall has become the featured image on collections and studies of Marlowe’s work. It adorns playbills and posters. But in the end the visage may not even be his. Orgel concludes, “The only reason to identify this as a portrait of Marlowe, rather than one of his classmates, is that it’s Marlowe we want a portrait of’ (216). And so we do, and as we look into its eyes we seem to see the Marlowe construct at last in the flesh.
Figure 3: Three images attributed to be that of William Shakespeare. From left to right, the Cobbe portrait, the Chandos portrait, and the Droeshout engraving found on the First Folio.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
The Limits of Likenesses
William Shakespeare’s face, unsurprisingly, is also a matter of scholarly combat (see
Figure 3). It also provides a contrast that helps puts the “Marlowe Construct” into context. For


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Shakespeare, a handful of paintings compete for various levels of authenticity, even though each disappoints as the portrait of a genius. The Droeshout, Cobbe, and Chandos portraits, along with the funerary monument in Stratford, have provided experts with quarrels about doublets, collars, and balding heads, not to mention ages of pigment and wood. Over the centuries, art examiners have had to deal with forgeries, repaintings, and other deceptions, as the Shakespeare industry craves authenticated (and marketable) evidence.
In 2009, Stanley Wells and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust proudly confirmed the Cobbe as authentically painted in Shakespeare’s lifetime, but many other experts remain unconvinced. After the Cobbe announcement, Germaine Greer aimed to put such disputes into perspective (Guardian). Noting that there was little demand for likenesses in Shakepeare’s and Marlowe’s time, Greer writes that 18th-century publishers began the custom of adorning books with frontispiece portraits of poets, not caring if the woodcuts were actual likenesses at all. Greer dismisses the Corpus Christi and Grafton subjects and reminds the reader of misidentified and forged competitors. (The National Portrait Gallery identifies 48 paintings as failed bids for posterity.) Greer also contrasts the fancy Marlowe/Shakespeare likenesses with the 1617 painting of Ben Jonson—“not dressed as a courtier but as a scholar,” with a simple collar and no doublet.
Assigning the Cobbe portrait to not Shakespeare but Sir Thomas Overbury, Greer makes a telling point about what likenesses the public craves at different times. In Overbury’s day, he was a participant in a great scandal that ended with him dying slowly of poison in the Tower. His murder was likely ordered by a friend’s mistress. Greer insists that it is was the victim and his killer who were the celebrities of her time, not any playwright. “Nobody cared what a dramatist looked like,” she writes, “but everybody was interested in the young gentleman whose foul murder was contrived by a woman whose beauty and debauchery were legendary” (Guardian).
Greer’s dismissal not only of the likenesses but of the impact of writers’ faces on their


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audiences’ reception of their work—who cares what Shakespeare looked like?—may undermine much of what has been discussed earlier in this chapter, but Greer’s assertion that drama, murder, and intrigue are the better lure for our interest also helps explain how Marlowe and the Marlowe Construct, and the face(s) behind them, are so vibrant and persistent even today.


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CHAPTER IV
MARLOWE ON STAGE, FILM AND TELEVISION The Power of Captured Performance upon the Classroom Canon
Among the most influential forces that help shape the canon is whether or not screen adaptations of literary works succeed or fail. Hollywood’s attraction to “quality literature” has generated a sub-industry of toney period pieces, rich acting showcases, and challenging (or comforting) lofty themes. As this tradition has generated Oscars for directors, stars, and costume designers, it has also solidified the presence of celebrated novels and plays in bookstores and classrooms. Likewise, when a work’s film treatment is unsuccessful, it sometimes hastens the original’s passing from first-tier to second, jeopardizing its place as it competes with other titles for its audience.
For three decades August Wilson’s Fences existed for high school students as an 80-page text, given life by the reader’s mind and classmates’ spoken interpretations of characters. Occasionally, the work’s popularity led to field trips to regional theaters for live performances, but for most audiences, productions were out of reach. YouTube possesses two clips of the play’s original 1987 Broadway run (starring James Earl Jones), along with a few other scenes of the 2010 Broadway revival (starring Denzel Washington). Until 2017, these were the only professional performances available to mass audiences, and they allowed instructors to compare and contrast small segments of the play with what Wilson presented on the page. But with a full film version now in existence (directed by Washington, its star), Fences is now frozen in many of its viewers’ minds as Fences the Movie, and as the film has moved from theaters to DVD to streaming, it may be a teacher’s first and only stop for a performative interpretation.
Before the movie version was ever produced, however, the play’s popularity in secondary instruction was secured by several other factors: it is a work by an established, celebrated author;


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it is a classically structured tragedy, suitable for assigning alongside Sophocles and Shakespeare; it indicts systemic racism; it portrays a painful father-son relationship; it portrays a strong, long-suffering mother; it presents an easily graspable symbol, present in the play’s title; it evokes histories of the Great Migration and Negro League Baseball, subjects taught in social studies classes; it is written by an African-American, helping teachers who wish to “diversify” their curriculum; it is brief; and it demonstrates the perils a tragic hero, undone by pride and self-delusion. In short, it is what some teachers call “an easy teach.” The play has also earned establishment honors that have pushed it into the canon, winning both the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award, and Wilson’s ten-play “Pittsburgh Cycle,” of which Fences is a part, has assured that most of his plays are revived and studied.
The movie Fences earned four Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and Viola Davis won Best Actress as Rose. These achievements have now cemented the Quality Play as a Quality Movie—a literary adaptation that can now be summoned to find performative expression of Wilson’s words and themes. Time will reveal whether Denzel Washington’s Troy will be as inseparable from the text as Marlon Brando’s Stanley is from Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, but the fact that the movie Fences was well received should postpone film remakes for decades (as is the case for Elia Kazan’s movie of Streetcar). And the critical success of the movie may help further entrench August Wilson in the first rank of twentieth-century playwrights assigned in literature classes. But having Washington as an audience’s perennial Troy means that just one interpretation dominates the rest; outside of those YouTube clips, the role’s originator—James Earl Jones as a powerful, domineering, angry Troy—will fade behind Washington’s more affable, amused, and haunted Troy. Thanks to Hollywood and its signifiers of quality, Fences is now contained in one filmic space, where one interpretation


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eclipses those that used to compete for space in classrooms, scholarship, and reader’s imaginations.
Whether Fences continues to elevate the place of August Wilson in the American literary canon is dependent on more than just Hollywood box office returns and Oscar nominations, but successful film adaptations have sometimes meant a great deal to authors and their works. The aforementioned Kazan-Brando-Leigh Streetcar is iconic; the movie of To Kill a Mockingbird won an Oscar a year after the book’s publication (making Atticus Finch and Gregory Peck inseparable); E.M. Forster and Jane Austen each enjoyed adaptation booms, during which nearly all of their works landed on the screen in the 1980s and the 2000s, respectively; Apocalypse Now helps keep Heart of Darkness stocked in the local bookstore; A1 Pacino and Ian McKellen’s star power brought Richard III back to the cinemas and to syllabi; and Stanley Kubrick ensured that at least one Anthony Burgess book remains a part of the conversation. Not all of these adaptations do their authors’ justice; Austen, for example, has been ill-served by the movies’ misreading (or ignoring) of her satiric intent, as Hollywood’s Oscar-bait impulses have transformed some books’ provocations into well-costumed middlebrow comforts. While successful movies produce book sales and heighten authors’ profiles, failed movie versions can sometimes harm a book’s reputation (The Bonfire of the Vanities, The Lovely Bones, and Dune come to mind). And then there are the categories of authors for whom film adaptation results in various mutations of reputation and perception. There are those authors who are adapted but not much read anymore (Jules Verne, James Fenimore Cooper, H.G. Wells), authors who may be unadaptable (Toni Morrison, Kafka, Marquez, Cervantes, Dostoevsky), books nearly erased because of their movie versions’ success (The Birds, Night of the Hunter, The Godfather, The Shining, There Will Be Blood), writers repeatedly served badly (Wilde, Carroll, Twain, Melville, Hawthorne, Swift), and writers who are known primarily for the single work that the movies


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made famous {Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is the Albee everyone can see whenever they want, and August Wilson may be in for the same fate if Fences is not joined on film by other plays of his “Pittsburgh Cycle”).
In short, the movies elevate, diminish, modify, distort, celebrate, destroy, and enrich what writers have put on the page. The phenomenon is one of the major ways a writer’s reputation changes and takes form, and when it comes to Marlowe and Shakespeare, stage and screen productions have been among the most telling markers for how these writers have been perceived—and how their works should be read.
Lois Potter provides a survey of how Marlowe’s major plays have fared on stage and screen, and the plays’ distinct fates indicate much of what is valued about Marlowe over time, given that some plays fare well while others fade, and vice versa. The Jew of Malta, she writes, was among the most popular plays of the 1590s but was largely forgotten after the English Civil War. The work needed a rehabilitation of Marlowe’s image as a “mad Romantic genius” in the 19th century (Potter 262). Tales of Marlowe being killed by a rival “in his lewd love” fed this image and helped vividly distinguish the playwright from his contemporaries. Consequently, Faustus and Tamhurlaine rose in reputation and in number of performances, as they were seen as having been created by a man with an “aspiring mind” about characters with grand, destructive ambitions. Nineteenth-century observers admired the play for seeming unstageable, thereby elevating the genius that produced them (262). If Marlowe’s work was so unwieldy, surely the mind that produced it must be brilliant. But after the 1920s discovery of the coroner’s inquest into Marlowe’s death, as well as more evidence of his connections to Elizabethan espionage, critics began to describe a “more cynical Marlowe,” causing more directors to stage The Jew of Malta and Edward II. And, as demonstrated in Chapter V, the embrace of Marlowe as a gay martyr tied him even closer to Edward IT, which has become more and more discussed and


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performed (Potter 263). These trends demonstrate that the perception of Marlowe’s evolving reputation has driven audiences’ expectations.
Over the centuries, Dr. Faustus enjoyed a number of advantages to become Marlowe’s most famous work: it tells a previously known legend, it contains spectacular visual effects, its two competing texts allow directors to mix and match for significantly different interpretations, its themes address grave matters of spiritual consequence, its depiction of sin can be played for admonition or for glamor, its farcical elements relieve audience’s tension, its protagonist suggests the alleged transgressions of its playwright, and, as importantly, a later work helps cements the play’s significance. Goethe’s 1808 Faust tells its own tale of the title character and Mephistopheles, incorporating not only the legends but Marlowe’s earlier work. Fausf s immense success and influence elevated Marlowe’s place in literature. Potter writes, “So Faustus, now seen in the light of the later masterpiece, shook off its farcical associations to become the most widely studied work by a contemporary of Shakespeare” (263). Before Goethe, the play was frequently underestimated for its comedic elements and visual spectacle. Michael Hathaway writes that 17th century productions were famous for the show of it: “It was the spectacle of the evils and not the mind of the hero that was at the center of the play” (quoted in Potter 263), and in 1697 there was a production designed for just two comic actors. This phenomenon came to a head when the characters of the doctor and the clown were fused into “The Harlequin Doctor Faustus” for 18th century pantomimes (Potter 263). But Goethe’s impact helped redirect productions of Marlowe’s work back toward Faustus’ indictments, bargaining, hubris, and sacrifice. In 1929, for example, Dr. Faustus appeared on a double bill at the first Canterbury Festival with the medieval morality play Everyman, joining the tradition as “an austere discourse on the wages of sin” (Potter 264).


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The play has remained elastic enough to be transformed by a number of notable 20th century productions. Orson Welles cast an African-American Mephistopheles to his own Faustus in 1937, and Welles’ skills in magic produced spectacular stage effects, particularly in the papal court scene. The production helped fuel Marlowe’s between-the-wars boom in America, as Welles’ combination of terror, slapstick, puppets, and magic “managed to make Faustus both funny and horrific.. .the relation between these two aspects of the play has been the main problem for most directors,” writes Potter, but Welles solved it (264). John Houseman speculates that his collaborator Welles succeeded in great part because he “identified with the doomed genius.” Other notable productions include a 1974 Royal Shakespeare Company version that took place entirely in Faustus’ study. John Barton directed Ian McKellen to voice the Good and Evil Angels, puppeteering them himself, which led audiences to believe the entire play took place in the doctor’s mind. Later, at the Young Vic in 2002, Faustus delivers the Helen of Troy speech to his own reflection in a mirror. The one movie version, starring Richard Burton, casts protagonists from other Marlowe plays in the Seven Deadly Sins scene, with Tamburlaine as Wrath and Barabas as Covetousness. The play’s life on screen is so limited that the only other notable feature is 1994’s surreal animated Tausi by Jan Svankmajer, which combined Goethe, Marlowe, and a number of other Faustian legends (Potter 265). Such a variety of approaches indicates that Marlowe’s tale remains compelling for every generation.
Conditions unrelated to the text sometime dictate how often a play is produced. How easily a production can be cast and staged is an enormous part of how it establishes its legacy; revivals of Angels in America, Nicholas Nicklehy, and Einstein on the Beach, for example, are always Events, but their massive staging requirements mean that they are rarely performed. Marlowe’s Tamburlaine likewise is limited because of its scale, length, and large cast (Potter 266). But sometimes interpretations link Elizabethan works to contemporary conditions, thereby


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giving new life to Marlowe’s visions. In the 20th century, Tamburlaine gained life from directors associating the protagonist with contemporary politics and war, sometimes even making Tamburlaine a Hitler figure. Nazi parallels have also animated productions of The Jew of Malta., they have also been employed to mute the play’s anti-Semitism—the idea being that by historicizing the play it would be distant from bigotry. A 1990 version set the play in a Nazi factory in Warsaw; in 1999 at the Almeida Theatre, the play ends with an image of a father “heroically resisting a Nazi death-oven”; a 1976 French production replaced the prologue’s Machiavel with the ghost of Marlowe himself—bloodied and emoting—introducing characters wearing distorted Julius Streicher-inspired Nazi caricatures of Jews. Potter writes that consequently “the production was contextualized both in Marlowe’s own milieu and in later history, with characters putting on caricatures of the grotesque Jew as masks, evoking Hitler once again” (271). Such provocative adaptations signal that the productions are aware of how troubling Marlowe’s depictions may be today, and, if well executed, animate the dramas for new audiences.
The Jew of Malta and Edward II have both benefitted from their close relationship—in themes, subjects, and echoes—with two of Shakespeare’s plays, The Merchant of Venice and RichardII. As time went on, theater companies would sometimes pair the Marlowes with the Shakespeares, thus enabling Marlowe to attach himself to the Shakespeare juggernaut and getting both stage time and scholarly attention. For The Jew of Malta!Merchant of Venice pairing, the problem for interpreters has been how to reconcile, defuse, or deconstruct the question of anti-Semitism. The actor Edmund Kean, in the early 1800s, created a noble Barabas and stressed the love story between Mathias and Lodowic (even transplanting passionate dialogue from EdwardII involving Edward and Gaveston) (Potter 268-69). Kean even introduced the play as being the product of “the star to Shakespeare’s glorious sun,” giving


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another boost to the contemporary lesser light (Potter 269). Subsequent productions often stressed the play’s humor—“disinfecting” the play of its anti-Semitism, in Potter’s words, by adopting T.S. Eliot’s interpretation of Jew of Malta as a “savage farce” (269). When comedy was insufficient, directors created Brechtian distancing effects to “keep reviewers from dwelling on the play’s anti-Semitism” (269). These methods often succeed: the Jewish Chronicle reviewed a 1987 Stratford production as, yes, anti-Jewish but also “anti-Christian and anti-Moslem. Indeed, it is anti-everything except a good laugh” (Potter 270). Such approaches help sustain a “bigoted” or “problematic” play in the repertory.
EdwardII has achieved the greatest benefits from such freedom in adaptations.
Marlowe’s tale of a weak, distracted, self-destructive, and deposed king is said to have inspired close parallels in Shakespeare’s RichardII—sometimes causing the plays to be paired, as in the case of The Merchant of Venice and The Jew of Malta. The plays also share degrees of homoeroticism and themes of power, weakness, and otherness that have drawn more and more attention. RichardII is far less overt in these matters than the Marlowe play, but it is notable that many of the most famous Richards have been played androgynously by gay or bisexual actors, including Derek Jacobi, Ian McKellen, Ben Whishaw, Mark Rylance, John Gielgud, Michael Redgrave, and at the National Theatre in 1995 by the actress Fiona Shaw (Dobson). The link to Shakespeare not only heightens the profile of Edward If it informs new readings of both plays. When the two plays are paired, perhaps the exchange for lending the Marlowe play Shakespeare’s prestige is RichardIIgaining more subversive resonances, making even its potential homosexual elements more acceptable to stage.
Potter asserts that the 20th century rise of Edward II—becoming “almost equal to Doctor Faustus as Marlowe’s most performed and adapted play”—is the most remarkable development in Marlowe’s performance history (272). She cites two factors: Bertolt Brecht’s 1923 adaptation


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and growing attention to homosexuality and homophobia. Before Brecht and changing societal mores, directors had a difficult time portraying the play’s sexual component. Potter ascribes part of the difficulty to the fate of Oscar Wilde; the earliest revivals after his trial for “gross indecency” downplayed any homosexual attraction between Edward and Gaveston. Writing of a 1906 Stratford production, the Manchester Guardian wrote of the difficulty in making Isabella and Gaveston “both intelligible to a modern audience and at the same time to Marlowe’s intention.” Gaveston was portrayed as a “typical Frenchman, impudent and frivolous.. .quite delightful,” and the sodomizing violence of Edward’s murder was merely suggested (Potter 273). Brecht’s adaptation, however, reinvigorated the play’s dynamics and horrors. After likely seeing a popular Berlin production of Richard //, Brecht found in Marlowe a vehicle for his own art. Stylizing the set to strip it of realism, he added white pancake makeup to the actors, emphasized the terror of the battle scenes, inserted a ballad singer and captions, and made Gaveston’s importance to Edward explicit, calling him “King Eddie’s Whore.” Brecht’s choices influenced decades of straight Marlovian productions and the two playwrights were even blended together in the National Theatre’s 1968 EdwardII.
But it was the British and not the German who made the play’s sexual politics resonate most effectively. On the English stage, a transmission of John Barton (directing Toby Robertson in 1951) to Toby Robertson (directing Derek Jacobi in 1958) to Robertson again (directing Ian McKellen in 1969) have helped establish EdwardII as “a masterpiece fit for a national repertory” (words appied to the Jacobi triumph). The 1969 play was shown as part of a double bill, with McKellen playing not only Edward in the Marlowe play but Richard in Shakespeare’s Richard//, again uniting these tragedies and their authors. And it is at this point that the questions of Marlowe’s sexuality met his protagonist’s struggles so explicitly, as Robertson and McKellen tied EdwardIIto their country’s own politics. For one thing, thanks to the 1968


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abolition of pre-production censorship by the Lord Chamberlain, Robertson directed his Edward and Gaveston actors to embrace in an open-mouth kiss. Robertson recalled, “it seemed extraordinary that you should actually do this on the stage at all,” but it was accomplished—not only on stage but also on televisions when the play was broadcast (Potter 273). Robertson also remembers McKellen “almost parading his...homosexuality” even though he was still closeted at this time (Aebischer 318). Pascale Aebischer writes that McKellen’s “extravagant performance of same-sex desire was part of a larger strategy aimed at distinguishing Marlowe’s king as much as possible from his own performance as Shakespeare’s Richard II” (318). The play’s reception, Aebischer writes, revealed attitudes toward the play’s boldness and the surrounding society’s censure, particularly in Edward’s final scene as he is brutally sodomized by Lightborn’s red-hot poker:
Lightborn’s tights, worn in the same fashion as those of Edward, Gaveston, and Spencer, cue the viewer to consider him a member of the homosexual faction in Edward’s court. The murder, as a result, carries a strong sad-erotic charge, with.. .Lightborn comforting and stroking the wretched king, even kissing Edward on the mouth before proceeding.. .The camera focuses on Edward’s screaming face, but not before allowing a glimpse of the chilling precision with which Lightborn aims the red-hot poker towards Edward’s bottom. With Lightborn stroking dead Edward’s legs, Martrevis stabs him in the back, so that the executioner collapses over Edward’s body in a final sexualized embrace. If the kiss between Edward and Gaveston at the beginning of the production speaks of the onset of an era in which homosexual desire can be expressed and valued, the murder with which it concludes suggest an affinity between homoeroticism and sadistic violence that disturbs a reading of the production as a progressive portrayal of same-sex desire. (318-319)
That first Edward-Gaveston kiss, along with the play’s codpieces, McKellen’s emotional, even sometimes campy performance, and the horrors of its finale, all gave the play a new political charge in a potentially freer artistic climate. But Lord Chamberlain’s relaxation of censorship laws were distorted by a later government action, which resulted in new ways to energize productions of Edward II as shows of resistance.


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Section 28, a part of a British decree in 1988, prohibited any events, including “artistic” ones, which might “promote homosexuality” (Potter 273). Consequently, many artists, musicians, writers, and activists ensured that their works would test the order. Suddenly, Marlowe’s Edward II was more vital than ever. Charles R. Forker’s history of the play’s performances writes that the “productions became less like history plays and more like polemics against a homophobe society” (Forker, look in Potter for the source). Since those behind Section 28 even named Marlowe as a “gay” author, interest grew in other Marlowe plays, including a Dido set in a gay nightclub and a leather-clad all-male Faustus (Potter 273), but EdwardII became literally a resistant stage. Potter writes that the sodomy finale was adopted “to reflect a martyrdom that reflected the sense of persecution in the gay community” (275). Directors imported rumors and allegations about Marlowe’s life into their productions. President Clinton’s “Don't Ask/Don’t Tell” policy for homosexuals in the military inspired a cross-dressed, sexualized production in Washington, D.C. At Sheffield in 2001 and at the Globe in 2003, the Edward-Gaveston relationship became explicit, much more so than the text suggests—much same-sex kissing, for one thing, along with an Amazonian (male) Isabella leading an army. As the Globe’s director put it, in the climate of the early twenty-first century, a modern audience might “find words and looks evasive” (Potter 276). Better to cut through subtlety to confront unjust prohibitions, especially when using a 400-year-old play to challenge today’s crises.
Derek Jarman’s Queer Edward II
The only professional film production of a Marlowe play in the past fifty years is Derek Jarman’s Edward 7/(1991). Written originally as Queer Edward II by the HIV-positive, gay activist Jarman, it is a vehicle to provoke a repressive nation, venerate a brilliant martyr, indict Section 28, celebrate same-sex love, and quarrel with prior depictions of the king (even that of Ian McKellen).


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Aebischer writes that among the catalysts for Jarman’s interpretation of the play was his resentment of moderate gay voices, including Ian McKellen’s, who did not fully combat the Thatcher government’s policies. McKellen declared his homosexuality late in life in 1987, whereas Jarman was out since the early 1970s and active within OutRage!, a radical group that performed publicity stunts and outed closeted celebrities. Jarman’s contraction of AIDS further intensified his politics and his art, and he adapted Marlowe’s play as a pure expression of love in the face of malevolent forces. Casting working class actors for Edward and Gaveston, Jarman disconnects from the tradition of classically trained actors like McKellen. He even turns much of Marlowe’s verse into prose and leaves the clipped, versifying cadences to Tilda Swinton’s Isabella, using her, claims Aebischer, to evoke the cold precision of classic Shakespearean acting favored by the McKellens of the world (321). In this way, Edward II’s gay court is in opposition to the elites surrounding them; they pursue art and music while the outsiders connive to usurp them. Drag queens, dancers, and barely clothed musicians perform to uplift Edward and his cohort’s spirits as they unknowingly advance toward disaster. Aebischer sees the relation between the two most easily accessible EdwardII productions to be antagonistic: on one hand, the star McKellen—closeted then and later only a moderate establishment voice for gay rights— and on the other, the radical Jarman—disgusted by accommodation in the face of persecution and rising deaths. Jarman wrote of McKellen’s knighthood through the lens of his own understanding of the crowd-pleasing and politically savvy Shakespeare and the rebel Marlowe:
“I suspect if Elizabeth I was dishing out knighthoods, Shakespeare would have been at the front door with a begging bowl. Marlowe would have run a mile” (320). That McKellen, “England’s leading gay man,” would accept such an honor during Thatcher’s era caused Jarman to question the star’s allegiances. And this helps us understand just why Jarman identified so fully with the construct of Marlowe as a sexual freedom fighter and a genius dissident.


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The film itself is rousing. Expressionistic sets and costumes sometimes evoke the 14th Century even amid contemporary protest banners (“Gay Desire Is Not a Crime” “Stop the Violence Against Gays and Lesbians” “Queer as Fuck”), the police’s machine guns, and Edward Ill’s Walkman. Characters are shot to glow colorfully, isolated amid dark shadows and rough castle walls, and Tilda Swinton’s vampiric Isabella (she kills Kent by biting his neck) evokes Thatcher more than once. Edward’s murder is dreamed rather than enacted. The nightmare death scene is horrific, as Edward is pinned down and the penetrating poker illuminates the scene in a violent red to match Edward’s screams. The king awakens and the executioner Lightborn spares Edward with a kiss, but there is no joy in this departure from the text. The final shots are of the child Edward III, wearing his mother’s earrings and lipstick, his ears plugged into the Nutcracker Suite, dancing newly crowned atop a cage containing his mother and Mortimer. They are caked in powder, frozen in expression like two Beckett characters trapped in another limbo.
Jarman’s Edward (Steve Waddington) never adopts McKellen’s camp gestures and never seems weak, even shackled in his own dungeon. Repressive forces tumble, as Jarman enjoins his own gay-rights group OutRage! to battle police and soldiers on screen. The thrills are high, the language is glorious, and the play is renewed and alive, as Jarman ties it and its author intimately to current and eternal struggles. Alas, naked men are also abundant, which means that this movie will likely never be a part of secondary instruction and thus irrelevant to Marlowe’s place in the classroom canon. A teacher could perhaps skip the first half-hour’s love-making and nude rugby, for the last hour is a tense battle for the crown, but that would do a crime to Jarman’s vision. Marlowe’s genius must reach that teacher’s students in other ways, and happily, for some, Jarman’s old nemesis McKellen is committed to the cause. Touring schools across England and promoting the mission via YouTube and videos, McKellen takes seriously his role as a gay ambassador for Shakespeare and Marlowe, and the DVD of his 1970 Edward may start to visit


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the classes that show his Richard III or his Macbeth. Aebischer is not terribly optimistic about
the prospect, however, for Marlowe’s screen legacy is scant. Citing not only these films but
Murnau’s and Svankajer’s obscure re-fashionings of Faustus, as well as a college production of
The Jew of Malta, Aebischer writes that they...
[prompt] a reconsideration of the missionary zeal and the connections to amateur performance shared by the majority of film adaptations of Marlowe’s plays, including Jarman’s polished film, with its amateur performers, and McKellen’s Edward//, with its origins in student theatre. An anachronic view of these films thus highlights the gap that continues to separate “small-time Marlowe” on screen from the glitzy big-budget professionalism of “big-time Shakespeare.” (323)
In literature courses all over the world, Kenneth Branagh and Laurence Olivier bring
Shakespeare to movie-day life. McKellen’s Richard III vies with Olivier’s and Pacino’s, and Baz
Luhrmann’s Leo & Claire Romeo and Juliet encodes its author’s artistry, for better or worse, in
ninth-grade minds. Teachers can choose from a dozen Othellos and Macbeths, two dozen
Hamlets, and Hollywood star turns in the comedies. Scheduled for 2019 is a movie combining
the Henry IV plays with Henry V, starring Timothee Chalamet and Robert Pattinson, both
equipped to fill seats with their admirers. This movie is being made just five years after Tom
Hiddleston played Prince Hal and King Henry in The Hollow Crown. Between these
productions—in fact, since 1991—there have been zero Marlowe movies, and nothing to tempt a
teacher to try an accompanying Marlowe text, nothing to get students to put down their
Shakespeares for a different Elizabethan.
Richard Burton’s Faustus
The only other major film production of a Christopher Marlowe play is Richard Burton and Neville CoghilT s Doctor Faustus (1968), for which no one has yet to express admiration. Coghill was Burton’s acting teacher back at Oxford, and the movie star repaid the debt by returning to college and enacting a chopped-up version of the play with the Oxford Dramatic Society. The movie is a record of the stage event, but this time adorned with Burton’s wife


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Elizabeth Taylor as Helen. (Unlike the play, this Helen appears, disappears, and reappears throughout the proceedings, each time distractingly mute and out of place.) Thanks to its garish colors, draping costumes, and kaleidoscopic super-imposed effects (evoking more of a Star Trek episode than a Marlowe play), the movie appears indifferent to Faustus’ crises no matter how much Burton emotes. The film did no favors for Marlowe’s profile, as it was universally panned. Time Magazine lamented that Burton and Coghill “cropped lines, gouged passages, transplanted speeches and transposed sequences with complete indifference to the original” (Time Magazine). Renata Adler’s New York Times review tried to summon some value if only in her derision: “The whole enterprise has the immense vulgarity of a collaboration (almost Faustian, really) in which Academe would sell its soul for a taste of the glamour of Hollywood; and the stars are only too happy to appear awhile in the pretentious friar’s robes from Academe” (Adler). Noting that Coghill transplanted lines from Tamburlaine and elsewhere, in an effort “apparently to improve the text a little,” the movie “is of an awfulness that bends the mind.. .full of rococo touches (screens within crystals, and eyeglasses and eyes of skulls) which should be appropriate to the necromantic aura of the text, but are not” (Adler). More than one reviewer said the film looked like the Burtons simply wished for a home movie of them together to watch at home, yet charged admission to the rest of us. Consequently, this Doctor Faustus is virtually unseen today. When this writer taught the Marlowe play to high school juniors, the movie was valuable only as a ridiculous contrast to Marlowe’s vision. Teachers should play it only for laughs, or for groans.


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Figure 4: Rupert Everett as Christopher Marlowe in Shakespeare in Love.
Source: General-History, com
From Marlowe Adapted to Marlowe Embodied
Having one’s plays become cinematic fare is one thing; becoming a character in someone else’s production is quite another. A surprise addition to Marlowe lore came in the form of actor Rupert Everett. In a memorable cameo in Shakespeare in Love (1998), Everett portrayed Christopher “Kit” Marlowe as Shakespeare’s contemporary and better (see Figure 4). Hailed throughout the play by others, including a parade of actors auditioning with his Faustus soliloquy “Is this the face that launched a thousand ships,” the Marlowe character is established as the dominant and prosperous artist in a world where Shakespeare is but an upstart. The blissfully ahistorical movie is filled with in-jokes and allusions for those familiar with the time and the subject—Shakespeare practicing a signature that will be studied for centuries to come, actors and theatres feuding for profits and sex, shopkeepers dropping immortal quotations in casual conversations, characters pursuing cross-dressing deceptions, and a malevolent boy turning out to be the future wicked playwright John Webster—and Marlowe’s fame and death are central to the plot. In a brief tavern scene, Marlowe offers to buy the struggling Will a brandy before giving him advice on what to do with his unwritten play, Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter. It is clear that they are friendly (“Hello, Will”, “Hello, Kit”), competitive (Will


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grudgingly praises the famous language of Faustus), but cooperative. Marlowe tells him of his new play, The Massacre at Paris (“Good title,” says Will), and advises Shakespeare to make a few changes in the pirate story: set it in Italy, give Romeo a love interest in a rival family, give him a doomed best friend named Mercutio (“Good name,” says the admiring Will). None of these ideas could have sprung from Marlowe’s mind in real life, of course (the Romeo and Juliet story was already decades old before Shakespeare made it his own), but the scene establishes Marlowe as friendly, fraternal, helpful, and charming, while young Shakespeare is just about to join Marlowe’s lofty world and, of course, surpass him.
Potter writes that many people invested in an iconoclastic, gay Marlowe “were annoyed at what looked like a sanitization of the historical character in the interest of popular success and the Academy Award the film eventually won.. .played neither as an overreacher nor as someone likely to have held any of the views in the Baines Note.. .he is charming, effortlessly authoritative, and, in his advice to the floundering young Shakespeare, always right” (277). Whatever motivation to make Marlowe in this style, the film succeeded mightily in renewing interest in the playwright. As Potter writes, when mutual friends inform Will of Marlowe’s murder, Will is filled with guilt because he thought the blade was intended for him. Throughout the film, Shakespeare has been jealous of his rival’s success and talent and might have wished him away if he could. When that desire comes to terrible fruition, Shakespeare scolds his weakness and dedicates himself to doing justice to Marlowe’s genius in his own work. The audience knows how this will all turn out in the end—that Marlowe will be a three-minute cameo in an imaged love story about the world’s most celebrated author—but the spirit of Marlowe has buoyed the movie itself. Thanks to Shakespeare in Love, his persona grew alongside his mysteries.


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Figure 5: Trystan Gravelle (second from left) as Christopher Marlowe in the movie Anonymous, joined by William Shakespeare (standing) and Ben Jonson (foreground). Source: Columbia Pictures
Anonymous
Marlowe does not always enjoy such favorable fictional treatment, as even his imagined virtues can be overthrown by another myth. Roland Emmerich’s film Anonymous (2011) is a frenetic, cockeyed, and ahistorical fantasy depicting the Earl of Oxford as the true author of the plays attributed to Shakespeare. In it Trystan Gravelle portrays Marlowe as a shifty, doubledealing competitor and adopts the mincing, haughty quality of a cliched gay type (see Figure 5). Within the story, Marlowe discovers Shakespeare’s arrangement with Oxford (the earl pays the illiterate, bumbling actor to put his name on the plays Oxford writes). Emerging from the shadows one dark night to meet Ben Jonson, a reluctant co-conspirator, Marlowe reveals how easily he can send people to the Tower; all it takes is but a word to the right people, and since Shakespeare “is not one of us, Ben,” Marlowe hints at undoing the whole fraudulent enterprise. This is the last of two short Marlowe scenes. Jonson later informs us that Marlowe’s throat was cut sometime after confronting Shakespeare with the truth. Here the movie compounds its many affronts to history, making the Stratford man not only an ignorant fool but a possible accomplice


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to murder. In his small presence in Anonymous, Marlowe is charm-free, self-interested, jealous, and duplicitous (even donning a sinister Snidely Whiplash moustache). The portrayal might have undone Everett’s winning performance in Shakespeare in Love, but Anonymous was a failure at the box office and could not even damage its target, “the fraud Shakespeare,” much less Marlowe. For the classroom, the movie is of interest only to teachers who want to provoke (or mislead) students with authorship fabrications.
Figure 6: Jamie Campbell as Christopher Marlowe in TNT’s Will
Source: TNTDrama.com
Will
Marlowe’s most sustained fictional portrayal is in the TNT television drama Will (2017), which imagines Shakespeare’s first year in London as a chaotic tale that plunges him into the perils of love, theatre, inspiration, and the Catholic underground (see Figure 6). Since that time of Shakespeare’s life is unrecorded by history, creator Craig Pearce gaily ignores timelines and period-piece niceties. The Clash’s “London Calling” boldly accompanies the show’s first scene,


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a panorama of busy London taverns, shops, bazaars, buskers, street life, and theaters. The city is filthy but alive, and the show spends much time depicting the struggles of slum life, including hunger, prostitution, plague, and the ever-present necessities of chamberpots. “A turd by another other names does not smell sweet,” quips one character, establishing a pattern of embedded Shakespearean language. Anachronisms abound, from one character criticizing Shakespeare’s “fragile male ego” to an abundance of black actors to playbills advertising Henry VI and Two Gentlemen of Verona in punk-rock graphics and lettering. There is even a rap battle between the newly arrived Shakespeare and the condescending Robert Greene, whose famous insult of Shakespeare as “upstart crow” gets a public comeuppance. The soundtrack also enlivens this tone, adding the Beastie Boys, Sex Pistols, Radiohead, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, T. Rex, and David Bowie to the score. Jonathan Livingstone writes in the New Republic that the (mostly) mid-to-late-1970s music gives the scenario the excitement of a major transitionary period, from glam rock to punk rock, embodied respectively in Will by the glamorous, decadent Kit Marlowe and the raw upstart heir, Will Shakespeare (Livingstone). And this contrast in personalities and artistic sensibilities provides a dynamic fictional Marlowe to finally compete with the many Shakespeares that storytellers have already depicted.
Jamie Campbell Bower’s Kit is long-haired, androgynous, lithe, and impossibly ambitious. Throughout the show, Marlowe’s interests in otherworldy matters suggest those of his Dr. Faustus (“dost thou desire money, power?” he asks of his reflection), as he holds seances, summons masters in the black arts, and even buries himself alive to test death itself. His sexuality is also potent, bisexual but usually seen with men and boys, including at least one full-fledged orgy (“come on, boys, inspire me!”). But he does not neglect his writing—kicking out his roomful of lovers, he declares, “Today is a work day.. .1 must wrestle with that bitch, the muse”—and he sees in the Stratford outsider (Laurie Davidson) a talent worthy of his own. This


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Marlowe is also temperamental, throwing tantrums in his vast home (filled with candles, skulls, and emblems of the occult) and leaping from joy to despair (“my soul is heavy with too much sin”) and back again within seconds. He becomes enmeshed in Will’s own involvement in the Catholic underground (the show turns the Catholic martyr Robert Southwell into Will’s cousin), spying as a double agent as he profits from Walshingham’s secret service even as he protects its targets. Slyly foiling the plans of the queen’s torturer Richard Topcliffe, Marlowe gains Will’s trust and tries to cultivate the nascent artist (who, by contrast, is keeping time with single young woman who is helping him with his writing). Such a vivid portrait gives rich imagery to Marlowe as a transgressor, a genius, and a foil to Shakespeare.
Kit is constantly prowling for inspiration, and he attempts to use Will as a proxy explorer of the unseen world. To the sounds of T. Rex’s “20th Century Boy,” Kit leads Will to a party filled with revelry, sex, and tattoos. Upstairs “at the real party” he introduces Will to Sir Francis Bacon (“a notorious sodomite”) and Sir Walter Raleigh (“a real supernova”), who calls America a “brave new world,” which, in one the show’s many obvious moments, inspires Will to write the phrase down. Here Marlowe confesses his jealousy of Shakespeare and his own dilemma: “The fault lies in my astrology. I’m doomed to swim against the stream. The more the public wants me, the less I give them.” Shakespeare replies, alas, “Perhaps the fault lies not in the stars but in yourself.” These too-on-the-nose exchanges occur throughout Will, hampering the genuinely refreshing crises and clashes within each episode, and the Kit/Will contrast becomes didactic as well. Marlowe later summons Will to a fire ceremony, hoping that the new playwright can see things in the fire that he can’t (“that way, greatness lies”). This scene is one of many that portray Marlowe not just as the conjurer of Faustus but as a failed Faustus himself—he cannot make the leaps his character can. This brings him a cynicism about God and hell (“it’s all theater,” he says) that results in him penning Dr. Faustus for Henslowe’s Rose


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Theatre. Each episode deepens the depiction of Marlowe as a tragic figure, cut down before he could fulfill impossible ambitions. Will, on the other hand, learns from his new friend’s extremes; he sees nothing in the fire but the mania of his host, and this dabbling with excess redirects him to more seriously produce his own work. Throughout Will, the rival geniuses—one gay, thrilling, and thwarted, the other straight, committed, and designed to last—provide two models for the pursuit of art, but the doomed one is played with much more fun. Will makes Marlowe attractive and exciting, the kind of rebel worth his own ten hours of television.
Will was canceled after just one season, for its reception was mixed. Many were amused by its violations of history and decorum, while others were offended. The historian Michael Wood helped guide issues of setting and conflict, but the show’s obviousness often won out (when Will achieves his first great success—“one hit, and he thinks he’s Marlowe”—the show depicts Will cavorting, drinking, and loving to David Bowie’s “Fame”). The show’s writers tried to get every allusion and touch into the scenes they could; at one point Kit sighs to an older dying lover, “You were the only one who encouraged me to be Marlowe” and unveils the Corpus Christi portrait, revealing that the older man was its painter. This blend of history and myth, gravity and trivia consistently undermines the show’s vision, including its irreverent soundtrack. Pitchfork’s Judy Berman, for example, objects to the show’s co-opting of a vital musical movement:
Shakespeare certainly revolutionized literature, but now that the punk aesthetic has become synonymous with all forms of rebellion throughout history, we’ve forgotten that not every revolutionary is a punk. And that’s why even a show as silly as Will has the power to chip away at the movement’s fragile ideological legacy. (Berman)
The show posits theater as the punk rock of its time, Berman writes, “simply because it gave
outsize personalities a platform, attracted a crude audience, and worried people in power.” That
is a conceit that does a disservice to both the rock era and to Marlowe’s. The New Republic,
meanwhile, praised the show’s leather trousers and “slippery sexiness, as long as the jokes keep


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coming” (Livingstone). For Shakespeare, his time, and the Marlowe character especially, Will attempted a resurrection. It sought to demystify and glamorize, to humanize and revere. It provides a possible way for at least one version of Marlowe—sexy, inspired, hedonistic, damned—to be remembered in the public mind.
It may be to his advantage that there is no single iconic movie of Marlowe’s work. Instead his plays live on the page and on the stage, giving energy to differing interpretations and arguments. For most people, by contrast, thqFences movie will be The Version of August Wilson’s play for a generation or longer. As for our idea of Marlowe as a figure of his own, perhaps he will gain new fame from other depictions; Dead Man in Deptford, History Play, School of Night, and other works (dramatizing what some think of as his life) have yet to be adapted for the screen, and surely there is a Shakespeare/Marlowe buddy picture stuck on some hopeful screenwriter’s laptop. A successful portrayal could inspire student-friendly Folger Library-like paperbacks of his plays, or even a Marlowe Made Easy edition of Edward II—with the original verse and modern paraphrases mirroring each other on every page. Finally, another path to renewed classroom attention could result from an updated, modern version of one of his plays. If 1995’s Clueless helped put Emma back on many school reading lists, Doctor Faustus may have its day again.


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CHAPTER V
POLITICIZATION: THE QUEER THEORY 90s & MARLOWE’S 21st-CENTURY LIFE
The Political Charge of Canon Selection
The first official Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) for high school students began in the late 1980s, and in schools and colleges across the country such LGBTQ associations are now commonplace. The groups provide support, camaraderie, counseling, and affirmation, and their energies are often directed toward school policies regarding inclusion and discrimination. Advocates credit GSAs for reducing student mental health crises and even suicide rates for LGBT youth. The rise of these associations coincides not only with the country’s growing acceptance of homosexual and non-binary gender issues, including breakthroughs in equal rights law and marriage rights, but a shift in the politicization of what is taught in the classroom. More recently, the growing visibility of trans students and their needs have reoriented political discussions in schools and on campus. Demands for LGBT representation in the canon also runs in tandem with new ways to apply developments in understanding how heteronormative constructs shape literature, its reception, and instruction. As academics and their students have helped popularize radical conceptions of gender and sexuality, some writers and artists have been adopted for the cause. For gay-identified writers like Christopher Marlowe, these developments helped revive his profile and point a way toward how his work may become more widely read and taught in the near future.
Queer Theory in the 1990s
After Stonewall, as gays and lesbians marched slowly toward greater acceptance in popular culture and in civil rights, homophobic resistance and the AIDS epidemic inspired greater and more visible activism. Many academics embodied these resistant energies by studying such issues as homosexuality, bisexuality, transgenderism, gender, sex, normativity,


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deviance, power, and identity itself. As one part of the mission, scholars re-inspected the classics. Queer-centric readings of Elizabethan works are now common, and they do not merely address cross-dressing comedies. (JSTOR provides a bounty of essays, including “Queering the Shakespeare Family,” “Queer Virgins and Virgin Queens on the Early Modern Stage,” “Butch Boys in the Mist,” and “The Anus of Coriolanus”). Angela Ahlgren writes of the richness of the terrain, calling contemporary productions of classic work “particularly crucial sites for queer analysis precisely because they call into question a host of assumptions about the vexed nature of same-sex desire in the West across historical periods” (9). Without such fresh discourse in queer and gender studies, theorists claim, such works might atrophy.
Jonathan Crewe writes that, aside from William Empson and Oscar Wilde, critics generally disavowed or ignored such questions until Michel Foucault and later Judith Butler reshaped critical priorities, which for Marlowe meant new life in academic journals (Crewe 1).
By rejecting binary/non-binary labels, queer theorists have opened heretofore ignored dimensions in Edward //, in particular, and the language of homosexuality, pederasty, and, above all, sodomy now reorient our understanding of Marlowe’s verse (Crewe 9). Elizabethan poetry is enriched when readers embrace same-sex ambiguities, and Marlowe, being far more notorious in life and in death than his rival Shakespeare, has gained the most from those attracted to the transgressive and the romantic. To cement this reappraisal, the 2001 collection Marlowe, History & Sexuality was devoted entirely to queer theory readings of Marlowe’s work, as the editors explicitly endeavored “to suggest the range and intensity of interest in Marlowe in the 1990s” (Cunningham).
Mario DiGangi notes that such discussions of sexuality are quite a recent phenomenon. “There was a time in Renaissance studies,” he writes, when any notion of homosexuality in a poem or play “was likely to be accompanied by indignant or apologetic disavowals” (129).


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What’s more, the days of snickering at bowdlerized Shakespeare in the 1940s was strictly heterosexual mischief, for in academic discourse, the Other was invisible. Scholars reading homoeroticism into early modern poetry were commanded to retract and apologize (DiGangi 2). Consequently, one may applaud the rise of queer theory as an engine of renewal—for both literature’s readers and its makers—as it creates new spaces in which early modern literature may be interpreted in the language of sexual reality and transgression.
Marlowe’s works, therefore, are especially effective transmitters of critical orthodoxies— whether lodged, dislodged, or otherwise. His standing as a likely gay author, killed violently after troubling the state in various ways, added force to the rise of queer theory in the 1990s. David Clark even suggests that Marlowe and queer theory share significant overlapping qualities, primarily due to each’s ambiguities: “If Marlowe.. .is a slippery subject, queer theory is no less tangible, ever both questioning and self-questioning. It may embrace whatever is non-normative but is also invested in the reworking of what is normative” (232-233). This element of questioning identity is apt for the Marlowe persona and artist we celebrate today. Clark writes that queer theory promises to embrace the Other into a “category of ‘belonging’.. .yet dismisses universality as illusory and privileges the individual, the various, the heterodox” (233). Here we can see how fully the Marlowe construct suits queer theory. As illustrated in Chapter IV, theaters and filmmakers employed Marlowe as a political weapon against repressive laws and bigots. Judith Butler’s characterization of the word queer itself demonstrates how adaptable queer theory can be in addressing canonical authors. The word queer, she writes, “[remains] never fully owned, but always and only redeployed, twisted, queered from a prior usage and in the direction of urgent and expanding political purposes” (Clark 233). In this way, to apply queer theory to Marlowe necessarily pushes his critical reception into a progressive literary future.


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Queering Marlowe
Stephen Orgel contends that Elizabethan audiences were far less likely than later ones to fear homoeroticism on the page or on the stage (wondering even if Marlowe’s original Edward II audiences would cheer the executioners or lament their victims), and it took 18th and 19th century audiences to diminish Marlowe for celebrating aberrant behavior (Stymiest 1, 17). Orgel also questions the conventional wisdom about Marlowe’s sexuality and atheism. Noting that his works were popular and profitable in his lifetime and for some time after, Orgel questions just how much a spurned heretic Marlowe really was (219). Recalling the case of Francis Bacon, Orgel notes that charges of sodomy were common at the time and that Marlowe was far more likely to be in trouble for suggesting Jesus and St. John were sodomites (as alleged in the defamatory Baines note) than for being one himself (221). But “homosexuality is our problem, not theirs,” Orgel writes, concluding that the entire issue is anachronistic. Whether Marlowe engaged in homosexual acts or not is now quite beside the point, Jonathan Goldberg writes at the end of a thorough historical examination of allegations and suggestions. The charges of atheism and sodomy represent a “discursive truth”—embedded in sedition, demonism, atheism—that is now entangled with the writer, his works, and his time (Goldberg 9). “In sodomy,” Goldberg writes, “English society saw its shadow: the word expressed sheer negation, an absence of taking root in anyone, and necessarily to be rooted out.. .a seditious behavior that knew no limits” (10). Despite the ambiguous veracity of the labels, Marlowe’s reputation bears the marks of their influence and thus creates in Marlowe space for queer theory interpretation.
For Goldberg, a more important slur in the Baines note is the word juggler, for this is central to Marlowe’s identity as an author: “in the word juggler, which includes in its range of associations con man, cheap entertainer, magician, trickster, storyteller, conjurer, actor, and dramatist” (376). Citing Stephen Greenblatt, Goldberg notes the importance of a “negativized


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identity” that stretches from Marlowe’s time to today, “however great the historical differences
between the place of homosexuality in Renaissance society and ours:”
Marlowe and his heroes... live lives in the recognition of the void, in the realization (I mean that both ways) that rebellion never manages to find its own space, but always acts in the space that society has created for it.. .The authenticity of inauthenticity was the ground upon which Wilde met his society. The history of homosexuality in the past one hundred years has been of its emergence in the sphere of otherness to which it has been confined, its foundation in a discursive sphere in which it attempts to lay claim to a radically threatening otherness. Yet, it is always menaced and vulnerable, and whether we can ever find an authenticity that is not capable of being absorbed by, and crushed by, the society in which we exist, is the question raised, it seems to me, by the case of Christopher Marlowe. (377-378)
By presenting such subversive characters and actions, Marlowe fulfills and expands upon many of queer theory’s central issues. Marlowe’s Ovid translations are scandalously erotic, Faustus and Barabas are fanatical in their pursuit of desire, and Edward II’s passions lead to both friendship and bodily violations. Edward, though a king, in some sense represents the outsider— marginalized, alien, and vulnerable. Clark writes that Marlowe’s plays are notoriously subversive, as they “bring the marginal and the alien to the center and question that marginalization and the demonization of the Other” (233). Marlowe provides such fodder in many of his works. From Hero andLeandef s “in his looks were all that men desire” to Jupiter promising Ganymede, in Dido Queen of Carthage, whatever jewels he desires if he will return Jupiter’s love, Marlowe gives his audience homoerotic elements that change and alter as the centuries pass. Ahlgren writes that early modern texts “provide a ‘usable past’ through which to examine contemporary modes of sexuality, violence, and power” (19). In queer theory’s hands, Marlowe’s works become material for studies of the mutability of identity and more.
Edward II
EdwardII opens with Gaveston, upon reading a letter from the king, looking eagerly at
his return to Edward:


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What greater bliss can hap to Gaveston Than live and be the favourite of a King!
Sweet prince, I come! These, these thy amorous lines Might have enforced me to have swum from France,
And, like Leander, gasped upon the sand,
So thou wouldst smile, and take me in thine arms...
[London] harbors him I hold so dear,
The King, upon whose bosom let me die...
(I.i.3-8, 14-15)
Later Gaveston imagines some of the pleasures of his homecoming, including a dance he will choreograph with his pages:
Sometime a lovely boy in Dian’s shape,
With hair that gilds the water as it glides,
Crownets of pearl about his naked arms.
And in his sportful hands an olive tree To hide those parts which men delight to see,
Shall bathe him in a spring.
(I.i.60-65)
Such unambiguous passages mark EdwardII as the work that resonates most with both 1990s and 21st-century conceptions of homosexuality. Identified as gay, regardless of with whom he sleeps, Edward journeys from a sort of Elizabethan closet to an open and brazen lover of men.
As discussed in Chapter IV, productions in the 1960s and 1970s were notable in their frankness, lacking the shame about homosexuality, “the reserve, almost hesitancy,” found in prior works by such gay playwrights Tennessee Williams and Edward Albee (Ahlgren 2). Now in the 21st century, queer theory allows readers to move past mere abnegation of shame to embrace these lines in their homosexual implications.
David Clark suggests that the Gaveston speeches may have also been seen at the time as reflecting a conventional male “friendship in medieval and Renaissance discourse” (235). It takes Mortimer’s later insinuations of sodomy to fully paint the relationship as corrupt, but in these early moments Gaveston is on a mission of “performative escalation,” in which he celebrates what is later condemned. Clark writes that the speeches fulfill Judith Butler’s sense of


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performativity as “that reiterative power of discourse to produce the phenomena that it regulates
and constrains”—and not just in Gaveston’s intertextual likening of himself to Leander in the
first soliloquy (Clark 237). In this way and others, modern interpreters channel their own politics
through the 1592 play. Clark, by noting the different genres in which the play may reside—its
“generic uncertainty”—emphasizes the potency of later readings of the play as a queer landmark:
One could read the play as the tragedy of the doomed love of Edward and Gaveston or as the tragedy of Edward’s humiliated wife Isabella. Alternatively, one could characterize EdwardII as a history play, where the patriotic barons recognize the danger to the realm from Edward’s obsessive love and try to prevent the social disorder that might follow from the low-born Gaveston’s rise to power.. .However, the balance of history and tragedy in EdwardII may also represent a deliberate queering of genre: a resolve to make the audience choose how to take the drama set before them.
(238-239)
This freedom to not only interpret an artist’s work but to turn a play into a conveyance of resistance, affirmation, and politics is essential to how Edward //took on new life at the end of the 20th century. Derek Jarman made the phenomenon clear when in his EdwardII shooting diary he wrote, “How to make a film of a gay love affair and get it commissioned? Find a dusty old play and violate it” (Ahlgren 15). In the 1990s, activists made it their mission to transform homosexuality’s victim identity into something combative, righteous, and potent, and queer theory produced much of the ammunition. Adopting Marlowe’s play is way of casting light upon the present, and the king’s brutal death, in particular, “forces us to confront the pain and death that result from resisting the status quo or failing to conform” (Clark 240). On the page the manner of death is ambiguous—the torturers call for a poker, yes, but also for a featherbed, and the actual murder weapon is not described—but for many decades directors have made the burning sodomy of the red-hot poker quite clear. For artists and polemicists alike, the explicit violence reminds audiences of the brutalities inflicted upon LGBT persons across the globe— from disenfranchisement to prison terms to executions. EdwardII at that point becomes the defiant gesture that Jarman and others intended all along.


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This combination of theater and theory remains popular but is not without its limits.
Clark wonders what Marlowe himself would think of all this: “Queer theory has often been criticized for is perceived excesses, whether an overemphasis on the rhetorical, an undue obscurity of expression, or a lack of historical rigor,” but its most penetrating criticism is its insistence on the variability of identity. This sometimes causes its adherents to not fully engage with “the real-world importance of identity politics” (239). Marlowe’s characters and their crises help allay that fear, as artists can pick up where theorists leave off.
Gender Studies, Representation, and the Classroom Canon Since the advent of queer theory, much of its discourse has been absorbed into gender studies, wherein fluid conceptions of sexuality, gender, identity, femininity, and masculinity confront or amend such fields of philosophy, psychology, art, and literature. As with the evergrowing acronym LGBTQ+ (sometimes as lengthy as LGBTQIAPK), the term “gender studies” includes members, advocates, and allies for all things non-heteronormative. These combined energies are sometimes lamented (programs dedicated to women’s literature or feminist history are consumed in favor of a “more expansive” model, for example) but also make marginalized groups more visible than ever. In many English departments, gender studies concepts combine with racial diversity and social justice efforts to not only select previously neglected authors and works but to reexamine the classics. At East High School in Denver, teachers apply concepts of social justice and gender roles to such titles as Medea, A Streetcar Named Desire, and The Odyssey, while writers Ta-Nehisi Coates, Dorothy Allison, Nella Larsen, Sophie Treadwell, Paul Beatty, Junot Diaz, Michelle Alexander, Roxane Gay, and David Sedaris join Fitzgerald, Dostoevsky, and Morrison in book bags. Among the Denver Public Schools’ mandated districtwide curricula are The Bluest Eye, Growing Up Ethnic in America, Middlesex, The Woman Warrior, and In the House of the Butterflies. And teachers less frequently ignore the sexual


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identities of such writers as Oscar Wilde, James Baldwin, Virginia Woolf, Walt Whitman, Lorraine Hansberry, and Langston Hughes. Now, these writers might be celebrated at school during Pride Week, decorating hallways alongside Ellen Degeneres and Harvey Milk. All of this, of course, pertains to a large urban school district; by no means is this move for representation consistently vigorous nationwide. But credit for where it does exist goes in part to the growing profile of nonwhite, queer, and feminist voices—all of which are buttressed and shaped by queer theory and gender studies. The 2000s’ Gay-Straight Alliances are becoming all-inclusive political unions, as their social media-driven presence in high schools and colleges highlights and transmits the latest ideas about whiteness, appropriation, representation, etc.
Into this politicized academic and social whirl may arrive a “new” writer—gay, troublesome, atheistic, and subversive. What queer theory wrought of Christopher Marlowe’s work in the 1990s can continue to expand into fresh deconstructions of how he addresses power, identity, fluidity, justice, and deviance. Clark writes, “If Marlowe had anything to say to queer theorists today, perhaps it would be a reminder to balance the pleasures of discourse and performativity with the need to critique a world in which people are murdered for failing to conform to a perceived norm” (240). As more and more schools infuse their teaching with social justice and gender issues, the classes that (for now) teach Shakespeare may also wish to consider not only Marlowe, but what the theorists have made of him.
Conclusion: Marlowe’s Next Life
Marlowe’s best chance for a thriving presence in the next few decades is likely reliant on how his persona as a Rebel Gay Genius Martyr Spy helps characterize his work. Growing queer scholarship and street-level activism for gay and trans rights will continue to politicize and embrace Marlowe’s work. The mysterious circumstances of his death in Deptford will remain as intriguing and inexplicable as ever. “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” will live on, as it has


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proved immortal and adaptable as a challenge and provocation to centuries of critics and other poets. The Corpus Christi portrait will continue to inspire Marlovians to read their own conceptions of the playwright into his ever youthful gaze. And productions of his plays will feed on a subversive, glamorous construct that deepens his verse’s provocations and highlights his contrasts with Shakespeare.
Heralded for his mighty verse and his iconoclastic personal life, Marlowe is already valued as a sort of anti-Shakespeare. Paul Whitfield White writes that is as if he is constructed “almost by design [as] a fitting contrast to the perceived orthodoxy and quiet conformity of Shakespeare” (Cunningham 3). From the end of the 20th century on, attention to Marlowe is an indication of a public—and critical theory itself—starved for the rebel over the paragon. Some critics lament that Marlowe’s biography steals the spotlight from texts and performances, but that is what will mark him as a true contender for the classroom canon. With the world tragically providing genuine gay martyrs every day, an effectively shaded portrait of Marlowe can make him both a victim and a visionary. The TV version on Will is a rough draft of such a conception. A successful biopic—let’s call it Kit—would embrace the entire mythography. The movie’s Kit would be a genius of poetry and a master of espionage; he would navigate Elizabethan treacheries with wit and guile, as his scholarship provoked his Cambridge dons; he would entrance a city with alarming stage provocations; he would bed both courtiers and rough trade; he would delve into the mysteries of faith and sin; he would entangle and charm other Elizabethan immortals; he would push his heresies too far; he would die violently, tragically, innocently, unfairly. For the movie to do the work it needs to do, i.e., to make Marlowe a factor in classroom reading selections, it would need a prestige director and attractive stars. But more importantly, the film should embody how naturally Marlowe can be employed politically.
Stephen Greenblatt finds that rebel nature throughout Marlowe’s work:


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i CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE IN MOTION: FORCES THAT SHAPE LITERARY REPUTATION AND THE CLASSROOM CANON by TODD MADISON B.A., Washington University in St. Louis, 1983 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Humanities Humanities Program 2018

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ii This thesis for the Master of Humanities degree by Todd Madison has been approved for the Humanities Program by Margaret Woodhull, Chair Pompa Banerjee Howie Movshovitz Date: May 12, 2018 Madison, Todd, M.A., College of Humanities

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iii Madison, Todd (M.H., Humanities Program) Christopher Marlowe i n Motion: Forces t hat Shape Literary Reputation a nd t he Classroom Canon Thesis directed by Professor Margaret Woodhull ABSTRACT Literature teachers and professors continuously distinguish which books, poems, and plays reach their students and which do not. Often, factors unrelated to the works' literary merit are determinative. Christopher Marlowe provides a long range study of how writers move in and out of public and critical discussion , and how a variety of forces secure a position in the classroom canon. Marlowe's reputation today rests not only on the force of his verse, but on his suspicious and dramatic early death, his icono clasm, and his sexuality. These qualities have been molded by centuries of critics, publishers, theatre directors, actors, novelists, theorists, activists, and filmmakers. Consequently, t he Marlowe we embrace in the 21 st century is a construct Ñ engineered i n great part to separate him from his contemporary Shakespeare as a worthy figure of study, of Elizabethan repertory, and of book and ticket sales. Beneath the Marlowe persona, of course, is a foundation of consequential poetry and drama, but for Marlowe t o secure a place in the classroom, his transgressive qualities must be included and celebrated. As demonstrated by queer theory's embrace of Marlowe in the 1990s, his political potency Ñ whether real or imagined Ñ make hi m a fitting writer for our time. With s uch conscious attention to his life, death, and legacy, Christopher Marlowe may indeed vie with Shakespeare for a space in curricula to come. The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Approved: Margaret Woodhull

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iv TAB LE OF CONTENTS I. I NTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 1 Prologue ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ 3 Reputation ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. 3 Performance History ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 8 The Critics on Marlowe ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 9 I I . THE LIFE OF A SINGLE POEM ................................ ................................ ....................... 21 " The Passionate Shepherd " as Marlowe 's Marker ................................ ............................... 21 The Poem 's History ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 22 The Poem Itself (an d Its Interpretations) ................................ ................................ .............. 27 Responses, Parodies, and Legacy ................................ ................................ ........................ 28 The Passionate Shepherd 's Growing Reach ................................ ................................ ......... 33 The Afterlife of the Dead Shepherd ................................ ................................ ..................... 42 I II . THE CORPUS CHRISTI PORTRAIT ................................ ................................ ............... 45 The Impact of Faces ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 45 The Discovery ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 47 The Grafton Portrait ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 54 Mythmaking ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... 57 The Limits of Likenesses ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 59 I V . MARLO WE ON STAGE, FILM AND TELEVISION ................................ ....................... 62 The Po wer of Captured Performance upon the Classroom ................................ .................. 62 Derek Jarman 's Queer Edward II ................................ ................................ ....................... 72 Richard Burton 's F austus ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 75 From Marlowe Adapted to Marlowe Embodied ................................ ................................ . 77

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v Anonymous ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................ 79 Will ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 80 V . POLITICIZATION: THE QUEER THEORY 90s & MARLOWE 'S 21 ST CENTURY LIFE ................................ ................................ ............... 85 The Political Charge of Canon Selection ................................ ................................ ............ 85 Queer Theory in the 1990s ................................ ................................ ................................ . 85 Queering Marlowe ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 88 Edward II ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 89 Gender Studies, Representation, and the Classroom Canon ................................ ................ 92 Conclusion: Marlowe 's Next Life ................................ ................................ ...................... 93 BIBLIOGRAPHY ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 97 !

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vi LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1: The Corpus Christi Portrait ................................ ................................ ........................ 48 Figure 2 : The Grafton Portrait ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 55 Figure 3 : Portraits of Shakespeare ................................ ................................ ............................. 59 Figure 4 : Rupert Everett in Shakespeare in Love ................................ ................................ ....... 77 Figure 5 : Trystan Gravelle in Anonymous ................................ ................................ ................. 79 Figure 6 : Jamie Campbell in Will ................................ ................................ .............................. 80

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1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Prologue There is but a single artist of whom one may accurately write, "Stabbed in the eye after an alleged dispute over a bar bill, the playwright/spy was murdered at the height of his fame and accomplishments, leaving an absence filled by a contemporary who redi rected the course of theater, poetry, and human understanding." Christopher Marlowe is so eclipsed by the enormity of Shakespeare that for 400 years he has had to fight for a place at the public's table . Yet the drama and intrigue of his short life ha ve be en central to his work's survival. In an imagined alternative history Ñ what if Marlowe had lived? Ñ one might anticipate Marlowe growing as a writer and thinker in ways to rival Shakespeare's richer, more mature works, but one may also see him as diminished b y comparison as Ben Jonson is, i.e., as someone who outlived but does not challenge Shakespeare. Given the one history we do have, the course of Marlowe's reputation proves to be an erratic but revealing one. It illuminates many of the methods and forces t hat revere some works and neglect others, that preserve some writers but forget the ir competitors. As constructed by a multitude of forces, the canon betrays its designers, and by investigating Marlowe in relation to history, theory, and commerce, the cultural gatekeepers' methods become clear. Under examination in this paper are the following factors, each proposed in general before being ap plied specifically to Marlowe: popular reception, early death, performance history, visual likenesses, poetic parodies and allusions, literary theory, and film adaptations. The effect of these forces upon Marlowe have commemorated, generated, regenerated, and sustained

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2 an artist Ñ or at least a construct of an artist Ñ whose life and afterlife deserve attention in every century. Marlowe's demise, to begin with, is an essential part of his history and what we choose to remember about him. Such a phenomenon is n ot rare. In Greil Marcus' notorious, entertaining, and tasteless "Rock Death in the 1970s: A Sweepstakes" (1979), he applies a "death meter" to rate the significance of each unfortunate "non survivor" of that decade. Measuring PC (Past Contribution), FC (l ikelihood of Future Contribution), and M (Manner of Death) Ñ each on a ten point scale Ñ Marcus awards points to everyone from Bobby Darin (5+1+5=11) to Elvis (10+7+5=22). Plane crashes and murders outweigh overdoses, and youth earns higher FC scores Ñ for some, anyway: Marcus diminishes Minnie Riperton and Tim Buckley, giving zeroes for their would be future work, while Gram Parsons and Janis Joplin get sevens. (Parsons gets a bonus point for having his body stolen and burned in the Mojave Desert.) The champions of the list are Lynyrd Skynyrd's Ronnie Van Zant (8, 9, 8) and Jimi Hendrix (10, 10, 5), celebrated for their artistry and their anticipated artistry to come (Marcus 63 75). Marcus' target is "necrophagy" itself. He is offended by not only the obsession with the deaths of the famous but also the anointing of those who insist on living, those "survivors" of a tumultuous art. In the late 70s, he writes, surviving became a signal for "empty song protagonists, washed up careers, third rate LPs, [and] burnt ou t brainpans" to be hailed as strong, determined, and instructive. From Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" to the band named Survivor, Marcus notes how the valorization of the dead and the survivor concept stalked the 1970s in tandem. His death meter, consequ ently, is his revenge: "Given the obscenity of the survivorship cult, then, why not an equal, no, a further obscenity: why merely make a study of rock deaths when one could rank them?" (60 61)

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3 Marcus's conceit is brazen only in its irreverence, for the s udden deaths of artists are sometimes the most vivid thing that is known about them; and even if the artists' work is unassailable, their deaths help define them in the public eye. Sometimes the nature of their ends even redirects how their work is interpr eted. (Imagine if Marlon Brando expired in 1956 and James Dean lived until 2005, and how different their performances, influence, and iconography would live in the public mind.) For whether the subject is John Keats, Katherine Mansfield, Buddy Holly, or Je an Michel Basquiat, a career ended too soon means both a limited corpus and an unlimited, imagined future. The short life we know is tinged with tragedy and sadness, and the unlived afterlife springs from that trauma. The most potent example of such an a rtist may be Christopher "Kit" Marlowe: born in the same year as Shakespeare in 1564, schooled as a scholarship boy at Cambridge, recruited to espionage as he made his name as a poet and playwright, author of Dr. Faustus , Tamburlaine , The Jew of Malta, Ed ward II , and "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love," an iconoclast targeted by the state for alleged atheism and homosexuality, and murdered at 29 under eternally mysterious circumstances in 1593. This is a figure who, if we apply Greil Marcus' metrics, sco res the highest of all: Past Contribution (an innovator), 10; Future Contribution (he may have surpassed Shakespeare), 10; Manner of Death (not only gruesome but possibly glamorous and freighted with intrigue), 10. Thirty points out of thirty. As we will s ee, for even a collectively imagined Marlowe to survive as a writer over the past four centuries Ñ for his work to be performed and read Ñ he will need that perfect score. Reputation Christopher Marlowe's reputation today rests not only on the force of his ve rse, but on his suspicious and dramatic early death, his iconoclasm, and his sexuality. In popular and critical discourse, Marlowe is the romantic and tragic rebel in the shadow of his contemporary

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4 Shakespeare. What are under examination here are the force s that inflate and deflate such reputations, for artists depend on currents unattached to the merits of their own work. In these ways, artists gain or lose their places in history. At one time, James Fenimore Cooper was acclaimed as a great American noveli st, yet now he is barely assigned; Buster Keaton went from fame to trivia to the pantheon; John Donne's standing was not assured until Yeats and Eliot championed his poetry in the early 20 th century; and some painters get absorbed into the calendar busines s while others do not. The forces that make such alterations include trends in literary theory, publishing, the marketplace, technology, the academy, personal charisma, and the collisions of history with the present. By examining such shifting conditions o ver the 400 year history of Marlowe's reputation, we can attempt to grasp the intellectual life of a culture. Precedents for the study of reputation include John Rodden's The Politics of Literary Reputation: The Making and Claiming of "St. George" Orwell (1989). As Orwell continues to be quoted approvingly by the left and the right across the globe, Rodden addresses the author's elevation to a status as unassailable as that of Lincoln. Rodden's study encompasses the forces of literary reputation themselves , even apart from Orwell. He looks at the functions of politics, the academy, the canon, feminism, journalism, Hollywood, satire, publishing, and Orwellian alignments with current events and the zeitgeist. Rodden demonstrates how Orwell's reputation mutate d from that of his own time through post war reflections, Cold War dangers, and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Rodden also surveys those who hold Orwell in contempt (again, on both the right and the left). Gary Taylor's Cultural Selection: Why Some Ach ievements Survive the Test of Time and Some Don't (1996) is a wide ranging examination of many of the issues applied to this present Marlowe project. As a Shakespeare scholar, Taylor is attuned to the forces that established Shakespeare's reputation in his own time and what has happened in the centuries since. Despite

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5 his specialty, Taylor is no Bardolator , and he sees little reason in the works themselves to justify Shakespeare's preeminence over such dramatists as Aeschylus or Moliere. Taylor turns as wel l to matters of social and class conflicts, hierarchies of intellectual circles, and the motivations of those who claim culture for themselves. He also touches upon an expansive variety of art, from Frankenstein to the Sistine Chapel to Casablanca . Anothe r Taylor work, Reinventing Shakespeare (1989) explores how Shakespeare's place in the world has shifted over the centuries. He argues that Shakespeare's position in the cultural cosmos is a construct set apart from the playwright's specific achievements. Much of Taylor's work here reflects usefully o n Marlowe's treatment over the same period. In another helpful model, Samuel Schoenbaum's Shakespeare's Lives (1991) is invaluable as it tracks the biographical versions of Shakespeare over the centuries. The reader finds that the 18 th century conception of the author resembles very little the Elizabethan one, and the 20 th century version is another animal indeed. Discovering how such a variety of perceptions are conjured over time is the mission of Schoenbaum's book and the heart of this project. Through out the literature, one finds Marlowe's reputation ever evolving. From Robert Greene's 1592 paen/warning to T.S. Eliot's 1919 deflating to the late 20 th century revival, the critics have engaged with the myths and merits of Marlowe's life and work. In 1820 , William Hazlitt writes of "a lust for power in Marlowe's writings" and emphatically favors Edward II over Shakespeare's Richard II (O'Neill 17); elsewhere, William Empson, C.S. Lewis, George Bernard Shaw, and others have attempted to define Marlowe's wor k in the shadow of Shakespeare. Another force that propels Marlowe today is the romance of conspiracy. The conceit that Marlowe is the secret author of the plays we know to be Shakespeare's is undying. The Marlowe Society proceeds online as a vehicle for these suppositions; homemade documentaries

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6 accumulate on YouTube; and counterfactual historical novels tell of entire decades of Christopher Marlowe's life past his death at 29. Rodney Bolt's History Play , for example, has great fun taking the Marlowe as Shakespeare myth as a given. By admitting the scenario as fantasy, he is unfettered by history or sense, and romps through Elizabethan and Jacobean history with a dynamic, imagined Marlowe. Anthony Burgess's novel of Marlowe, A Dead Man in Deptford , does n ot need to imagine an alternative history for Marlowe, for it finds enough fuel in the richness and tragedy of such a short and dramatic life. As a work of nonfiction, Charles Nicholl's The Reckoning is a mixture of deep scholarship and admitted speculatio n. His book not only chronicles Marlowe's m ysterious murder, it also pushes the playwright back into the educated layperson's consciousness. The drama and controversies surrounding Marlowe's death are some of the factors that keep his life and reputation c ompelling. Nicholl also delves deeply into the Elizabethan world itself, exposing nests of spies, courtiers, villains, and, oh yes, poets. With regard to the fusion of Marlowe's life and his art, Lukas Erne notes how Marlowe's reputation is mixed in with the actions and natures of his characters: "The reception of Marlowe has often been marred by a vicious hermeneutic circle within which the play's protagonists are read into Marlowe's biography and the mythographic creature thus constructed informs the cri ticism of his plays" (Erne 28). Erne contends that such readings are simplistic, relying too heavily on Marlowe's allegedly transgressive personality traits. He assails scholars who fall into this trap. The most recent factor elevating Marlowe today are the textual studies of Shakespeare's possible collaborations. In tandem with Gary Taylor's overall project of reassessing the canon, Emma Smith and the New Oxford Shakespeare team have discovered textual evidence to suggest Shakespeare collaborated with o ther writers at least a third of the time. In Daniel Pollack Pelzner's "The Radical Argument of the New Oxford Shakespeare," the author considers this

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7 approach's anti canonical energy. The Oxford group's conclusion is that there was far more collaboration with other playwrights in Shakespeare's plays than has ever been considered. Taylor and Smith argue in part to rehabilitate Marlowe's genius, to remove him from the shadow of his rival, and to speculate how literary history might have changed if both write rs lived until their fifties. Taylor says, "At the start of his career, it's by no means clear that Shakespeare is the greater writer. If Marlowe had an additional twenty years, we could imagine him providing very different canonical models of histories, t ragedies, and comedies" (Pollack Pelzner). If this revelation (based on data mining texts using computers tuned to writers' particular styles) continues, Marlowe could be ascendant. He could then be marked as a much greater voice in Elizabethan literatur e, including in plays assigned (until now) solely to Shakespeare. Stanley Wells' Shakespeare & Co . proceeds on similar assumptions, as he gives the entire assembly of the era's playwrights their due recognition, while Stephen Greenblatt's Will in the World investigates in detail how the playwrights of the day competed, collaborated, thrived, and failed, all under the Elizabethan surveillance state that adds so much drama to Marlowe's biography. In "Marlowe Now," Paul Menzer writes in 2013 that current Marl owe scholarship is a combination of "skullduggery or boy buggery," producing "a deviant Marlowe, whose racy pronouncements and shadow demise position him on the outskirts of Elizabethan respectability, a fugitive from the past and a harbinger of our contem porary preoccupations" (357). Menzer examines most closely how Marlowe's death Ñ as violent as those of his characters Ñ dominates how we treat the playwright today. This is particularly dramatic when we contrast his end with Shakespeare's quiet retirement. Th us the "jagged edges" of Marlowe's life and death fuel political readings of his work; recent productions of Edward II are hailed for their "heroic sexual politics" and their "critique of state power and class privilege" (Menzer 360). This obscures the tru e Marlowe legacy:

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8 Imagine a Marlowe at the height of his powers, his work in its full maturity, a subsequent dark period, and a late autumn harvest. Imagine Marlowe at forty or fifty. But that is to revise Marlowe's ending as well, to project that Marlowe I want onto the Marlowe we have. There is no end to the pleasures of what survives of Marlowe. And that is enough. (Menzer 363 64) Menzer reminds the reader of the myth making that attends other artists' early deaths, and urges clear eyed consid eration of the work rather than what might have been. Performance History The movies have a special relationship to literature. They can define a novel's hero for a generation (for most, McMurphy will always be Jack Nicholson and Sophie will always be Meryl Streep); they can resurrect neglected works (Jane Austen's Love and Frie ndship ) and they can entomb even the most thrilling books (see Midnight's Children , or any version of Moby Dick ). Their presence can also help cement classic status (imagine if To Kill a Mockingbird was never made into the well loved movie, or, worse yet, if the movie of the book were dreadful). Authors can enjoy a vogue in the cinema as well (Forster and Austen had sizable runs in the 80s and 90s, for example), while others miss out entirely on the transfer to the moving picture. IMDb (the Internet Movie Database) tallies that William Shakespeare's plays have been made into 1,264 productions (including television and filmed plays). Of those are 410 big screen adaptations. For Christopher Marlowe, IMDb identifies only 13 adaptations, eight of which are bas ed on Dr. Faustus . Of those titles, Marlowe has a grand total of two major movie productions Ñ the 1966 Faustus with Richard Burton, and Derek Jarman's 1991 Edward II . A similar disparity exists in the number of stage productions each author is accorded. O f course, Shakespeare is proven to fill houses, while Marlowe is not. The demand of audiences for the familiar, for the pre approved, is an important part of our culture's intellectual life. A symphony's need, for example, to showcase Mozart and even John Williams over less audience friendly fare is another mark of a narrowing culture that assigns some major artists to oblivion.

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9 The history of Marlowe productions over the centuries highlights that battle between art and the market. The question about cultu ral selection draws upon not only literature , film, and art studies, but also economics, history, sociology, technology, and perhaps even philosophy . Since one cannot read everything, i nstructors at every level must decide what books to assign and what boo ks to omit . The variables that proclaimed Sinclair Lewis a Nobel Prize winner are the same that mark him today for storage room limbo. This is also true for what hangs or does not hang in museums, what words actors are trained to memori ze, and which artist s attain immortality . The items listed above are each part of this fluid phenomenon. The Critics on Marlowe If Marlowe had not been murdered so soon he would very probably have been burned alive. It was not hard for him to imagine hell fire. Ñ William Emp son (quoted in O'Neill 218) Despite his status as the premiere "playmaker" of his day (offered as a running gag at his rival's expense in Shakespeare in Love ), Christopher Marlowe's sudden death received little public heed. In fact, his burial was modest and barely attended. We may imagine that the news brought great upset to his community of writers, players, and theatre goers, but no acknowledgements or tributes are recorded for many weeks after the Deptford event. In The Reckoning: The Murder of Christopher Marlowe (1992), Charles Nicholl aims to account for all we know about what occurs before, during, and after Marlowe's death. After detailing the unsavory reputations of those in Marlowe's company that day ( a trio of grifters and spies), and ex ploring the accusations of heresy and buggery (made by Thomas Kyd and Richard Baines ) that led to Marlowe's interrogation and a sort of probation (reporting weekly to his inquisitors), Nicholl reveals how the shapers of public opinion first reported the cr ime.

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10 Nicholl notes that since most Elizabet han writing has disappeared, we cannot be sure of what was expressed in the immediate aftermath of Marlowe's May 1593 death. In the weeks following, h e received tribute in poems that circulated privately (discuss ed below), but our earliest recorded public accounts were primarily fuel for Puritan propaganda: Marlowe's bloody end was simply justice for a sinner. Significantly , the zealots that approved of Marlowe's fate have helped stabilize the rebel's standing eve r since. The most influential attack was published in 1597, when the Puritan cleric Dr. Thomas Beard wrote The Theatre of God's Judgments , an accounting of the sinners and transgressors who had earned God's wrath. Among his litany was one Christopher Marlo we, asking the reader "to see what a hook the lord put in the nostrils of this barking dog" (Nicholl 65). Beard described Marlowe's fate with some satisfaction: It so fell out that in London streets, as he purposed to stab one whom he ought to grudge unto with his dagger, and other party perceiving, so avoided the stroke that withal catching hold of his wrist, he stabbed his own dagger into his own head, in such sort that notwithstanding all the means of surgery that could be wrought, he shortly died thereo f. (Nicholl 65) N icholl notes discrepancies from the more verifiable story (Marlowe did not stab himself, and the incident took place up the Thames in Deptford), but Beard was the first to draw the incident in terms of a knife fight with other unruly sorts . Beard also adopted the official inquest's conclusions that Marlowe was killed in self defense Ñ a claim made by the crime's only witnesses, the very men who worked together in skullduggery and conspiracy, including of course the man wielding the knife. The coroner accepted the killer's version of events, and Beard adopted it for religious reasons. Beard next invent ed a flourish Ñ the stubborn sinner dying without grace: "[Marlowe] even cursed and blasphemed to his last gasp, and together with his breath an oa th flew out of his mouth" (Nicholl 66). Beard's stirring condemnation was popular and often repeated in the years to come, as Marlowe came to be known more widely not just as an artist but as a damned man.

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11 In 1598, Francis Meres added another touch to this larval mythmaking, claiming Marlowe "was stabbed to death by a bawdy serving man, a rival to his and his lewd love" (Nicholl 67). Meres sustain ed Beard's verdict that Marlowe's vices brought about his deat h (making "a pitiful end, our tragical poet Marlowe for his epicureanism and atheism had a tragical death") (Nicholl 67). Nicholl gives credit to Meres' version for its setting and method, but Ingram Frizer Ñ the stabber Ñ was in fact a gentleman, not a servin g man, and the witnesses (including the killer) said the dispute was over money rather than love. The "lewd love" Meres identifie d hints at the otherwise unspoken allegations of Marlowe's homosexuality, which add ed more to what will be remembered in the ye ars to come. Nicholl notes that in these early years a version of Marlowe was taking shape: These stories are in themselves only hearsay, but once enshrined on the printed page they become something more. Five years after his death, the consensus view on Christopher Marlowe Ñ unless you happened to know otherwise Ñ was that he had died on the streets of London in a fight over some rent boy (Nicholl 68). Historians will later correct these details, but these early tales beg a n to cement the overall impressio n of Marlowe as a dangerous transgressor. That reputation has survived the centuries and lives today. For example, i n the 2017 television drama Will , Marlowe is represented as a glam rock mentor to a punk rock Shakespeare, as he dashes from theatres to occ ult meetings to brawls to sexual romps to intense solitary writing sessions. The show uses Marlowe as naughty and dangerous inspiration Ñ doomed to thrill and to die. It is probable that it is Marlowe's notoriety, rather than his art, that made him a co star with the mighty Shakespeare. Yet this factor only makes the persona of Marlowe visible (for things like lively and irreverent TV shows); over time, for scholars, critics, and audiences, this infamy also informs Marlowe's standing as an artist and thinker.

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12 Alongside the Puritan campaign to claim Marlowe as both sinner and cautionary tale (a campaign designed in part to intimidate other oversteppers, most especially Thomases Nashe and Kyd ) others busily praised Marlowe's gifts. In private correspondence and private poetry, several writers celebrated his greatness on the page. Two of Marlowe's contemporaries and friends, George Peele and Thomas Nashe, wrote the earliest epitaphs. Just three weeks after Marlowe's death, Peele writes, "unhappy in thine end,/Mar ley, the Muses darling, for thy verse/Fit to write passions for the souls below" (Nicholl 51 52). Meanwhile, so as not to align himself too closely to his old Cambridge classmate, Nashe disguise d his own tribute, using Pietro Aretino as a stand in for Ma rlowe. Nicholl writes that Aretino was a noted Italian satirist from decades before, celebrated for his talents but condemned for his atheism and pornography (Nicholl 54). Aretino had previously been used as a Marlowe avatar during the playwright's life; G abriel Harvey in 1592 wrote censoriously of the "atheist Aretine" (Marlowe) who with his friend "the Devil's Orator" (Nashe), "domineer in taverns and stationers' shopsÉ[and] scare multitudes of plain folksÉwith their scoffing and girding" (Nicholl 52). H arvey even allude d to Doctor Faustus ("Come, I think Hell's a fableÉbe not afeard of bug bears and scarecrows") with his own "O wretched atheism! Hell but a scarecrow and heaven but a wonder clout in their doctrine" (Nicholl 55). Nashe's posthumous link of Marlowe to Aretino, of course, wa s quite different. He wrote of Marlowe with fondness and admiration. "One of the wittiest knaves God ever made," Nashe w rote , before settling in on his friend's literary impact: His pen was sharp tongued like a poignard. No leaf he wrote on but was like a burning glass to set on fire all his readers. With more than musket shot did he enlarge his quill where he meant to inveighÉHe was no timorous servile flatterer of the commonwealth wherein he lived. His tongue & his i nvention were foreborn: what they thought they would confidently utter. Princes he spared not, that in the least point transgressed. (Nicholl 55)

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13 Nashe conclude d defiantly against those who condemn and judge, not only defending Marlowe from charges of a theism but attacking the religious wave sweeping the land: "Puritans, spew forth the venom of your dull inventionsÉYour malice hath not a clear dram of any inspired disposition" (Nicholl 56). Before long, however, Nicholl writes that Nashe had to quickly a lter his rhetorical course, since such sentiments could invite him to the Tower. In presumably an act of self preservation, Nashe wrote Christ's Tears Over Jerusalem , a pious polemic that lamented the impudence of atheists like his old friend (Nicholl 57). Among the few recorded documents rests another tribute to Marlowe, written just a few months after the Deptford murder. Thomas Edwards allude d to Marlowe's own Hero and Leander : "Amyntas and Leander's gone/Oh dear sons of stately kings,/Blessed be your n imble throats/That so amorously could sing" (Nicholl 52 53). Such sentiments confirm that the celebration of Marlowe's work began immediately, comingling over time with (and sometimes enriched by) indictments and lamentations. In the year before Marlowe' s death, Robert Greene called him "thou famous gracer of Tragedians" while admonishing, "Why should thy excellent wit, [God's] gift, be so blinded that thou shouldst give no glory to the giver? Is it pestilent Machiavellian policy that thou hast studied ?" (Robert Greene, 1592, cited in O'Neill 3 Ñ Note: all O'Neill citations come from Critics on Marlowe , a collection of primary sources edited by Judith O'Neill). Here we see both tales intertwined: the genius poet, damned with each unrepentant verse. As the d ecades after Marlowe's death followed, the tributes kept coming while the scolding faded to a background hum, ever present but not prominent enough to define him as a debauched scoundrel. By the 17 th century, Marlowe was in the pantheon, warts and all. In 1627, Michael Drayton wrote , Neat Marlowe bathed in the Thespian springs Had in him those brave translunary things That the first Poets had, his raptures were

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14 All air and fire, which made his verses clear, For that fine madness still did he retain, Which rightly should possess a Poet's brain. (O'Neill 13) William Prynne celebrate d a 1633 production of Doctor Faustus , writing of "that fearful night" where he saw "the great amazement" of the play (O'Neill 13). By 1675 we have Edward Phillips writing of Marlowe as "a kind of second ShakespeareÉthough inferior both in Fame and Merit" before praising Faustus and especially Hero and Leander for its "clear and unsophisticated wit" (O'Neill 13). In a 1691 essay, however, Anthony A. Wood was intent o n diminishing Marlowe even further in contrast to Shakespeare by thoroughly reviving tales o f the atheist and troublemaker while parroting the untrue version of the murder, calling it a lover's quarrel that resulted in a battle with a pimp (O'Neill 14). T he ensuing century saw very much the same insinuation and degradation of Marlowe's character, with critics once again infusing their judgments of Marlowe's work with their judgments of his wicked life, often blaming his deficiencies (especially in contrast with Shakespeare) on his corrupted soul, or, at the very least, his desire for mischief. In The History of English Poetry (1781), Thomas Warton wrote , His tragedies manifest traces of a just dramatic conception, but they abound with tedious and uninter esting scenes, or with such extravagancies as proceed from a want of judgment, and those barbarous ideas of the timesÉMarlowe's wit and spriteliness of conversation had often the unhappy effect of tempting him to sport with sacred subjects; more perhaps from the preposterous ambition of courting the casual applause of profligate and unprincipled companions, than from any systemic disbelief of religion. (O'Neill 14) Warton tut tuts the Puritans' simplistic interpretation of Marlowe's murder being God 's wrath, before going on to note the then weakened impact of Faustus , a play that dominated the end of the 16 th century but "now only frightens children at a puppet show in a country town" (O'Neill 15). Yet the case was alive in intellectual circles of th e time. Warton's judgments prompted a

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15 response from a critic who, while respecting Marlowe "as an ingenious poet," demanded the record show Marlowe as a deviant (O'Neill 15). What follows in the early 19 th century and beyond are critics who negotiate d the ir admiration of Marlowe's work with their wariness of his notoriety. The question of how much infamy is earned or unearned is also arbitrated. Charles Lamb and William Hazlitt trade d conjectures as they celebrate d the richness of Marlowe's best plays, par ticularly Edward II . What beg an at this time was a shift in critical consensus: Marlowe's brilliance . Marlowe's personal transgressions were now not something to lament Ñ a blight on his genius Ñ but rather an essential component of that genius, as well as a catalyst for Marlowe's dramatic vision. In 1808, Lamb attributed the richness of Doctor Faustus in part due to its author's abhorred inclinations: Marlowe is said to have been tainted w ith atheistical positions, like Faustus, to have denied God and the Trinity. To such a genius the history of Faustus must have been delectable food; to wander in fields where curiosity is forbidden to go, to approach the dark gulf near enough to look in, t o be busied in speculations which are the rottenest part of the core of the fruit that fell from the tree of knowledge. (O'Neill 17) A decade later, Nathan Drake called Faustus "the product of a mind inflamed by unhallowed curiosity, and an eager irreli gious desire of invading the secrets of another world, and so far gives credence to the imputations which have stained the memory of its author." Drake hailed the play as "emerging from the gulf of lawless spirits," making the "heart shudder [and] the hair involuntarily to start erect" (O'Neill 16). This conception of play and playmaker united them as dark kindred spirits, helping to separate the writer Marlowe from not only his contemporaries but any possible descendants. Drake thought that Marlowe's follo wing of "bad models" in life "condemned himÉto an obscurity from which is not likely to emerge" (O'Neill 16), but Marlowe's life has embellished his work for centuries, and may be the key factor in his occasional bursts of appreciation and visibility.

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16 In 1820, William Hazlitt addresse d the art/notoriety fusion: "There is a lust for power in [Marlowe's] writings, a hunger and thirst after unrighteousness, a glow of the imagination, unhallowed by anything but its own energies. His thoughts burn within him li ke a furnace with bickering flames; or throwing out black smoke and mists, that hide the dawn of genius, or like a poisonous mineral, corrode the heart" (O'Neill 17). Such sentiments could not be expressed about Shakespeare, for his work is so expansive th at only singular plays or pages earn such description. Marlowe's complete works, on the other hand, are few and concentrated, and they attract ed interpretations like Hazlitt's into their narrow orbits. Hazlitt favored Faustus ("his greatest work") over Edw ard II , but states that the standards of the day (1820) had decreed the latter as "Marlowe's best play," thanks to it being "smooth and flowingÉwith few offences" (O'Neill 18). Yet although Edward II lacked for Hazlitt the corrosive (and irresistible) dang ers of Faustus , he celebrate d the king's death scene, particularly in regard to Shakespeare: "[The] death of Edward IIÉis certainly superior to that of Shakespeare's King in Richard II ; and in heart breaking distress, and the sense of human weakness, claim ing pity from utter helplessness and conscious misery, is not surpassed by any writer whatever" (O'Neill 18). In 1830, James Broughton wrote a five part series for Gentlemen's Magazine , in which he recounted Marlowe's biography and interpreted his plays. His mission included an attempt to alter the conventional view of Marlowe by making Marlowe a more conventional artist. Broughton aimed to wash the alleged sins away. After his many exertions, he concluded: That my feeble arguments will suffice wholly to wipe from his memory the stigma with which for upwards of two centuries it has been branded, I cannot so far flatter myself as to suppose. ManyÉwill doubtless remain unconvinced; while othersÉwill continue to take for granted the current tale of his enormi tiesÉMy end, however, will be accomplished, should but some few be induced to pause ere they condemn him. (O'Neill 18)

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17 This goal helped usher in another stream of Marlowe appreciation: his role as an innovator. By acknowledging Marlowe as a visionary in v erse , it became easier (particularly in Victorian times) to excuse the excesses of his life and his characters. Marlowe's "mighty line" transformed blank verse. Henry Hallam pronounce d in 1834 that Marlowe was the indisputable master of the form, for he gave it " a variety of cadence, and an easy adaption of the rhythm to the sense, by which it instantly became in his hands the finest instrument that the tragic poet has ever employed for his purpose " (O'Neill 18). Later, J. H. Leigh Hunt wrote that Marlowe and Spenser were the first poets "who perceived the beauty of words." Marlowe matche d the spiritual with a "corresponding felicity," Hunt continue d , accumulating images into a "deliberate and lofty grandeur." Tis a shame, he add ed in an aside, about all t he atheism (O'Neill 19). Marlowe's importance as a writer persevered as the decades passed. "Superior to all who came before him," wrote Alexander Dyce in 1850, Marlowe was heralded for the "nerve and variety of his versification," his blank verse being " the chief creation of English literary art," absorbed by Shakespeare, becoming "the lifeblood of our literatureÉMarlowe's place is at the heart of English poetry, and his pulses still thrill in our verse" (O'Neill 19). Algernon Swinburne share d even more s weeping praise, as he contrast ed Marlowe with those contemporaries who were not Shakespeare: Marlowe differs from such little people [Greene and Peele] not in degree, but in kind; not as an eagle differs from wrens or titmice, but as an eagle differs from frogs or tadpoles. He first, and he alone, gave wings to English poetry; he first brought into its serene and radiant atmosphere the new strange element of sublimity. (O'Neill 20) Swinburne's praise helped firm Marlowe's reputation as the century turned. An influential shaper of literary opinion in the early 20 th century was T. S. Eliot, who did more, for example, to add the near forgotten John Donne to the pantheon than any other critic.

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18 When it came to Marlowe, Eliot elaborated on the playwright's innovations in meter and expression, giving "blank verse the melody of Spenser, and he gets a new driving power by reinforcing the sentence period against the line period." Marlowe, Eliot contend ed , broke blank verse away "from the rhymed couplet, and from the elegiac or rather pastoral." All of these moves helped establish the distinct Marlovian energies of the plays, what Eliot call ed "pure Marlowe" Ñ breaking up lines, jiggering intensities, and developing "a new and important conversational tone," particu larly in Faustus (O'Neill 22). Eliot also expresse d the now common had he lived rumination, as he wonder ed what might have been if the playwright had escaped the Deptford knife: [The] direction in which Marlowe's verse might have moved, had he not "dyed swearing," is quite un Shakespearian, is toward this intense and serious and indubitably great poetry which, like some great painting and sculpture attains its effects by something not unlike caricature. (O'Neill 23) Eliot's use of "caricature" will later be echoed by such critics as Harold Bloom, who admonish Marlowe for his crude scenarios and protagonists, particularly put next to Shakespeare's all encompassing humanity, nuance, and understanding. Eliot himself was rather critical of Shakespeare on that score, so it is illustrative to observe his enthusiasm for the lesser light. In 1930, C.F. Tucker Brooke marvel ed at Marlowe's ability to condense "an entire lyric into a single glorious verse," writing "mighty lines which glitter and writhe like bu rnished living serpents" (O'Neill 26). Brooke provide d many examples of "breathlessness in ten syllables": "Was this the face that launched a thousand ships?" "Tis magic, magic, that has ravished me." "And ride in triumph through Persepolis." "The sweet fruition of an earthly crown." "Still climbing after knowledge infinite." "Infinite riches in a little room." "A God is not so glorious as a king." "I'd give them all for Mephistophilis." "And all is dross that is not Helena." "There is no music to a Christian's knell!"

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19 "Break heart, drop blood, and mingle it with tears." "But stay while, let me be king till night." Brooke also expresse d another assessment that had taken hold over the previous century, and one which secure d both appreciation and de preciation for Marlowe's work, i.e., here is a playwright who shines in part but not in whole . Brooke wrote , The most useful aesthetic criticism (for Marlowe) is therefore not that which concerns the total effect conveyed by this work of borrowed plot and rather composite style, but that which deals with the many illuminating individual passages where we see the impact of Virgil's splendid gravity upon the most exuberantly romantic of the Elizabethan dramatists, or mark the blend of ardent impulse with aus tere intellectual insight that best defines Marlowe's view of lifeÉ (O'Neill 27) Critics had endorsed this view many times before. Drake cited passages that overcame Marlowe's "diabolism" with "great moral sublimityÉin which Milton seems to have fixed his eyes" (O'Neill 27). Critics regularly called Marlowe an "unequal" writer Ñ meaning inconsistent Ñ who only "in detached passages and single scenes, rather than in any of his pieces taken as a whole, that he displays the vast richness and vigour of his genius" (O'Neill 17), because his dramas "are mostly series of scenes held together by the poetic energy of his own dominating personality" (O'Neill 21). Like Shakespeare, these critics said , Marlowe borrowed plots, characters, and conflicts, but unlike Shakespea re, he could not sustain his own vision over five acts. In other words, we think of Lear and Othello as the agonizing subjects of their own plays, but it is Marlowe himself Ñ not Tamburlaine, Edward, or Faustus Ñ who fills the role of the protagonist in each o f his own works. William Empson promote d a particular interpretive window for Marlowe in 1946. He also g ave a glimpse of how Marlowe's sexuality and sexual themes were addressed at that time. Focusing on Edward II 's climax, when the king is stripped, im prisoned, bullied and abused, and is ultimately sodomized by a hot poker, Empson wrote ,

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20 The last actÉis a crescendo of horror, seen as a punishment deserved by Edward because of his exorbitant love of his favourites. The obscene torture by which he is at l ast killed is an appalling parody of the homosexual act, and while it is being done the text presumes that the actor will wring the nerves of the audience by his yells: "I fear me that his cry will rouse the town"ÉThis does not mean that Marlowe agreed wit h his audience that the punishment was deserved. Edward gives a long list of classical precedents for his tastes: "The Roman Tully loved Octavius" and so on; it seems clear that Marlowe felt a good deal of Renaissance snobbery about the matterÉThe unmentio nable sin for which the punishment was death was the proper thing to do . (O'Neill 118) Empson conclude d by demanding more from his fellow critics. There was no value anymore in avoiding unmentionable sins: There are two occasions in the plays when Marlowe piles up the horror in this way, the deaths of Faustus and Edward, and they die because of the two crimes for which Marlowe stood boastfully and defiantly in peril of death. It seems to me that this is the primary fact about his work, and that a critic wh o muffles it up, from whatever kindly intentions, cannot be saying anything important about him. (O'Neill 119) Marlowe's atheism and homosexuality, whether real or merely rumored, must be part of every critic's inquiry. Empson's recommendation found its a dherents, and the richness these elements have added to Marlowe study in last 50 years has helped restore Marlowe to the primacy of English letters and dramatic vision. What's more, as we will see in later chapters, the vitality of this more expansive vers ion of Marlowe helps promise a more visible presence in classroom instruction.

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21 CHAPTER I I THE LIFE OF A SINGLE POEM "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" as Marlowe's Marker Classroom canons are dependent upon what teachers have available to them, and since budgets drive class sets, anthologies and textbooks exert a powerful influence on which writers are assigned and which writers are omitted. Where Christopher Marlowe persis ts over time, despite the evolving interests in his dramas and persona, is in the canon of poems that never fade. In virtually every poetry anthology that intends to survey the course of English language verse, Marlowe is present. In fact, over the past fi fty years of quantifying which poems are in circulation, Marlowe's "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" consistently resides in the top ten, even as other poems and poets rise and fall. The 1998 Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry , which measures how often poems are included in textbooks and collections, ranked "The Passionate Shepherd" as th e fourth most anthologized poem, trailing only Keats' "To Autumn," Coleridge's "Kubla Khan," and Keats' "La Belle Dame runs Merci." Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snow y Evening" followed in fifth place, but the nearest Shakespeare sonnet (among many on the list) finished twenty fourth (Harmon 7 ). To demonstrate Marlowe's staying power, the 1988 Granger Index placed "The Passionate Shepherd" ninth on a list topped by Bla ke's "The Tyger," with Shakespeare's Sonnet 73 nestling in fourth place. As someone who relies on poetry anthologies both as a literature major and as a classroom teacher, I witness the power they possess in directing curriculum. (After all, one teaches what the department budget affords.) And what students read, study, and write about is dependent upon a semi official pantheon of verse. This core of poems demonstrates not only the evolution of poetry but the evolution of human troubles, passions, and und erstanding. In a survey

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22 course, students likely read a handful of Donnes and Wordsworths and Brownings, as they navigate their path to the Frosts and Bishops of the twentieth century. Along the way, some poets are marked for posterity by one particular mas terwork. Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress," Herrick's "To the Virgins," and Marlowe's "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" are of that family. But in the thicker volumes that include more Marvells and Herricks, there is still but on e Marlowe. And because Ma rlowe's poem is so popular and influential, it has secured its writer's place (to a degree) in high schools and universities. One might even say that, because the poem is generally the only piece of his that is assigned ( Dr. Faustus and Edward II having li ttle to no place in secondary schools or survey classes), "The Passionate Shepherd" has become a stand in, or marker, for a formidable career that is otherwise commonly eclipsed. It is as if to say, Marlowe was here, as was Donne and some other fellows. No w, let's get back to Shakespeare. The Poem's History In the version typically presented today, the poem is an invitation to a catalogue of pleasures: Come live with me and be my love, And we will all the pleasures prove That hills and valleys, dales and fields, Woods or steepy mountain yields. And we will sit upon the rocks, Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks By shallow rivers to whose falls Melodious birds sing madrigals. And I will make thee beds of roses And a thousand fragrant posies, A cup of flowers and a kirtle Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle.

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23 A gown made of the finest wool Which from our pretty lambs we pull; Fair lined slippers for the cold, With buckles of the purest gold. A belt of straw and ivy buds, With coral clasps and amber studs; An if these pleasures may thee move, Come live with me, and be my love. Thy silver dishes for thy meat, As precious as the gods do eat, Shall on an ivory table be Prepared eac h day for thee and me. The shepherd swains shall dance and sing For thy delight each May morning: If these delights thy mind may move, Then live with me, and be my love. (Marlowe 207) "The Passionate Shepherd" continues to be read as a sweet love poem, wherein a suitor summons his promises from countryside ideals, careful to avoid any suggestion of rural struggles. But the poem's imagery and structure have also invited critics to contemplate the speaker's entire cosmology, while Marlowe' s iambic tetrameter and rhyme give the verse a musical form as essential to its long lasting status as its conjuring of an eternal spring. In the centuries after the poem's publication, it achieved an after life distinct to its essence and to its author, helping Marlowe sustain his profile no matter the era. In 1925, R.S. Forsythe recounted this history and accounted for the poem's legacy. He identifies its immediate classical source as Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book XIII , which tells the tale of the cyclops s hepherd Polyphemus courting the nymph Galatea. Forsythe proclaims Marlowe's work as one of the earliest and certainly the most influential of the English language pastorals. It was not published until 1599, years after Marlowe's death, but Forsythe cites e vidence that the poem was already popular in the late 1580s, "between the appearance of Tamburlaine and The Jew of

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24 Malta, that is to say, probably in 1588" (701). It was known at that time as a popular song, set to music, and Robert Greene borrows from it in his 1589 play Menaphon . After locating echoes and sketches of the poem's sentiments in many of Marlowe's own works, Forsythe writes that in the centuries since its composition the poem has "permeated literature," exercising an influence "equaled by that of few poems," even helping to create a literary device Ñ "the invitation to love" Ñ which continues to exist in Marlovian form today. Dozens of other poets have elevated the original's profile by explicitly answering Marlowe in distinct and creative ways, be ginning with Raleigh's "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd" in 1600 and extending to the present. What accounts for such popularity? The precision of Marlowe's images, the directness and music of the simple rhyme scheme, the meter that finds its voice in the many songs given these words Ñ all combine to project Marlowe's poem into its multiple resonances. It stands as a pastoral, a lyric, an air, a love poem, a carpe diem poem, a come on, a fantasy, a lament, a vision of the world. The poem invites readers i nto its multiple welcoming arms. In 1965, A. L. Rowse demonstrates how the poem can reach across generations to evoke the deepest of feelings. Rowse celebrates the poem as "hauntingÉfull of nostalgia and longing for what can never be" (124), marveling that this is the work that has moved more readers of Marlowe than anything else in his canon (125). Rowse even seems to project his own personal anxieties onto Marlowe's words. A closeted homosexual in the mid 20 th century, Rowse unites emotionally with what M arlowe may have been experiencing in his own time: It needs no very subtle psychological perception to understand why this perfect lyric exerts more power upon the human heart than anything else Marlowe ever wrote: it reaches down to the levels of th e unconscious, of desire and dream; it has pathos along with extreme beauty: Marlowe must often have known loneliness, reached out a hand, and found no one there. (125) That Marlowe's invitation to love can produce such poignant responses is testament to the poem's delicacy and range. After the parade of promises ("beds of roses," an embroidered cap of

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25 flowers, "melodious birds," "a gown made of the finest wool," as well as coral, ivory, amber, gold, and silver), the speaker's "if" in "If these delights thy mind may move" makes everything hinge on an uncertainty, which deflates all of the preceding proposals. By conveying such ironies and ambiguities in its verse, Marlowe' s poem remains ripe for argument and exploration. Many scholars have also noted the presence of Cambridge training in the poem ' s sources and allusions, and Marlowe ' s translations share some of the same priorities (Wraight & Stern 78). Rowse extinguishes t alk that Shakespeare wrote this poem (the original publishers named " W.S. " as the author) by noting that the speaker's fancies are those of a city intellectual's idea of pastoral life, not those of a country boy from Stratford. The "images have Marlowe's j eweled precision," he writes, evoking "Virgil's Second Epilogue, where Corydon invites Alexis to live with him and be his love" (124). A country boy like Shakespeare would never be so inauthentic; Marlowe was inspired by the classics, not by fields of gree n and flocks of sheep. Consequently, the poem is not only a conditional plea ("if") but also a vision of an inaccessible ideal. If Rowse joins and fortifies the consensus that the poem is not only Marlowe's but specifically reflects its maker, Adam G. Ho oks targets the entire notion of Marlowe's authorship. In 2012. Hooks, an historian of books and other material objects of Early Modern literature, challenged the attribution as another example of "trying to find Marlowe where he is not" (1). By forcing in terpretations to suit Marlowe's rebel scholar image, we are doing a disservice to history, to scholarship, and to the real Marlowe himself. Associating the poem as we know it with the songs, ballads, and other orally circulated texts of its day, Hooks sugg ests that Marlowe's name eventually landed on something that was already in circulation (2). For Hooks, this action would become part of the phenomenon of Marlowe being "constructed over the centuries" as "more of a collection of myths than as an historica l figure" (5).

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26 The most famous allusions to Marlowe in Shakespeare's work fall under Hooks' scrutiny. He suggests that the "dead shepherd" referred to in As You Like It 's allusion (to Marlowe's Hero and Leander ) Ñ "Dead shepherd, now I find thy saw of mig ht/Who ever loved, that loved not at first sight? (III.v.81 82) Ñ may just as likely be "Indeed, shepherd" or "'Deed, shepherd" (3). The allusion to Marlowe remains (his mighty line, quoted intact), but the association with his murder is lost. Hooks writes that such textual instability affects and even undermines our perception of Marlowe, and because his works were attributed posthumously, "Marlowe is an ideal test case for measuring the impact of other agencies in the construction of an authorial persona" (3). Digging through As You Like It , Hooks also rejects the association with Touchstone's "a great reckoning in a little room" (III.iii.12) with Marlowe's death, noting that the inquest's description of the 1593 fatal quarrel as "le recknynge" was not wide ly known Ñ as far as we can tell Ñ until the document's discovery in the 1920s (7). Such are the ways, Hooks writes, that we match what we learn with the myths we already believe. As for "The Passionate Shepherd," Hooks argues that modern conceptions of autho rship are inapplicable to early modernity. Noting the poem's unattributed circulation in the years before Marlowe's death, Hooks writes, "Taking the material forms of the poem seriously requires an acknowledgment that the poem did not require an author. Re ading the poem only as Marlowe's limits our understanding of its place in other economies beyond literary authorship" (3). To illustrate the ambiguity of the text's origins, we need only look to its first appearances. The "Passionate Shepherd" changed fo rms between its first publication in 1599's The Passionate Pilgrime , where it was attributed to Shakespeare, and in 1600's Englands Helicon , where it is attributed to "Chr. Marlow" and where "The Nymph's Reply" is credited to "Ignoto." This is the only tex tual citation to Marlowe until 1653's Compleat Angler , when names

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27 are fixed evermore: "Kit Marlow" for the first poem, and "Sir Walter Raleigh" ("in his younger days") for the second. Hooks is in fact modest in his claims, announcing his attentions as mer ely "(kind of) arguing that Marlowe did not write" the poem. For him the questions about attribution raise more relevant points than who gets the credit for something so popular and influential: If we must consider "The Passionate Shepherd" as Marlowe's, then, we should consider it as his version of a traditional and well known cultural artifact Ñ one that would circulate in an extraordinary number of versions after him (and, perhaps, before him?), versions which do not proclaim any affinity to MarloweÉ (Hooks 7) The poem's place in anthologies is always marked "by Christopher Marlowe," so in the absence of new evidence the matter is settled. What we do with that poem, and that byline, however, is another matter. The Poem Itself (and Its Interpretation s) Questions about the poem's provenance may be answered in part by recognizing how much of Marlowe's education and other work resides in these stanzas. Patrick Cheney matches many of the poem's allusions to Virgil and Ovid with Marlowe's translations of these writers' works, transplanting even "the water bird trope" of Ovid to "The Passionate Shepherd" (529). Cheney also discusses a possible challenge by Marlowe to Edmund Spenser to become England's national poet. Claiming to channel Derrida (deconstructi on occurring from within a tradition rather than from outside it), Cheney presumes Marlowe a voice for "national liberty" in a contest with Spenser's lofty authority: At heart, what Marlowe criticizes is Spenser's writing of Elizabethan England, with its v ision of the poet as an elitist figure of cultural authority penning the aristocratic genres of pastoral and epic, its service to a virgin queen and her regime's imperialist projects, its hypocritical advocacy for a mutual marriage between men and women, a nd its large claims for poetic fame as a mediator for Christian gloryÉ"The Passionate Shepherd" is thus a multi faceted carnival of national liberty. Before the gaze of culture, Marlowe playfully, passionately transacts the freedom of poetic voice, politic al choice, personal destiny, and sexual orientation on which a new state could be founded. (544)

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28 Cheney adds that Raleigh and other imitators created an "ever unfolding future" for the poem, as they pursued its intertextual possibilities, creating "a goss amer hinge, so exquisite in its expression that it forges powerful links among past, present, and future Ñ among Ovid, Virgil, Spenser, Raleigh, and even the rest who complain of cares to come" (544). By giving the poem such a lofty Ñ even heroic Ñ status, Chene y may embody that strand of critic who matches the idealized rebel Marlowe with what is before us on the page. His transgressions are the poem's transgressions, his violations the reader's to absorb. This pattern repeats itself throughout this thesis, as t he constructed Marlowe gains more and more weight, glamor, and attention as he sustains his position in the arena. Responses, Parodies, and Legacy Earlier , I discussed how Marlowe's developing persona has given varied dimensions to a single lyric. In this section, I explore a major by product of this phenomenon, as various poets latch onto the Marlowe vision Ñ or, rather, their visions of his vision. Among the strongest reasons for the steady prominence of "The Passionate Shepherd" is its fuel for parodies, a llusions, and replies. By being so adaptable, as well as so attuned to eternal desires and priorities, the poem has remained a part of the conversation. Poets' responses to Marlowe's original are also part of a tradition that extends from poetry to popular music. When a teacher assigns Langston Hughes' "I, Too, Sing America," that teacher must preface it with "I Hear America Singing," the Walt Whitman poem Hughes is answering and amending; Byron's "The Destruction of Sennacherib" is addressed satirically by Ogden Nash's "Very Like a Whale;" and Keats and Frost tangle over how just how steadfast a star can be (in "Bright Star" and "Something Like a Star") . As with music, the original poem provokes and is revived by its descendent. (In country music, rhythm an d blues, and hiphop, the dynamic continues, sometimes

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29 even mimicking in spirit the Marlowe responses discussed below. Kitty Wells, Roxanne Shante, and Etta James, for example, recorded music to set their male suitors' songs straight.) As other poems from the same era became fixed, even petrified, "The Passionate Shepherd" continued being reinvented as other poets adopted it as a template or as a challenge. Raleigh began the practice, answering Marlowe's classical inspirations and (seemingly) romantic promi ses with sober, puncturing declarations. He parries stanza for stanza : Marlowe: Raleigh: Come live with me and be my love, If all the world and love were young, And we will all the pleasures prove And truth in every shepherd's tongue, That valleys, groves, hills, and fields These pretty pleasures might me move Woods or steepy mountain yields. To live with me and be thy love. And we will sit upon the rocks, Time drives the flocks from field to fold, Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks When rivers rage and rocks grow cold; By shallow rivers to whose falls And Philomel becometh dumb; Melodious birds sing madrigals. The rest complain of cares to come. And I will make thee beds of roses The flowers do fade, and wanton fields And a thousand fragrant posies, To wayward winter reckoning yields; A cap of flowers, and a kirtle A honey tongue, a heart of gall, Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle. Is fancy's spring, but sorrow's fall. A gown made of the finest wool Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy bed of roses, Which from our pretty lambs we pull; Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies, Fair lined slippers for the cold Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten, With buckles of the purest gold. In folly ripe, in reason rotten. A belt of straw and ivy buds, Thy belt of straw and ivy buds, With coral clasps and amber studs; Thy coral claps and amber studs, And if these pleasures may thee move, All these in me no means can move Co me live with me and be my love. To come to thee and be thy love. The shepherds' swains shall dance and sing But could youth last and love still breed, For thy delight each May morning: Had joys no date nor age no need, If these delights thy mind ma y move, Then these delights my mind might move Then live with me and be my love. To live with thee and be thy love. (Marlowe 207 209)

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30 Raleigh mocks the original speaker's ideals and fantasies as oblivious to the "winter reckoning" that eventually confronts us all. In retrospect, it may be notable that it is the allegedly na•ve and deluded poem that becomes an unwithering conveyance for M arlowe's legacy. Raleigh's clear eyed, all too knowing contemplation of limitations and demise provide as direct a contrast to Marlowe as one might envision. The poems paired together are nothing less than a clash of worldviews. Hannibal Hamlin writes of Raleigh ' s poem that, " even though the nymph rejected the shepherd's invitation, her reply Ñ Raleigh's reply Ñ transformed a soliloquy, or a solipsistic dialogue of one, into an ongoing poetic conversation" (72). Scholars credit Raleigh with a second variation on the theme, conveniently entitled (for our purposes) "Another of the Same Nature Made Since," which begins "Come live with me, and be my dear,/And we will revel all the year," and then leads to eternal ditties, playful nymphs and satyrs, and heavenly tu ned birdsongs to "inflame the heart" Ñ which in the end point to the speaker's purpose: Upon the bare and leafless oak The ring doves' wooings will provoke A colder blood than you possess To play with me and do no less. In bowers of laurel trimly di ght We will out wear the silent night, While Flora busy is to spread Her richest treasure on our bed. Ten thousand glow worms shall attend, And all these sparkling lights shall spend All to adorn and beautify Your lodging with most majesty. Then in mine arms will I enclose Lilies' fair mixture with the rose, Whose nice perfection in love's play Shall tune me to the highest key. ( Marlowe 211 )

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31 Raleigh here makes the speaker's overture rather explicit, and this variation on "The Passionate Shepherd" has catalyzed, propelled, and modulated the centuries of versions that have followed, generating perhaps the longest verse conversation among all poets. Another quality central to the poem's survival is its musical life. Susanne Woods writes that the Marlowe and Raleigh poems likely enjoyed a mutual transmission, given that they were known to be sung. This calls their published versions into question. Just when were the poems sung, and when were they first transcribed? These "much hear d, much sung, and much altered" pieces were attached to melodies as early as 1606 and 1612 (29). The 1612 song is Alexander Craige's combination of Marlowe and Raleigh, wherein "Alexis" beckons "Come be my love, and live with me/And thou shalt all the sola ce see," only to be answered by "Lesbia" ("If all were thine that there I see/Thou paints to breed content to me"). She would yield, but only if she believed the suitor (Woods 30). But Woods locates her firmest evidence for the musical sources in Shakespea re's The Merry Wives of Windsor , when Hugh Evans' sings snatches of the Marlowe poem (29). Marlowe's presence in a Shakespeare play (yet again) has conditioned us to assume not only Marlowe's popularity but his influence in the works of his contemporaries. The Hugh Evans scene, consequently, has been a factor in Marlowe's sustained reputation. In the early 1600s "The Passionate Shepherd" inspired many other poets to echo or undermine its sentiments, rejuvenating the poem in the first few decades after Ma rlowe's murder. In "The Bait," John Donne contributes his own entry in these variations and rewrites, finding a different mission for the speaker's romantic conquest: Come live with me, and be my love, And we will some new pleasure prove Of golden sands and christal brooks With silken lines and silver hooks. Once his quarry agrees to come with the speaker, she will serve a direct and useful purpose:

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32 There will the river whispering run, Warm'd by thine eyes more than the sun; And there th' enamoured fish will stay Begging themselves they may betray. When thou wilt swim in that live bath, Each fish which every channel hath Will amorously to thee swim, Gladder to catch thee than thou him. But Donne ends ironically, for the speaker himself is as helpless a catch as these enamored fish. He contrasts his efforts using this "bait" with other anglers who use nets and silken flies: For thee, thou need'st no such deceit, For thou thyself art thine own bait: That fish that is not catched thereby, Alas, is wiser far than I. (Forsythe 706) Robert Herrick returns the message to its more pastoral intentions, writing, Live, live with me, and thou shalt see The pleasures I'll prepare for thee; What sweets the country can afford Shall bless thy bed and bless thy board. (Forsythe 707) The speaker proposes "soft sweet moss shall be thy bed" and, on tables of daisies and daffodils, goats' tongues "shall be thy meat;/their milk thy drink." Herrick 's poem establishes the popularity of the pastoral appeal and the romance the country life held for London poetry market at the time (Forsythe 707 ). Published sometime in the 1640s, J. Paulin's "Love's Contentment" recasts the shepherd's wooing as a promi se of a virtual kingdom, where the two lovers reign as monarchs: Come, my Clarinda, we'll consume Our joys no more at this low rate; More glorious titles let's assume And love according to our state

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33 For if Contentment wears a crown Which never tyrant could assail, How many monarchs put we down In our Utopian commonweal? (Forsythe 708) Forsythe accounts for the following centuries' adoption of "The Passionate Shepherd"'s template. Octosyllabic entreaties abound, mixed sometimes with satire and sometimes without, each relying on the reader's awareness of Marlowe ' s original and its legacy. At times the nymph is the one proposing, and in Samuel Daniel's "Ulysses and the Sire n," it is the latter who invokes the theme ("Come, worthy Greek, Ulysses come/Possess these shores with me"). Forsythe describes this poem's transition into a debate about whether the siren's offer of idleness and pleasure is ethically allowed (708). Thro ughout the 17 th century, poets and balladeers sustained and modulated the original theme. In "The Two Yorkshire Lovers" the lad Willy offers a young woman familiar temptations Ñ nuts, apples, cream, lamb's wool gowns, flowers, arbors, downy beds, and "a para de of sheep" Ñ arranged in strict Marlovian stanza and rhyme form (Forsythe 709). But, as we have seen, the elasticity of the poem allows for more than the wooing of country lovers. Writers, for instance, used the form to reenact Henry V's courtship of Cathe rine, wherein the king mixes pastoral pleasures with temptations of royal wealth, and other poets depicted seductions by knights, soldiers, merchants, and even a young Edward IV (Forsythe 710 711). Sometimes the poems are in dialogue form, a fusion of sort s of Marlowe's original and Raleigh's reply Ñ the lovers tangling within the verse, rather than exchanging verses of their own. The Passionate Shepherd's Growing Reach Another factor in the longevity of "The Passionate Shepherd," and in the persistence of i ts author's status, is the poem's service to themes beyond those of romance. "The Praise of a Countryman's Life," a version of Marlowe's work from the late 17 th century, elevates the idyllic

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34 imagery. It would not be out of place in a rural English real est ate office, luring city dwellers to escape their urban worries and adopt the easy life (which includes, in the poem, such carefree chores as tilling soil and trapping foxes). Other poems simply celebrate individual country houses. And yet another tack to i s to change romantic love to spiritual love: Nicholas Breton ("A Solemn Passion of the Soul's Love") and Richard Crashaw ("In the Glorious Assumption of Our Beloved Lady") both imitate Marlowe in form but not in spirit, celebrating heavenly reward and salv ation rather than embraces by a country stream (Forsythe 713). (That the alleged wicked atheist of the Elizabethan age contributed to future pieties is another of the ironic echoes of the Marlowe legacy.) In both cases the poets adopt the original's meter and structure, as they demonstrate how their devotionals may rely on such a sturdy foundation. The linking of Marlowe to celebrated poets buoys the poem's prominence. Forsythe enumerates dozens more invitation poems of this sort through the 18 th century a nd after, locating parallels to "The Passionate Shepherd" in works by Keats ( Endymion ), Shelley ( Epipsychidion ), Wordsworth ("Peter Bell"), Tennyson ("The Sea Fairies"), and Wilde ("Charmides") (727 29). He traces most variations to Marlowe but acknowledge s how Milton's own octosyllabic couplets also established the form. Some scholars, meanwhile, have credited Marlowe as the influence upon Milton. Hamlin even finds in Endymion a blending of Marlowe with Milton: In Keats' poem, Marlowe's madrigals become a nthems, sung by a morning lark (not a nightingale) out of Shakespeare by way of Milton. Marlowe's straw and buds are here too, but they are the real thing, not transmuted into coral and amber. Keats is aware of Raleigh's poem too, with its reminders of the passing of Time; this is not a poem of May mornings like Marlowe's, but an autumn poem by the master of the " season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. " He knows, as he writes, that cheeks fade, maidens age, eyes grow weary, faces and voices tire with familiarity, and ÔEverything is spoilt by use.' (Hamlin 71) Hamlin elaborates on 19 th century poems that allude to Marlowe and Raleigh: those by John Clare and Tennyson stand out because they "incorporate the realism of Raleigh's reply without its skepticism" (74)

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35 Overseas, meanwhile, the frame of Marlowe's poem remained elastic and adaptable. Early American contributions to the "Passionate Shepherd" tradition include a 1799 poem written by a George Washington detra ctor named Philip Freneau. In "To an Alien, Who After a Series of Persecutions Emigrated to the Southwestern Country," Freneau writes, "Where you are gone the soil is free/And freedom sings from every tree,/'Come quit the crowd and live with me!'" (Hamlin 78). Another American invitation poem by William Gilmore Simms turns the shepherd into an Indian hunter, who, after offering a few gifts to his maiden, gets to his true desire Ñ her service: "And be my love and trim for me,/The yellow buckskin moccasin." As Hamlin writes, "The so familiar allusion comes, by its easy familiarity, to stand for allusion itself, so that the poet who uses the allusion is openly admitting to an engagement with the poetic tradition" (78). Other such tanglers with the tradition inclu de Thomas Moore ("Come wed with me, and we will write,/My Blue of Blues, from morn till night.") and Samuel Hoffenstein, whose "Invocation" invites the lover to this time forsake the lures of nature: "Come live with me and be my love/In statutory Christian sin,/And we shall all the pleasures prove/ Of two room flats and moral gin " (Hoffenstein). Noting the decline of the pastoral in late 19 th and early 20 th century poetry, Forsythe nevertheless finds Marlowe unforgotten, just present enough for revivals to come. And all along, of course, he was accompanied by the shadow of his contemporary: the allusions and parodies found within As You Like It and The Merry Wives of Windsor kept the verse alive in audience's minds, as the deathless Shakespeare breathed life into those original lines of Marlowe's. As for the 20 th century, many poets used "The Passionate Shepherd" as a foundation for both comedy and philosophy Ñ in either case , counting on the poem's familiarity to buttress gags and ruminations. Marlowe's name was apparently in the air in the 1920s in America, for a number of poets found him useful as an allusion and as a base upon which to build. J.P.

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36 McEvoy's 1921 "The Modern Lover to His Lass" is a stanza by stanza Marlovian recreation, mocking an uncultured American's inability to "sling them fancy words" while striving mightily to do so. Others used the "The Passionate Shepherd" to indulge the jargons and cultures of their professions Ñ in one case, journalism ("If Marlowe Had Tried to Write It in the Office Yesterday") and in the other, science ("The Passionate Paleontologist" Ñ wherein the title character woos with such specific ardor that the lines become decasyllabic to acco mmodate the names of dinosaurs and their bones). This is where Forsythe ends his 1925 study, proclaiming that Marlowe single handedly kept the pastoral alive over 350 years (742 43). Forsythe's prediction that "The Passionate Shepherd" would never wane wa s sound, and the poem's visibility throughout the 20 th century runs in tandem, as we have seen in other chapters, with Marlowe's revitalized overall reputation as a dramatist. In 1929, Ogden Nash, in his mildly satiric way, found the path to Marlowe's lyri c. In "Love under the Republicans (or Democrats)," the speaker invites his lover to a different sort of rustic life: Come live with me and be my love And we will all the pleasures prove Of a marriage conducted with economy In the Twentieth Century Anno Donomy. We'll live in a dear little walk up flat With practically room to swing a cat And a potted cactus to give it hauteur And a bathtub equipped with dark brown water. We'll eat, without due discouragement, Foods low in cost but high in nouragement And quaff with pleasure, while chatting wittily, The peculiar wine of Little Italy. We'll remind each other it's smart to be thrifty And buy our clothes for something fifty. We'll bus for miles on holidays For seas at depressing matinees , And every Sunday we'll have a lark And take a walk in Central Park.

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37 And one of these days not too remote You'll probably up and cut my throat. (Nash) Six years later, Cecil Day Lewis adopted a similar theme, but without the punchlines: Come, live with me and be my love, And we will all the pleasures prove Of peace and plenty, bed and board, That chance employment may afford. I'll handle dainties on the docks And thou shalt read of summer frocks: At evening by the sour canals We'll hope to hear some madrigals. Care on thy maiden brow shall put A wreath of wrinkles, and thy foot Be shod with pain: not silken dress But toil shall tire thy loveliness. Hunger shall make thy modest zone And cheat fond death of all but bone Ñ If these delights thy mind may move, Then live with me and be my love. (Day Lewis) That Marlowe's structure proves so flexible permitted the original poem a currency that 20 th century poets were able to exploit and undermine. Tying themselves to a canonical English poem allowed poets to simultaneously elevate their work and declare independence from older values. The original Marlowe/Raleigh debate allowed subsequent writers to pick a side and make a sort of Declaration of Principles. Nash and Day Lewis offered social commentary Ñ the first poet for laughs, the second for melancholy Ñ and other poets joined the conversation, sometimes in the form of mission statements. In 1944, William Carlos Williams made sure to choose his party, in his poem "Raleigh Was Right:" We cannot go to the country for the country will bring us no peace What can the small violets tell us that grow on furry stems in

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38 the long grass among lance shaped leaves? Though you praise us and call to mind the poets who sung of our loveliness it was long ago! long ago! when country people would plow and sow with flowering minds and pockets at ease -if ever this were true. Not now. Love itself a flower with roots in a parched ground. Empty pockets make empty heads. Cure it if you can but do not believe that we can live today in the country for the country will bring us no peace. (Williams) "If ever this were true," writes Williams, adopting Raleigh's puncturing of the pastoral myth, where flowers wilt, bugs bite, and gardens freeze. Williams has no patience for the passionate shepherd's fancies, for "Empty pockets make empty heads" and love itself will eventually be starved by "a parched ground." (Williams returned to Marlowe allusions in his poem "The Observer," in which he evokes "quickening pleasures prove" in a sea side invitation.) In 2004, however, another poet answered the answerer. In "Williams Was Wrong," Greg Delanty resurrects a version of Marlowe's original vision: Now I find peace in ever ything around me; in the modest campion and the shoals of light leaping across the swaying sea and the gulls gliding out of sight. The tops of wave confettied rocks slide into water and turn into seals. They move to the lively reel of the cove's clapping dance hall, rising blithe yelps above the sea's music. The ocean draws in and out like an accordion and unseen lithe fingers play the strings

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39 of joy on what the moment brings. The seals close and part and close again. Their awkward fins have turned to wings. ( Delanty ) Here Delanty is unconcerned with wooing any fair lass; his motivation is to argue with Williams' cynicism, with a worldview that discounts the pastoral and devalues the natural world. For Delanty , the peace that Williams forswears is instead all around him, from whitecaps to seal fins to the lively reels of the dance hall (his version of the shepherd's madrigals). The "unseen fingers" that bring the waves may belong to the hand of God, or they may simply be a way to address the beauty of the rhythms around Delanty's speaker. Either way, they link the poem to Marlowe's evocation of myths and spirits amid the fields and flowers of the original poem. Peter de Vries' "Bacchanal" (1950), on the other h and, addresses the limitations of Marlowe's ideal, particularly regarding its gender dynamics: 'Come live with me and be my love,' He said, in substance. 'There's no vine We will not pluck the clusters of, Or grape we will not turn to wine.' It's autumn of their second year. Now he, in seasonal pursuit, With rich and modulated cheer, Brings home the festive purple fruit; And she, by passion once demented -That woman out of Botticelli -She brews and bottles, unfermented, The stupid and abiding jelly. ( de Vries ) There is only so much a shepherd can do to keep spreading his own cheer, if the nymph is the one doing all the work. In 1959, Babette Deutsch finally gave a woman's input to the nymph's voi ce, in "The Dispassionate Shepherdess:" Do not live with me, do not be my love. And yet I think we may some pleasures prove

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40 That who enjoy each other, in the haste Of their most inward kissing, seldom taste. Being absent from me, you shall still delay To come to me, and if another day, No matter, so your greeting burn as though The words had all the while been packed in snow. No other gift you'll offer me but such As I can neither wear, nor smell, nor touch Ñ No flowers breathing of e vening, and no stones Whose chilly fire outlasts our skeletons. You'll give me once a thought that stings, and once A look to make my blood doubt that it runs. You'll give me rough and sharp perplexities, And never, never will you give me ease. For one another's blessing not designed, Marked for possession only of the mind, And soon, because such cherishing is brief, To ask whereon was founded the belief That there was anything at all uncommon In what each felt for each as man and w oman Ñ If this then be our case, if this our story, Shall we rail at heaven? Shall we, at worst, be sorry? Heaven's too deaf, we should grow hoarse with railing, And sorrow never quickened what was failing. But if you think we thus may pleasures prove, Do not live with me, do not be my love. ( Deutsch ) The allusions, echoes, and homages often include direct citations, as with Thomas Dermody ("WhoÉHas not, while wilder'd in the bow'ry grove,/Oft sigh'd : ÔCome, live with me, and be my love'?/Yet, oh! Be love transfomr'd to deadly hate,/As freezes memory at Marlowe's fate." And Alice Cary ( "And if you hide thee, you will hear her sing/That song Kit Marlowe made so long ago Ñ /'Come live with me, and be my love,' you know."). In 1951, Louise MacNeice's "Suite for Recorders" rejoins the two poets who began this enterprise: If shepherd to nymph were the whole story Dying in holocausts of blossoms,

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41 No midwife and no middleman Would contravene the upright sun. I f Raleigh to Marlowe on the other Hand were an uncontested audit, Then Thames need only flow to mock A death in tavern or on block. ( Hamlin ) Here both poets are elevated by the drama of their deaths, whether in Deptford or in the Tower of London. This is another case where Marlowe's persona, or the construction of that persona, is infused with his work and its reverberations. But poets also adopt "The Passionate Shepherd" for its playful romantic qualities. The Scottish poet Edwin Morgan adds a Hollywood icon to the poem's story: "Who has not heard of Lauren Bacall's grace?/But I have looked upon her face to face./Most fervently she sang: ÔC ome live with me/And be my love, and make my morning tea,/And we may all the silken pleasures prove/Of bearskin rugs, bear hugs, and bunny love'" (Morgan). Kate Benedict's "Atlantic City Idyll" offers another nimble adaptation, tying the risks of love to t he gambles of craps players ("Come bet with me and be my luck/And bring me gimlets tart with lime./We'll chase the wily holy buck/and toss the dice and sneer at time," while W.D. Snodgrass unites post Marlowe giants with the original's form ("Come couch wi th me mit Freud und Lust/As every evening's last connection;/Talk to me; prove the day like Proust;/Let what comes next rise to inspection " (Snodgrass). Such verse reflects how modern poets may play with allusion and echoes of the past, as they secure the ir own voices to the established canon. They mix irreverence with reverence, mischief with respect. They also sometimes make the wooing more homoerotic. Lawrence Ferlinghetti "wrote an imitation expressing all of Marlowe's desire but purged of its implicit sexual aggression, ending "And let our two selves speak/All night under the cypress tree/Without making love." (Hamlin) Allen Ginsberg, meanwhile, in "A Further Proposal," employed

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42 Marlowe to serenade Neal Cassady: "You will be taught another sense:/The w isdom of the subtle worm/Will turn more perfect in your form." Hamlin divines a revival of the Marlowe/Raleigh debate within this work: "if Ginsberg is as anti idealist as Raleigh's nymph, he is as keen on sexual pleasure as Marlowe's shepherd, and more ex plicitly, with men." Hamlin furthers the comparison by awarding Raleigh the victory, crediting "the perspective of time and art" here to Raleigh himself, beheaded rather than stabbed, offering a consolation of inevitability: "death comes to all poets as we ll as to all they love " (Hamlin). The Afterlife of the Dead Shepherd In the preceding section, we explored how other writers could adopt and adapt the original poem's tone, meter, structure, and imagery for their own purposes. For four centuries, this phenomenon gave Marlowe a stage, even if the spotlight wavered. But the poem also remains a crucial element in our understanding of Marlowe and in the construction of the Marlowe interpreters favor. Noting the presence of "The Passionate Shepherd" in the theatre of its day Ñ not only in many Marlowe works but in plays by Greene, Peele, and Johnson, Douglas Bruster observes how an extra dimension is added when the monologic lyric turns into a piece of drama: this "invitation not an invitation" of the shepherd to the nymph reveals itself on stage to be an act of "unstated sexual aggression implicit in the very form and process of the proposal" (50). Many of the poem's alternate versions, responses, and companion poems provide "that which has been left out, the repressed ultimately finding expression in revisionary, often violent, versions of Marlowe's haunting lyric" (Bruster 50). In this interpretation, the poem is a blunt come on, with its bountiful promises merely a list "intended to excite" (Bruster 52). We have seen this already in Donne's "The Bait," wherein the nymph is dangled as a lure, but in its theatrical

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43 manifestations Marlowe's poem is freighted with the consequences that may befall a nymph if she rejects the proposal. From Tamburlaine to The Jew o f Malta , Marlowe adapted the "Passionate Shepherd" invitation mode for dramatic purposes (occasionally, suggests Bruster, as an act of self parody), altering the list of temptations Ñ "A hundred Tartars shall attend on thee" ( Tamburlaine, 1.2.93) Ñ but conclud ing with the same refrain: "Shalt live with me, and be my love" ( The Jew of Malta ). Forsythe lists fourteen separate occasions when Marlowe inserts this element into his plays, utilizing language, structure, and meter to evoke the original lyric. And of co urse in the plays these words are said to another character, one who must respond. In Tamburlaine , one object is Olympia, who adopts what Bruster calls a Raleigh like attitude to such grand promises: passions will end, flowers will wilt, love will fade (58 ). Later Greene and Peele adapt the same dynamic to their own work, and the audiences can see clearly the dangers of rebuffing such invitations. In Greene's Alphonsus,King of Arragon , the title character's cascading list of promised treasures and pleasur es to Iphigenia is declined. In fact, Iphigenia would prefer death. Alphonsus responds, "And thou shalt die unless it come to pass" (Bruster 64). Bruster finds similar depradations in Jonson's Volpone , where the playwright also modifies Marlowe ("Come, my Celia, let us prove/While we can, the sports of love" 3.7.165 166) and then conjures a familiar offering of rich gowns and glorious banquets. Celia's rejection, however, transforms the generous suitor Volpone into a menacing villain: "Yield, or I'll force thee" (3.7.265). Bruster elaborates: Jonson's imitation of Marlowe here demonstrates the kind of power which the poetry of the Elizabethan playwright continued to wield years after his death: it was Jonson's poetic ability, after all, which led Eliot to re fer to him as "the legitimate heir of Marlowe." (Bruster 66) Yet Marlowe's poem consists of only the first part of the Volpone confrontation. It is but an invitation, conditional on approval ("If these delights thy mind may moveÉ"), especially since

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44 the promises are extravagant. But Bruster insists on the poem's assertion of "the primacy of force (physical and linguistic alike) over sexual identity," revealed because the "dramatic form provides the freedom for a reply to the invitation" (67 68). Only on t he stage, in the glare of the spotlight, with two characters entwined in a potential seduction (or rape), does "The Passionate Shepherd" reveal its motivations. Bruster's 1991 es say, "Come to the Tent Again": ÔThe Passionate Shepherd,' Dramatic Rape and L yric Time," summarized in part above, is the most frequently cited essay on Marlowe's poetry in my research. Bruster's perspective possesses both historical context and contemporary implications of gender roles. He acknowledges the rise of feminist critici sm as essential to this reading of the poem, emphasizing the voiceless status of Marlowe's nymph and the subordinate status of those who receive Ñ or will receive Ñ these sorts of invitations. One may view such an interpretation as uncharitable, even cynical, but for our purposes it is a viewpoint that has helped keep "The Passionate Shepherd" in the academic conversation. The poem is not merely a warhorse that lurks within every anthology; it is a matter of contention, speculation, and potency. As Marlowe con tinues to be constructed, the poem's qualities are as varied and numerous as its descend a nts, allowing critics and poets to not only address its content but to reshape it.

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45 CHAPTER III THE CORPUS CHRISTI PORTRAIT While Christopher Marlowe's plays and verse propel what we claim to understand about him, other factors reshape how those works are received Ñ generating and informing the myths about Marlowe we choose to believe. As we have seen, glimpses of Marlowe's life and death help construct a dramatic, compelling persona that scholars often seek to discover in his writings. The 1925 discovery of the Deptford murder inquest ended some rumors but birthed new ones. Likewise, the 1953 discovery of a putative Marlowe portr ait finally gave a face to a faceless person. Ever since, the painting has confirmed some viewers' biases, undone others, and more deeply imbedded romantic conceptions of the playwright. In this chapter, we will look at how authors' faces can become i conic and interpretive; how the Cambridge portrait came to be identified with Marlowe; and how observers instill their own preconceptions into what they see. Such a phenomenon helps form an author in a reader's Ñ and student's Ñ mind. The Marlowe image has bee n part of our conception of him for only sixty five years, but it has been a force in the construction of an author that still claims our attention. The Impact of Faces Portraits of writers write their own stories. Even when a writer produces mountains of pages rendering human drama, his or her face may add new chapters. A poet may leave behind hundreds of imperishable lines, but they are often embellished by the eyes, mouth, and brow of their maker. Consider how many artists are partially defined by their visual identities, and how often those images direct us to how we read their work. These are images that, once seen, cannot be unseen. Franz Kafka's intense stare , for example, is as much a part of his corpus as the Hunger Artist's fasting ; Alfred Hitchco ck's double chin and rotund silhouette are inseparable from the master's cross cutting suspense; and as Toni Morrison's gray mane gets grayer, her

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46 status as Great Writer/Literary Lioness gets grander. Consider this list of images and reflect on how much of our perception of these creators' work is informed by how we see them : James Baldwin's giant eyes, Shaw's beard and bowler, Frida Kahlo's unibrow, Warhol's wig, Hemingway's whiskers, Balzac's belly, Faulkner's pipe , Dali's mustache, Beethoven's hair, Pica sso's baldness, Sam Shephard's cheekbones, Gertrude Stein's Caesar cut , Van Gogh's severed ear , O'Keefe's mournful eyes, Wilde's locks, Whitman's hat, Woolf's nose, Joyce's pince nez, Tolstoy's Santa beard, and Einstein's head topping white bird's nest Ñ all are inseparable from how we consume what they produced . How would our reading of T.S. Eliot alter if he looked like Ezra Pound (and vice versa)? For that matter, looks aside, what if Truman Capote spoke like Paul Newman? Beyond their words, w riters' imag es convey an additional layer of content to their audiences . Yet return to that Kafka gaze. Recent biographers have demonstrated that for decades Kafka's readers ha ve been misled by that haunted countenance. Kafka was not the tortured soul condemned to spend his days plumbing human futility; he was, in fact (or, more accurately, also ) , often easygoing, playful, and amusing. He went to the movies as much as possible, wa s sociable, and, when reading "The Metamorphosis" to his friends, could not stop laughing. None of that diminishes how deeply Kafka explored what had been until then unexplored in the human experience; it just does not freeze him as a writer and person in the way a still photograph does. Max Brod's curating of Kafka's writings and estate also included the grooming of an image, and the potency of that image Ñ that "Kafka " Ñ has overwhelmed whatever man he once was in favor of the loftiest of 20 th century literar y reputations. Many now enter Kafka's work as if on a dare, in part because of how his eyes challenge us. When it comes to official portraits, involving a sitter and a painter's skills, other dimensions come into play. Shearer West notes how a portrait is complicated by a painter's dual

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47 goals of capturing an individual and aspiring to an ideal: "Although portraits convey a likeness of an individual, they also can demonstrate the imagination of the artist, the perceived social role of the sitter, and the qua lities of the sitter that raise him or her above the occasion of the moment" (24). Cynthia Freeland writes that portraits not only represent the living, physical person but also that person's inner life. Portraits, therefore, are an act of self presentatio n: "People Ôput on' an identity before the artist, and artists in turn try to reconcile that self presentation with their own vision of being depicted" (1). Freeland asserts that portraits can indeed capture a person's "true" self, and "the greatest portra its interest us because they reveal a person's character in a very deep sense" (2). The Marlowe portrait under discussion in this chapter may not be considered one of the greatest portraits, but since it is said to depict a great artist, perhaps Freeland's observations are just as true for it. The best portrait painters are alchemists, she writes. They seek to show us a person "whose physical embodiment reveals psychological awareness, consciousness, and an inner emotional life" (1). For those who believe t he Corpus Christi portrait is that of Marlowe, the painting accomplishes just those feats of alchemy. The Discovery When an artist's physical aspect is obscured or unknown, however, there is considerably less of an opportunity for defining their work in t his extra literary way. In the case of Christopher Marlowe, for centuries the opportunity was entirely lost . His was merely a name, a pair of initials, or a "Marlow" here and a "Marley" there Ñ until, that is, 1953. Thanks to the discovery by a Cambridge und ergraduate, inspecting the rubble in a construction zone of Corpus Christi College, we now have a face to link to Marlowe's words (see Figure 1) . The discoverer, s pying two pieces of wood and realizing that when combined they depicted a young Elizabethan m an, passed the portrai t to the college librarian, who then sent it to the National Portrait Gallery

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48 for confirmation . They determined it was indeed of the period, painted in the style of the "Spanish school," but could not identify the sitter. What has happened in the decades since exemplifies how audiences, critics, and scholars project what they wish to see upon an artist's likeness. Consequently, since that day in 1953, Christopher Marlowe's work is now inflected by forces invisible to previous generations. Charles Nicholl describes the image: It shows a striking y oung man: twenty one years old, self assured, a bit flashy. He stands with his arms folded, right over left. The stance is confident, self completing. It requires no props. It serves also to show off the rows of bossed golden buttons sewn down the sleeves of his doublet, fourteen on each arm. The doublet is superbÉThe material, black or deep brown, has the look of velvetÉYou can see the jagged pattern of the tailor's pinking shearsÉThe doublet is so good he can offset it with casualness. He wears no ruff, n o fussy ornamental pickadils, just a shirt of the fine linen called Ôcobweb lawn'ÉHis brown hair is long, brushed up and back. A stray curl catches on his collar. His cheeks are smooth, with just a thin tracing of beard along the jawline. The neat moustach e is shaved in the dint of the upper lip. (Nicholl 5) Figure 1: Possible portrait of Christopher Marlowe, dated 1585, discover ed in 1953 at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University. Source: Wiki media Commons

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49 Nicholl notes that the sitter's dress is one reflecting high rank, a fact that will enter into the disputes about the portrait's attribution. Students of the day would have been forbidden such a costum e. But, as we shall see, rather than making the rich clothing disqualifying for Marlowe, his admirers instead assign the discrepancy to Marlowe's irrepressible rebel nature. The book In Search of Christopher Marlowe: A Pictorial Biography , by A.D . Wraight (words) and Virginia F. Stern (photographs), is central to Marlowe's elevation in the second half of the 20 th century. Within its oversized pages, Wraight and Stern seek to reestablish Marlowe's place in the pantheon Ñ in great part by transmitting as much personal anecdota and myth as they can find. This is the book that popularized the Cambridge portrait (discovered only a decade before) and helped shape it s reception ever since. Wraight relates the remarkable story of the picture's rubble heap origins with drama and wonder (and, it turns out, exaggeration). But her tale earns its audience as she makes the forensics of identification a compelling mystery sto ry. The broken panels, the rainstorm, the undergraduate, a helpful Corpus Christi librarian, and the experts at the National Portrait Gallery are elements in an ascending act of historic discovery Ñ one that finally gives a face to a giant of English letter s. How the painting now thought to be Marlowe's came to be lost is as much of an example of Marlowe mythmaking as its discovery, and it opens Marlovians another pathway to fortify their prior conceptions of the playwright. This "magnificent painting" (Wra ight & Stern 63), having been restored in London by Holder & Sons, now hangs in the Corpus Christi dining hall. The experts have confirmed that the piece is Elizabethan, the subject a young man of Marlowe's exact age ("aged 21, 1585" reads a Latin inscript ion), and is now generally accepted as a depiction of Marlowe himself. The evidence is compelling: Wraight notes that Marlowe, being 21 at the time of his first degree (and just beginning his M.A.), is notably old for the time and the school. "Most who mat riculated to Cambridge were no older than fifteen," she writes, citing

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50 Thomas Nashe among dozens of others (64). Consequently, Marlowe may have been the only 21 year old graduate of that year, his degree having been delayed for reasons discussed elsewhere in this paper. The timing works for the Marlowe theory in another way, in that no outsider would have had his painting hung in Cambridge's Master Lodge, from which debris the 18" by 24" painting was found (64). The Master's Lodge was known to honor various notables in its portrait gallery, including (according to 16 th and 17 th century accounts) Thomas More, Queen Mary, Thomas Cromwell, and "portraits of a young man" (66). Such associations and speculations enrich the Marlowe persona. Within In Search for Ch ristopher Marlowe we find the authors projecting their conceptions of the playwright's work and life onto a single image, simultaneously fixing a version of Marlowe and also making him elastic enough to absorb multiple subsequent discoveries. The painting' s discovery, furthermore, is now interlaced with subsequent Marlowe scholarship. Faced with a number of uncertainties Ñ who is the sitter, why was it painted, why was it in the Master's Lodge, was it indeed in the Master's Lodge, why was it taken down? Ñ Wrai ght makes the mysteries fit into her conception of her book's subject. Here we see a manifestation of Freeland's theory of a portrait's "inner life," as invested observers try to decipher what lies behind the sitter's eyes. Nicholl, for one, eagerly dives into states of mind: The statement [of the portrait] is one of prestige, of courtliness. It shows him as a young man with money to spendÉIt is not everyone who could afford the services of a good Ôlimmer.' The portrait itself is a luxuryÉThe lips are a pr oblem. You cannot say if he is smiling: if he is, it is not a warm smile, not a smile of complicity. He looks back out at the artist, at the world, with a quizzical gaze. The smile seems ready to mock us. We have been taken in so easily: it is only a portr ait, a game he is playing. (5) Here Nicholl is looking at subject of his book The Reckoning , which is as much a portrait of a mysterious figure as is the painting. The book portrays a genius playwright who mixes with thugs, forgers, and spies; who is a th reat to order; who is a subversive thinker; who is summoned

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51 to an assassination. The Reckoning's 350 pages depend greatly o n a man worthy of them, and Nicholl sees that man in the portrait. Some have questioned that the young man does not look like a st udent, particularly in manner of dress. Both Wraight and Nicholl use this discrepancy not to question the portrait's authenticity but to embrace Marlowe's daring, proposing that a young maverick like Marlowe would resist conformity. Indeed, the silks, the long hair, and the velvet all defy Cambridge's rules for young scholars. But Nicholl cites Robert Greene, a Marlowe contemporary and rival, recalling his own Cambridge days of fashion bravado, "ruffled out in my silks" (7). Despite the school tightening th e dress code further in 1585, Nicholl writes the young man in the portrait "identifies with the new Elizabethan mood" (7). He is colorful, idiosyncratic, and a bit insolent. Nicholls reminds us that Marlowe's Faustus also wished to "fill the public schools with silk" (7). Nicholl's speculations deepen when he focuses on the subject's pocketed hand, wondering what he his hiding from us Ñ "a purse, a dagger, some close printed text in octavo?" Ñ but also adds that in person, rather than in reproductions, the fig ure is more of an intellectual than some sly troublemaker. He has the look of an artist troubled by the dangerous themes he ponders (8). Other observers also invest the image with stories of their own making, fixing them to satisfy the Marlowe constructi on. Like Nicholl, Wraight writes of the defiance students had for the dress code of the time (under the rank of knight, for example, it was forbidden to wear silk or velvet), noting that the prohibitions were hardly ever obeyed, asserting further that some people were exempt from these rules, including " servants of the Queen, of which Marlowe, as one of Her Majesty's secret agents , most definitely was one" (68 69). Here we have Marlowe's other notorieties infusing the portrait's impact. Wraight reads much o f the rebel into the sitter: "The face is at once arresting; the eyes, with their searching, fearless look, have the character that, though here calmly observant, yet betrays a certain passionate intensityÉHe might well be a

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52 poet, and something of an intel lectual" (68). Wraight's speculations help the Marlowe myth fit neatly into the painting's timeline. Marlowe's espionage activities account for his many absences from school and his delayed degree; the painting was commissioned in the year Marlowe began hi s service to the Queen; he had just earned his B.A. and "possibly achieved some mission of importance;" his service may have been so valuable that an expensive portrait was a part of his compensation or his employer's gratitude (after all, his degree was g ranted when the Privy Council reassured Cambridge that Marlowe's secret service offset the gaps in his studies); and at this time he may have made his first connection with his benefactor Thomas Walsingham, nephew of the Queen's spymaster (70). All of th ese speculations demonstrate the need for some that a specific type of Marlowe must have existed. Wraight even conjures the entire circumstances of the sitting: It is a tantalizing thought to imagine Kit delighting in his new found status and being so taken with his appearance in his first velvet doublet, which he would now be fully qualified to wear, that he decided to have his portrait painted in it. Perhaps it was Thomas Walsingham, admiring his poet's fine new look, who suggested it to him, and at whose home the portrait might have been executed. (70 71) Noting the painting's Spanish school style, Wraight wonders if it was actually painted in Spain, " since [Ma rlowe's] government work could well have taken him there " (71), and then places the portrait back in Cambridge as an imagined gift from Marlowe to the Master Dr. Copcott, who defended Marlowe in the "tug of war" over whether Marlowe deserved his M.A. For W raight it is enough that the painting was possibly hanging in the Master's Lodge that it becomes a gift from the subject himself. For all of these dramatic speculations, it is worth noting again that there is virtually no evidence for any of them. For Wrai ght, it is enough that they conform to prior, romantic conceptions of his book's subject and its dramatic title ( In Search ofÉ ). The painting's attribution to Marlowe is fueled as well by its inscription, words that have invited sixty years of interpretat ion and projection. Under the subject's age and the portrait's date

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53 are the words " Quod me nutrition me distrust ." "That which nourishes me also destroys me." In her 1965 book, Wraight falsely asserts that the line, despite "its Ovidian ring," is original to the sitter, later appearing for the first time in print in Shakespeare's Sonnet 73 ( " consum'd with that which it was nourished by " ) and altered in his Pericles ( " Quod me alit me extinguish ") (67 68). But by 1992 Nicholl notes t hat scholars have determined it was in fact a popular Elizabethan motto (8), thereby taking a little bit of the energy out of Wraight's Marlowe adulation and the Marlowe Sha kespeare connection ( " for whom else would Shakespeare be so likely to re echo?", s h e writes ) (68). But the inscription itself remains, and for sympathetic observers "That which nourishes me also destroys me" is pure Marlowe, and is another demonstration of the myths of Marlowe absorbing and validating themselves. Wraight continues, "This would be just the kind of motto such a young man as Marlowe would have chosen for himself; he liked to say the startling thing with subtle effect," celebrating the muse "which both inspired and nourished him, and yet consumed him with its fiery genius" (6 8). For many the motto itself is confirmation of the sitter's identity Ñ the sentiment, the links to Shakespeare, and the hints at what will follow. Nicholl becomes elegiac: The motto has this Ôamorous,' courtly meaning Ñ the consuming passion of unrequited lo ve Ñ but it has many other applications: metaphysical, mystical and indeed political. This Ôposy' of doomed brillianceÉseems so entirely apt for Marlowe. In 1585 he is a young man on the rise. The son of a Canterbury cobbler, the scholarship boy at Cambridge , he now stands on the threshold of a dazzling career. But the future which promises such nourishment Ñ literary fame, government service, aristocratic friendships Ñ also contains, as inextricably as the motto suggests, his destruction. Already he is running o ut of time. The torch is turning downward. In a few years he will be dead: a Ôsudden & fearful end' at the age of twenty nine. (8 9) By dying so young, Marlowe provided not only a brief life for readers to envision, but also a destiny that colored his liv ing days with the blood that will spill in Deptford. This combination is central to the Marlowe construct and is fully served by what the portrait may suggest. The portrait, furthermore, contradicts nothing. Wraight, Nicholl, and others consequently see th e

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54 Cambridge portrait as a crucial part of what defines Marlowe. No imagined Marlowe is obliterated; all possible Marlowes are served. The mystery of the painting's disappearance fulfills a similar function. With little to no evidence, Wraight imagines wh y the authorities at Corpus Christi would pull the portrait from the wall and leave it dusty and unloved until its 1953 rediscovery. Citing how the Cambridge Master Henry Butts' portrait was removed following disgrace, madness, and suicide, Wraight assumes a similar fate for Marlowe after his death: "The portrait might have been taken from its p l ace of honor and hidden as a result of the universal condemnation in which Marlowe's name was held immediately after 1593," she writes, "especially by the Puritans, who were well represented at Corpus Christi" (67). The likeness required "a more enlightened age" to recognize "the notorious atheist," but the passing of time assured it being forgotten instead (66). When Nicholl visited the painting in its current perch , in the corner of the Corpus Christi dining hall, he was initially warned off by the head porter: "Why would you want to see that? He died in a drunken brawl" (8). Such is the standing in this enlightened age of one of Cambridge's most illustrious graduat es in the very dining hall where he took his meals. But for much of the rest of the world, the Corpus Christi portrait embodies the genius and rebel they accept. The Grafton Portrait The speculations of scholars attach themselves to another painting, the "Grafton" portrait Ñ once thought to be that of Shakespeare, now adopted by Marlovians (see Figure 2) . It depicts a young Elizabethan man and marks him at 24 years of age in 1588, a designation that suits both playwrights. Discovered in 1907 in Grafton Regis , near Stratford, the painting's origins and neglect are as mysterious as those of the Cambridge portrait. Wraight suggests that the painting's owners shielded it in a farmhouse as their home was besieged in 1643 during the Civil War. The later rediscovery of the Cambridge portrait has propelled many observers to find

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55 physical and temperamental resemblances that link the two images to one person. Wraight contends that Shakespeare's lack of notoriety and station in 1588 rules him out as the sitter, whereas M arlowe, celebrated by this time as a playwright, a Cambridge scholar, an agent of the Queen, and a cohort of other notables, including those in the School of Night, was certainly deserving of not one but two portraits (Wraight 214 222). Through her Marlovi an lens, Wraight even scolds Ñ without apparent irony Ñ those faithful to Shakespeare who "are loath to give up their sentimental prejudices in all matters Shakespeare" and embrace uncorroborated evidence to unquestioningly accept that it is another rare liken ess of the Stratford man (221 222). Such is the consequence for those who invest so much into their preconceptions; Wraight is untroubled by the absence of evidence as long as that void permits her to shape her conception of Marlowe. Since Wraight & Stern's In Search of Christopher Marlowe was so visible in reestablishing Marlowe's profile as both an artist and a persona, it is notable to see how much they invest in the Grafton portrait's candidacy. Manhandled apparently by a clumsy cleaning Figure 2: The Grafton Portrait, attributed variously to Shakespeare, Marlowe, and others. Source: Wikimedia Commons

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56 staff in 1907, the Grafton is weathered, diminished, and unretouched Ñ which gives openings for those to see what they wish to see. Wraight s ees many "striking resemblances" to the Cambridge portrait, and in these we find a solidifying of the Marlowe mythography: similar facial structures, foreheads, hair line, "wide spacing of the eyebrows," nose, mouth, eyes, and facial hair. Although the Gra fton man is thinner (more to come on that score), Wraight identifies the Cambridge man's artistic temperament in his face: the Grafton portrays a mood "distinctly romantic and English, somewhat withdrawn and dreamy Ñ a poetic quality with delicate charm" (21 4), whereas the Cambridge portrait conveys "vivacity and robustnessÉnot dreamy but Ôalive' and eager in reposeÉIf the Grafton shows us the poet, the [Cambridge] Marlowe shows us more the dramatist, intensely observant of humanity, the thinker, yet there is also hidden fire in his look" (214 215). Wraight even imagines the second portrait to be another commendation for Marlowe's services, as the Great Armada occurred in that same year and Walsingham perhaps owed Marlowe for "dangers overpassed" (219). For th ose invested in a Marlowe who rises above his contemporaries and even challenges Shakespeare, such romantic conceptions have been necessary to deepen Marlowe's impact. Wraight and fellow Grafton advocates turn even contradictions into confirmations, and th ey provide the tales to reconcile them. For an even greater example of confirmation bias, look to Marlovian authorship conspiracists, i.e., those who believe Marlowe wrote the plays attributed to Shakespeare (and who in their own way keep Marlowe's profil e elevated). For them, the portraits possess a different currency. Although the currency is counterfeit Ñ there is overwhelming evidence establishing the Stratford man as the writer Shakespeare Ñ it does direct attention on their hero. The conspiracist Isabel Gortazar, writing in 2009 for The Marlowe Shakespeare Connection ("The Web's #1 Blog on Christopher Marlowe"), seizes not only the Grafton portrait for Marlowe but also the Chandos portrait of Shakespeare. Gortazar sees Marlowe just about

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57 everywhere, and a ny discrepancies in likeness between the Grafton and the Corpus Christi are simply holes in a story that she will happily fill. The Grafton figure appears much thinner than the other, it is true, but for Gortazar the thinness is due to Marlowe's many illne sses. She bases this conclusion on an imagined Shakespeare connection: as a proxy for Marlowe (another of Gortazar's fictions), Henry IV's Sir John Falstaff recalls his former thinness, induced by illness. Gortazar concludes, " I had come to the conclusion that Marlowe had been unwell, and probably very thin, from, say, 1595 till 1599" (Gortazar). (Since Marlowe was murdered in 1593, and, one may assume, "probably very thin" from '95 to '99, this is likely the only unassailable a ssertion made by the fantasist Gortazar.) While such authorship conspiracies proceed ahistorically, they remain a part of ensuring Marlowe's present profile. Mythmaking In the past two decades, more and more scholars are resisting the temptations of accep ting the most romantic and evocative readings of what we know of Marlowe. The Cambridge portrait has inspired key examples. Lukas Erne suggests that our attraction to Marlowe as a heterodox, glamorous, and mysterious figure has distorted our understanding of his work, as well as the period itself; Marlowe's putative likeness has consequently fed much of these misperceptions. Erne discounts the probability of Marlowe being the portrait's sitter; he cites not only the lavish dress but the oddity of a reported secret agent putting his image on canvas, and he indicts scholars' gullibility for believing in something because of its attractiveness. With the painting, Erne writes, "[N]ot only Marlowe but, arguably, Marlowe scholarship was given a face," citing the M aster of Corpus Christi College, who, upon the painting's 1953 discovery, "cleverly identified Ôthe face that launched the Marlowe industry' (29). The painting's importance to this industry outweighs the near total lack of identifying evidence. It has cont ributed to what Erne describes as a kind of self con: scholars and publishers

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58 and theater directors have accepted a construction of Marlowe that may have never existed. Erne writes, The commodity called ÔMarlowe,' which we try to sell to academic conferen ces, in university seminars, and to academic publishers, has been selling well in recent times. I believe that Marlowe's cultural and, in particular, academic capital results to no slight degree from a mythographic creation with which it is in our best int erest to be complicit. Marlowe was an atheist, and people who think differently and subversively matter. Marlowe was a homosexual, and sexual difference matters. So Marlowe matters. (30) Erne then declares that we can be certain of none of these qualities . "We don't know" is his mantra. He responds with those words to the possibilities of Marlowe being an atheist ("a term unthinkable in the 16 th century"), gay ("the concept didn't even exist at the time"), or at all iconoclastic (30). But "we don't know" d oes not sell books or tickets. What does sell is the growing construction of the disruptive genius Marlowe, beholden to nothing but his own dangerous pursuits. Erne and other scholars, including J.A. Downie, Stephen Orgel, J.T. Parnell, and Richard Proud foot, push back against reading too much (or anything at all) into the portraits. They are also committed to admitting ignorance Ñ if we know what we don't know, our understanding of Marlowe may flourish and deepen. Otherwise, limiting and distortive mythogr aphy may derail our understanding of Marlowe and his work. Erne does grant that there is solid evidence for Marlowe's intelligence work. He notes that Marlowe's service itself is unknown to us and may not in any way relate to Marlowe's murder. In fact, it wasn't until 1928 that S.A. Tannenbaum developed the theory that Marlowe was assassinated for political reasons (Erne 32). In the 1990s a spate of pseudo historical and fictional accounts of Marlowe's life and death brought this conception to fruition. Nic holl's The Reckoning is just the most celebrated of the crop, which includes Peter Whelan's play School of Night , Anthony Burgess' A Dead Man in Deptford , and Paul Honan's Christopher Marlowe: Poet and Spy . Downie writes that this is "the latest manifestat ion of a (dis)honorable tradition. For whatever reason, writers and critics seem

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59 particularly predisposed to pontificate about Marlowe's life, his character, and his artistic intentions, regardless of the exiguity of the documentary evidence on which they base their accounts" (Downie 13). As discussed elsewhere in this paper, the mythography may have distorted our readings of Dr. Faustus , Edward II , and everything else we consider authored by Marlowe. "When we speak or write about him," Downie writes, "we a re really referring to a construct called ÔMarlowe'" (13). That construct has been reshaped thanks to the discovery of two panels in a pile of Corpus Christi rubble. The Marlowe face now gracing his old dining hall has become the featured image on collecti ons and studies of Marlowe's work. It adorns playbills and posters. But in the end the visage may not even be his. Orgel concludes, "The only reason to identify this as a portrait of Marlowe, rather than one of his classmates, is that it's Marlowe we want a portrait of" (216). And so we do, and as we look into its eyes we seem to see the Marlowe construct at last in the flesh. The Limits of Likenesses William Shakespeare's face, unsurprisingly, is also a matter of scholarly combat (see Figure 3) . It also provides a contrast that helps puts the "Marlowe Construct" into context. For Figure 3: Three images attributed to be that of William Shakespeare. From left to right, the Cobbe portrait, the Chandos portr ait, and the Droeshout engraving found on the First Folio. Source: Wikimedia Commons

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60 Shakespeare, a handful of paintings compete for various levels of authenticity, even though each disappoints as the portrait of a genius. The Droeshout, Cobbe, and Cha ndos portraits, along with the funerary monument in Stratford, have provided experts with quarrels about doublets, collars, and balding heads, not to mention ages of pigment and wood. Over the centuries, art examiners have had to deal with forgeries, repai ntings, and other deceptions, as the Shakespeare industry craves authenticated (and marketable) evidence. In 2009, Stanley Wells and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust proudly confirmed the Cobbe as authentically painted in Shakespeare's lifetime, but many other experts remain unconvinced. After the Cobbe announcement, Germaine Greer aimed to put such disputes into perspective ( Guardian ). Noting that there was little demand for likenesses in Shakepeare's and Marlowe's time, Greer writes that 18th century pu blishers began the custom of adorning books with frontispiece portraits of poets, not caring if the woodcuts were actual likenesses at all. Greer dismisses the Corpus Christi and Grafton subjects and reminds the reader of misidentified and forged competito rs. (The National Portrait Gallery identifies 48 paintings as failed bids for posterity.) Greer also contrasts the fancy Marlowe/Shakespeare likenesses with the 1617 painting of Ben Jonson Ñ "not dressed as a courtier but as a scholar," with a simple collar and no doublet. Assigning the Cobbe portrait to not Shakespeare but Sir Thomas Overbury, Greer makes a telling point about what likenesses the public craves at different times. In Overbury's day, he was a participant in a great scandal that ended with hi m dying slowly of poison in the Tower. His murder was likely ordered by a friend's mistress. Greer insists that it is was the victim and his killer who were the celebrities of her time, not any playwright. "Nobody cared what a dramatist looked like," she w rites, "but everybody was interested in the young gentleman whose foul murder was contrived by a woman whose beauty and debauchery were legendary" (Guardian). Greer's dismissal not only of the likenesses but of the impact of writers' faces on their

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61 audien ces' reception of their work Ñ who cares what Shakespeare looked like? Ñ may undermine much of what has been discussed earlier in this chapter, but Greer's assertion that drama, murder, and intrigue are the better lure for our interest also helps explain how M arlowe and the Marlowe Construct, and the face(s) behind them, are so vibrant and persistent even today.

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62 CHAPTER IV MARLOWE ON STAGE, FILM AND TELEVISION The Power of Captured Performance upon the Classroom Canon Among the most influential forces that help shape the canon is whether or not screen adaptations of literary works succeed or fail. Hollywood's attraction to "quality literature" has generated a sub industry of toney period pieces, rich acting showcases, and challenging (or comforting) lofty t hemes. As this tradition has generated Oscars for directors, stars, and costume designers, it has also solidified the presence of celebrated novels and plays in bookstores and classrooms. Likewise, when a work's film treatment is unsuccessful, it sometimes hasten s the original's passing from first tier to second, jeopardizing its place as it competes with other titles for its audience. For three decades August Wilson's Fences existed for high school students as an 80 page text, given life by the reader's m ind and classmates' spoken interpretations of characters. Occasionally, the work's popularity led to field trips to regional theaters for live performances, but for most audiences, productions were out of reach. YouTube possesses two clips of the play's or iginal 1987 Broadway run (starring James Earl Jones), along with a few other scenes of the 2010 Broadway revival (starring Denzel Washington). Until 2017, these were the only professional performances available to mass audiences, and they allowed instructo rs to compare and contrast small segments of the play with what Wilson presented on the page. But with a full film version now in existence (directed by Washington, its star), Fences is now frozen in many of its viewers' minds as Fences the Movie , and as t he film has moved from theaters to DVD to streaming, it may be a teacher's first and only stop for a performative interpretation. Before the movie version was ever produced, however, the play's popularity in secondary instruction was secured by several ot her factors: it is a work by an established, celebrated author;

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63 it is a classically structured tragedy, suitable for assigning alongside Sophocles and Shakespeare; it indicts systemic racism; it portrays a painful father son relationship; it portrays a str ong, long suffering mother; it presents an easily graspable symbol, present in the play's title; it evokes histories of the Great Migration and Negro League Baseball, subjects taught in social studies classes; it is written by an African American, helping teachers who wish to "diversify" their curriculum; it is brief; and it demonstrates the perils a tragic hero, undone by pride and self delusion. In short, it is what some teachers call "an easy teach." The play has also earned establishment honors that hav e pushed it into the canon, winning both the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award, and Wilson's ten play "Pittsburgh Cycle," of which Fences is a part, has assured that most of his plays are revived and studied. The movie Fences earned four Academy Award nom inations, including Best Picture, and Viola Davis won Best Actress as Rose. These achievements have now cemented the Quality Play as a Quality Movie Ñ a literary adaptation that can now be summoned to find performative expression of Wilson's words and themes . Time will reveal whether Denzel Washington's Troy will be as inseparable from the text as Marlon Brando's Stanley is from Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire , but the fact that the movie Fences was well received should postpone film remakes for decades (as is the case for Elia Kazan's movie of Streetcar ). And the critical success of the movie may help further entrench August Wilson in the first rank of twentieth century playwrights assigned in l iterature classes. But having Washington as an audience's perennial Troy means that just one interpretation dominates the rest; outside of those YouTube clips, the role's originator Ñ James Earl Jones as a powerful, domineering, angry Troy Ñ will fade behind W ashington's more affable, amused, and haunted Troy. Thanks to Hollywood and its signifiers of quality, Fences is now contained in one filmic space, where one interpretation

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64 eclipses those that used to compete for space in classrooms, scholarship, and reade r's imaginations. Whether Fences continues to elevate the place of August Wilson in the American literary canon is dependent on more than just Hollywood box office returns and Oscar nominations, but successful film adaptations have sometimes meant a great deal to authors and their works. The aforementioned Kazan Brando Leigh Streetcar is iconic; the movie of To Kill a Mockingbird won an Oscar a year after the book's publication (making Atticus Finch and Gregory Peck inseparable); E.M. Forster and Jane Aust en each enjoyed adaptation booms, during which nearly all of their works landed on the screen in the 1980s and the 2000s, respectively; Apocalypse Now helps keep Heart of Darkness stocked in the local bookstore; Al Pacino and Ian McKellen's star power brou ght Richard III back to the cinemas and to syllabi; and Stanley Kubrick ensured that at least one Anthony Burgess book remains a part of the conversation. Not all of these adaptations do their authors' justice; Austen, for example, has been ill served by t he movies' misreading (or ignoring) of her satiric intent, as Hollywood's Oscar bait impulses have transformed some books' provocations into well costumed middlebrow comforts. While successful movies produce book sales and heighten authors' profiles, faile d movie versions can sometimes harm a book's reputation ( The Bonfire of the Vanities , The Lovely Bones, and Dune come to mind). And then there are the categories of authors for whom film adaptation results in various mutations of reputation and perception. There are those authors who are adapted but not much read anymore (Jules Verne, James Fenimore Cooper, H.G. Wells), authors who may be unadaptable (Toni Morrison, Kafka, Marquez, Cervantes, Dostoevsky), books nearly erased because of their movie versions' success ( The Birds, Night of the Hunter, The Godfather, The Shining, There Will Be Blood ), writers repeatedly served badly (Wilde, Carroll, Twain, Melville, Hawthorne, Swift), and writers who are known primarily for the single work that the movies

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65 made fa mous ( Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is the Albee everyone can see whenever they want, and August Wilson may be in for the same fate if Fences is not joined on film by other plays of his "Pittsburgh Cycle"). In short, the movies elevate, diminish, modify, distort, celebrate, destroy, and enrich what writers have put on the page. The phenomenon is one of the major ways a writer's reputation changes and takes form, and when it comes to Marlowe and Shakespeare, stage and screen productions have been am ong the most telling markers for how these writers have been perceived Ñ and how their works should be read. Lois Potter provides a survey of how Marlowe's major plays have fared on stage and screen, and the plays' distinct fates indicate much of what is va lued about Marlowe over time, given that some plays fare well while others fade, and vice versa. The Jew of Malta , she writes, was among the most popular plays of the 1590s but was largely forgotten after the English Civil War. The work needed a rehabilitation of Marlowe's image as a "mad Romantic genius" in the 19 th century (Potter 262). Tales of Marlowe being killed by a rival "in his lewd love" fed this image and helped vividly distinguish the playwright from his contemporaries. Consequently, F austus and Tamburlaine rose in reputation and in number of performances, as they were seen as having been created by a man with an "aspiring mind" about characters with grand, destructive ambitions. Nineteenth century observers admired the play for seeming unstageable, thereby elevating the genius that produced them (262). If Marlowe's work was so unwieldy, surely the mind that produced it must be brilliant. But after the 1920s discovery of the coroner's inquest into Marlowe's death, as well as more evidenc e of his connections to Elizabethan espionage, critics began to describe a "more cynical Marlowe," causing more directors to stage The Jew of Malta and Edward II . And, as demonstrated in Chapter V , the embrace of Marlowe as a gay martyr tied him even close r to Edward II , which has become more and more discussed and

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66 performed (Potter 263). These trends demonstrate that the perception of Marlowe's evolving reputation has driven audiences' expectations. Over the centuries, Dr. Faustus enjoyed a number of adva ntages to become Marlowe's most famous work: it tells a previously known legend, it contains spectacular visual effects, its two competing texts allow directors to mix and match for significantly different interpretations, its themes address grave matters of spiritual consequence, its depiction of sin can be played for admonition or for glamor, its farcical elements relieve audience's tension, its protagonist suggests the alleged transgressions of its playwright, and, as importantly, a later work helps ceme nts the play's significance. Goethe's 1808 Faust tells its own tale of the title character and Mephistopheles, incorporating not only the legends but Marlowe's earlier work. Faust 's immense success and influence elevated Marlowe's place in literature. Pott er writes, " So Faustus , now seen in the light of the later masterpiece, shook off its farcical associations to become th e most widely studied work by a contemporary of Shakespeare" ( 263 ). Before Goethe, the play was frequently underestimated for its comedi c elements and visual spectacle. Michael Hathaway writes that 17 th century productions were famous for the show of it: " I t was the spectacle of the evils and not the mind of the hero tha t was at the center of the play " (quoted in Potter 263), and in 1697 t here was a production designed for just two comic actors. This phenomenon came to a head when the characters of the doctor and the clown were fused into "The Harlequin Doctor Faustus" for 18 th century pantomimes (Potter 263). But Goethe's impact helped red irect productions of Marlowe's work back toward Faustus' indictments, bargaining, hubris, and sacrifice. In 1929, for example, Dr. Faustus appeared on a double bill at the first Canterbury Festival with the medieval morality play Everyman , joining the tradition as "an austere discourse on the wages of sin" (Potter 264).

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67 The play has remained elastic enough to be transformed by a number of notable 20 th century productions. Orson Welles cast an African American Mephistopheles to his own Faustus in 1937, and Welles' skills in magic produced spectacular stage effects, particularly in the papal court scene. The production helped fuel Marlowe's between the wars boom in America, as Welles' combination of terror, slapstick, puppets, and magic "managed to make F austus both funny and horrificÉt he relation between these two aspects of the play has been the main problem for most directors ," writes Potter, but Welles solved it (264). John Houseman speculates that his collaborator Welles succeeded in great part becaus e he "identified with the doomed genius." Other notable productions include a 1974 Royal Shakespeare Company version that took place entirely in Faustus' study. John Barton directed Ian McKellen to voice the Good and Evil Angels, puppeteering them himself , which led audiences to believe the entire play took place in the doctor's mind. Later, at the Young Vic in 2002, Faustus delivers the Helen of Troy speech to his own reflection in a mirror. The one movie version, starring Richard Burton, casts protagonis ts from other Marlowe plays in the Seven Deadly Sins scene, with Tamburlaine as Wrath and Barabas as Covetousness. The play's life on screen is so limited that the only other notable feature is 1994's surreal animated Faust by Jan Svankmajer, which combine d Goethe, Marlowe, and a number of other Faustian legends (Potter 265). Such a variety of approaches indicates that Marlowe's tale remains compelling for every generation. Conditions unrelated to the text sometime dictate how often a play is produced. Ho w easily a production can be cast and staged is an enormous part of how it establishes its legacy; revivals of Angels in America , Nicholas Nickleby , and Einstein on the Beach , for example, are always Events, but their massive staging requirements mean that they are rarely performed. Marlowe's Tamburlaine likewise is limited because of its scale, length, and large cast (Potter 266). But sometimes interpretations link Elizabethan works to contemporary conditions, thereby

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68 giving new life to Marlowe's visions. In the 20 th century, Tamburlaine gained life from directors associating the protagonist with contemporary politics and war, sometimes even making Tamburlaine a Hitler figure. Nazi parallels have also animated productions of The Jew of Malta ; they have also been employed to mute the play's anti Semitism Ñ the idea being that by historicizing the play it would be distant from bigotry. A 1990 version set the play in a Nazi factory in Warsaw; in 1999 at the Almeida Theatre, the play ends with an image of a father "heroically resisting a Nazi death oven"; a 1976 French production replaced the prologue's Machiavel with the ghost of Marlowe himself Ñ bloodied and emoting Ñ introducing characters wearing distorted Julius Streicher inspired Nazi caricatures of Jews. Potter writes that consequently " the production was contextualized both in Marlowe's own milieu and in later history, with characters putting on caricatures of the grotesque Jew as masks, evoking Hitler once again " (271). Such provocative adaptations signal that the productions are aware of how troubling Marlowe's depictions may be today, and, if well executed, animate the dramas for new audiences. The Jew of Malta and Edward II have both benefitted from their close relationship Ñ in themes, subjects, and echoes Ñ w ith two of Shakespeare's plays, The Merchant of Venice and Richard II . As time went on, theater companies would sometimes pair the Marlowes with the Shakespeares, thus enabling Marlowe to attach himself to the Shakespeare juggernaut and getting both stage time and scholarly attention. For The Jew of Malta / Merchant of Venice pairing, the problem for interpreters has been how to reconcile, defuse, or deconstruct the question of anti Semitism. The actor Edmund Kean, in the early 1800s, created a noble Barabas and stressed the love story between Mathias and Lodowic (even transplanting passionate dialogue from Edward II involving Edward and Gaveston) (Potter 268 69). Kean even introduced the play as being the product of "the star to Shakespeare's glorious sun," g iving

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69 another boost to the contemporary lesser light (Potter 269). Subsequent productions often stressed the play's humor Ñ "disinfecting" the play of its anti Semitism, in Potter's words, by adopting T.S. Eliot's interpretation of Jew of Malta as a "savage farce" (269). When comedy was insufficient, directors created Brechtian distancing effects to "keep reviewers from dwelling on the play's anti Semitism" (269). These methods often succeed: the Jewish Chronicle reviewed a 1987 Stratford production as, yes, anti Jewish but also "anti Christian and anti Moslem. Indeed, it is anti everything except a good laugh" (Potter 270). Such approaches help sustain a "bigoted" or "problematic" play in the repertory. Edward II has achieved the greatest benefits from such freedom in adaptations. Marlowe's tale of a weak, distracted, self destructive, and deposed king is said to have inspired close parallels in Shakespeare's Richard II Ñ sometimes causing the plays to be paired, as in the case of The Merchant of Venice and The Jew of Malta . The plays also share degrees of homoeroticism and themes of power, weakness, and otherness that have drawn more and more attention. Richard II is far less overt in these matters than the Marlowe play, but it is notable that many of the most famous Richards have been played androgynously by gay or bisexual actors, including Derek Jacobi, Ian McKellen, Ben Whishaw, Mark Rylance, John Gielgud, Michael Redgrave, and at the National Theatre in 1995 by the actress Fiona Shaw (Dobson). The link to S hakespeare not only heightens the profile of Edward II , it informs new readings of both plays. When the two plays are paired, perhaps the exchange for lending the Marlowe play Shakespeare's prestige is Richard II gaining more subversive resonances, making even its potential homosexual elements more acceptable to stage. Potter asserts that the 20 th century rise of Edward II Ñ becoming "almost equal to Doctor Faustus as Marlowe's most performed and adapted play" Ñ is the most remarkable development in Marlowe's performance history (272). She cites two factors: Bertolt Brecht's 1923 adaptation

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70 and growing attention to homosexuality and homophobia. Before Brecht and chang ing societal mores, directors had a difficult time portraying the play's sexual component. Potter ascribes part of the difficulty to the fate of Oscar Wilde; the earliest revivals after his trial for "gross indecency" downplayed any homosexual attraction b etween Edward and Gaveston. Writing of a 1906 Stratford production, the Manchester Guardian wrote of the difficulty in making Isabella and Gaveston "both intelligible to a modern audience and at the same time to Marlowe's intention." Gaveston was portrayed as a "typical Frenchman, impudent and frivolousÉquite delightful," and the sodomizing violence of Edward's murder was merely suggested (Potter 273). Brecht's adaptation, however, reinvigorated the play's dynamics and horrors. After likely seeing a popular Berlin production of Richard II , Brecht found in Marlowe a vehicle for his own art. Stylizing the set to strip it of realism, he added white pancake makeup to the actors, emphasized the terror of the battle scenes, inserted a ballad singer and captions, a nd made Gaveston's importance to Edward explicit, calling him "King Eddie's Whore." Brecht's choices influenced decades of straight Marlovian productions and the two playwrights were even blended together in the National Theatre's 1968 Edward II . But it w as the British and not the German who made the play's sexual politics resonate most effectively. On the English stage, a transmission of John Barton (directing Toby Robertson in 1951) to Toby Robertson (directing Derek Jacobi in 1958) to Robertson again (d irecting Ian McKellen in 1969) have helped establish Edward II as "a masterpiece fit for a national repertory" (words appied to the Jacobi triumph). The 1969 play was shown as part of a double bill, with McKellen playing not only Edward in the Marlowe play but Richard in Shakespeare's Richard II , again uniting these tragedies and their authors. And it is at this point that the questions of Marlowe's sexuality met his protagonist's struggles so explicitly, as Robertson and McKellen tied Edward II to their co untry's own politics. For one thing, thanks to the 1968

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71 abolition of pre production censorship by the Lord Chamberlain, Robertson directed his Edward and Gaveston actors to embrace in an open mouth kiss. Robertson recalled, "it seemed extraordinary that yo u should actually do this on the stage at all," but it was accomplished Ñ not only on stage but also on televisions when the play was broadcast (Potter 273). Robertson also remembers McKellen "almost parading hisÉhomosexuality" even though he was still close ted at this time (Aebischer 318). Pascale Aebischer writes that McKellen's "extravagant performance of same sex desire was part of a larger strategy aimed at distinguishing Marlowe's king as much as possible from his own performance as Shakespeare's Richar d II" (318). The play's reception, Aebischer writes, revealed attitudes toward the play's boldness and the surrounding society's censure, particularly in Edward's final scene as he is brutally sodomized by Lightborn's red hot poker: Lightborn's tights, wor n in the same fashion as those of Edward, Gaveston, and Spencer, cue the viewer to consider him a member of the homosexual faction in Edward's court. The murder, as a result, carries a strong sad erotic charge, withÉLightborn comforting and stroking the wr etched king, even kissing Edward on the mouth before proceedingÉThe camera focuses on Edward's screaming face, but not before allowing a glimpse of the chilling precision with which Lightborn aims the red hot poker towards Edward's bottom. With Lightborn s troking dead Edward's legs, Martrevis stabs him in the back, so that the executioner collapses over Edward's body in a final sexualized embrace. If the kiss between Edward and Gaveston at the beginning of the production speaks of the onset of an era in whi ch homosexual desire can be expressed and valued, the murder with which it concludes suggest an affinity between homoeroticism and sadistic violence that disturbs a reading of the production as a progressive portrayal of same sex desire. (318 319) That fi rst Edward Gaveston kiss, along with the play's codpieces, McKellen's emotional, even sometimes campy performance, and the horrors of its finale, all gave the play a new political charge in a potentially freer artistic climate. But Lord Chamberlain's relax ation of censorship laws were distorted by a later government action, which resulted in new ways to energize productions of Edward II as shows of resistance.

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72 Section 28, a part of a British decree in 1988, prohibited any events, including "artistic" ones , which might "promote homosexuality" (Potter 273). Consequently, many artists, musicians, writers, and activists ensured that their works would test the order. Suddenly, Marlowe's Edward II was more vital than ever. Charles R. Forker's history of the play 's performances writes that the "productions became less like history plays and more like polemics against a homophobe society" (Forker, look in Potter for the source). Since those behind Section 28 even named Marlowe as a "gay" author, interest grew in ot her Marlowe plays, including a Dido set in a gay nightclub and a leather clad all male Faustus (Potter 273), but Edward II became literally a resistant stage. Potter writes that the sodomy finale was adopted "to reflect a martyrdom that reflected the sense of persecution in the gay community" (275). Directors imported rumors and allegations about Marlowe's life into their productions. President Clinton's "Don't Ask/Don't Tell" policy for homosexuals in the military inspired a cross dressed, sexualized produ ction in Washington, D.C. At Sheffield in 2001 and at the Globe in 2003, the Edward Gaveston relationship became explicit, much more so than the text suggests Ñ much same sex kissing, for one thing, along with an Amazonian (male) Isabella leading an army. As the Globe's director put it, in the climate of the early twenty first century, a modern audience might "find words and looks evasive" (Potter 276). Better to cut through subtlety to confront unjust prohibitions, especially when using a 400 year old play t o challenge today's crises. Derek Jarman's Queer Edward II The only professional film production of a Marlowe play in the past fifty years is Derek Jarman's Edward II (1991). Written originally as Queer Edward II by the HIV positive, gay activist Jarman , it is a vehicle to provoke a repressive nation, venerate a brilliant martyr, indict Section 28, celebrate same sex love, and quarrel with prior depictions of the king (even that of Ian McKellen).

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73 Aebischer writes that among the catalysts for Jarman's i nterpretation of the play was his resentment of moderate gay voices, including Ian McKellen's, who did not fully combat the Thatcher government's policies. McKellen declared his homosexuality late in life in 1987, whereas Jarman was out since the early 197 0s and active within OutRage!, a radical group that performed publicity stunts and outed closeted celebrities. Jarman's contraction of AIDS further intensified his politics and his art, and he adapted Marlowe's play as a pure expression of love in the face of malevolent forces. Casting working class actors for Edward and Gaveston, Jarman disconnects from the tradition of classically trained actors like McKellen. He even turns much of Marlowe's verse into prose and leaves the clipped, versifying cadences to Tilda Swinton's Isabella, using her, claims Aebischer, to evoke the cold precision of classic Shakespearean acting favored by the McKellens of the world (321). In this way, Edward II's gay court is in opposition to the elites surrounding them; they pursue art and music while the outsiders connive to usurp them. Drag queens, dancers, and barely clothed musicians perform to uplift Edward and his cohort's spirits as they unknowingly advance toward disaster. Aebischer sees the relation between the two most easi ly accessible Edward II productions to be antagonistic: on one hand, the star McKellen Ñ closeted then and later only a moderate establishment voice for gay rights Ñ and on the other, the radical Jarman Ñ disgusted by accommodation in the face of persecution and rising deaths. Jarman wrote of McKellen's knighthood through the lens of his own understanding of the crowd pleasing and politically savvy Shakespeare and the rebel Marlowe: "I suspect if Elizabeth I was dishing out knighthoods, Shakespeare would have bee n at the front door with a begging bowl. Marlowe would have run a mile" (320). That McKellen, "England's leading gay man," would accept such an honor during Thatcher's era caused Jarman to question the star's allegiances. And this helps us understand just why Jarman identified so fully with the construct of Marlowe as a sexual freedom fighter and a genius dissident.

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74 The film itself is rousing. Expressionistic sets and costumes sometimes evoke the 14 th Century even amid contemporary protest banners ("Gay Desire Is Not a Crime" "Stop the Violence Against Gays and Lesbians" "Queer as Fuck"), the police's machine guns, and Edward III's Walkman. Characters are shot to glow colorfully, isolated amid dark sha dows and rough castle walls, and Tilda Swinton's vampiric Isabella (she kills Kent by biting his neck) evokes Thatcher more than once. Edward's murder is dreamed rather than enacted. The nightmare death scene is horrific, as Edward is pinned down and the p enetrating poker illuminates the scene in a violent red to match Edward's screams. The king awakens and the executioner Lightborn spares Edward with a kiss, but there is no joy in this departure from the text. The final shots are of the child Edward III, w earing his mother's earrings and lipstick, his ears plugged into the Nutcracker Suite, dancing newly crowned atop a cage containing his mother and Mortimer. They are caked in powder, frozen in expression like two Beckett characters trapped in another limbo . Jarman's Edward (Steve Waddington) never adopts McKellen's camp gestures and never seems weak, even shackled in his own dungeon. Repressive forces tumble, as Jarman enjoins his own gay rights group OutRage! to battle police and soldiers on screen. The t hrills are high, the language is glorious, and the play is renewed and alive, as Jarman ties it and its author intimately to current and eternal struggles. Alas, naked men are also abundant, which means that this movie will likely never be a part of second ary instruction and thus irrelevant to Marlowe's place in the classroom canon. A teacher could perhaps skip the first half hour's love making and nude rugby, for the last hour is a tense battle for the crown, but that would do a crime to Jarman's vision. M arlowe's genius must reach that teacher's students in other ways, and happily, for some, Jarman's old nemesis McKellen is committed to the cause. Touring schools across England and promoting the mission via YouTube and videos, McKellen takes seriously his role as a gay ambassador for Shakespeare and Marlowe, and the DVD of his 1970 Edward may start to visit

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75 the classes that show his Richard III or his Macbeth . Aebischer is not terribly optimistic about the prospect, however, for Marlowe's screen legacy is s cant. Citing not only these films but Murnau's and Svankajer's obscure re fashionings of Faustus , as well as a college production of The Jew of Malta , Aebischer writes that theyÉ [prompt] a reconsideration of the missionary zeal and the connections to amat eur performance shared by the majority of film adaptations of Marlowe's plays, including Jarman's polished film, with its amateur performers, and McKellen's Edward II , with its origins in student theatre. An anachronic view of these films thus highlights t he gap that continues to separate "small time Marlowe" on screen from the glitzy big budget professionalism of "big time Shakespeare." (323) In literature courses all over the world, Kenneth Branagh and Laurence Olivier bring Shakespeare to movie day life . McKellen's Richard III vies with Olivier's and Pacino's, and Baz Luhrmann's Leo & Claire Romeo and Juliet encodes its author's artistry, for better or worse, in ninth grade minds. Teachers can choose from a dozen Othellos and Macbeths , two dozen Hamlets , and Hollywood star turns in the comedies. Scheduled for 2019 is a movie combining the Henry IV plays with Henry V , starring Timothee Chalamet and Robert Pattinson, both equipped to fill seats with their admirers. This movie is being made just five years a fter Tom Hiddleston played Prince Hal and King Henry in The Hollow Crown . Between these productions Ñ in fact, since 1991 Ñ there have been zero Marlowe movies, and nothing to tempt a teacher to try an accompanying Marlowe text, nothing to get students to put down their Shakespeares for a different Elizabethan. Richard Burton's Faustus The only other major film production of a Christopher Marlowe play is Richard Burton and Neville Coghill's Doctor Faustus (1968), for which no one has yet to express admiration. Coghill was Burton's acting teacher back at Oxford, and the movie star repaid the debt by returning to college and enacting a chopped up version of the play with the Oxford Dramatic Society. The movie is a record of the stage event, but this time adorned with Burton's wife

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76 Elizabeth Taylor as Helen. (Unlike the play, this Helen appears, disappears, and reappears throughout the proceedings, each time distractingly mute and out of place.) Thanks to its garish colors, draping costumes, and kaleidoscopic super imposed effects (evoking more of a Star Trek episode than a Marlowe play), the movie appears indifferent to Faustus' crises no matter how much Burton emotes. The film did no favors for Marlowe's profile, as it was universally panned. Time Magazine lamente d that Burton and Coghill "cropped lines, gouged passages, transplanted speeches and transposed sequences with complete indifference to the original" (Time Magazine ). Renata Adler's New York Times review tried to summon some value if only in her derision: "The whole enterprise has the immense vulgarity of a collaboration (almost Faustian, really) in which Academe would sell its soul for a taste of the glamour of Hollywood; and the stars are only too happy to appear awhile in the pretentious friar's robes fr om Academe" ( Adler ). Noting that Coghill transplanted lines from Tamburlaine and elsewhere, in an effort "apparently to improve the text a little," the movie "is of an awfulness that bends the mindÉfull of rococo touches (screens within crystals, and eyegl asses and eyes of skulls) which should be appropriate to the necromantic aura of the text, but are not" ( Adler ). More than one reviewer said the film looked like the Burtons simply wished for a home movie of them together to watch at home, yet charged admi ssion to the rest of us. Consequently, this Doctor Faustus is virtually unseen today. When this writer taught the Marlowe play to high school juniors, the movie was valuable only as a ridiculous contrast to Marlowe's vision. Teachers should play it only fo r laughs, or for groans.

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77 Figure 4: Rupert Everett as Christopher Marlowe in Shakespeare in Love . Source: General History.com From Marlowe Adapted to Marlowe Embodied Having one's plays become cinematic fare is one thing; becoming a character in someone else's production is quite another. A surprise addition to Marlowe lore came in the form of actor Rupert Everett. In a memorable cameo in Shakespeare in Love (1998), Eve rett portrayed Christopher "Kit" Marlowe as Shakespeare's contemporary and better (see Figure 4) . Hailed throughout the play by others, including a parade of actors auditioning with his Faustus soliloquy "Is this the face that launched a thousand ships," t he Marlowe character is established as the dominant and prosperous artist in a world where Shakespeare is but an upstart. The blissfully ahistorical movie is filled with in jokes and allusions for those familiar with the time and the subject Ñ Shakespeare pr acticing a signature that will be studied for centuries to come, actors and theatres feuding for profits and sex, shopkeepers dropping immortal quotations in casual conversations, characters pursuing cross dressing deceptions, and a malevolent boy turning out to be the future wicked playwright John Webster Ñ and Marlowe's fame and death are central to the plot. In a brief tavern scene, Marlowe offers to buy the struggling Will a brandy before giving him advice on what to do with his unwritten play, Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter . It is clear that they are friendly ("Hello, Will", "Hello, Kit"), competitive (Will

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78 grudgingly praises the famous language of Faustus), but cooperative. Marlowe tells him of his new play, The Massacre at Paris ("Good title," s ays Will), and advises Shakespeare to make a few changes in the pirate story: set it in Italy, give Romeo a love interest in a rival family, give him a doomed best friend named Mercutio ("Good name," says the admiring Will). None of these ideas could have sprung from Marlowe's mind in real life, of course (the Romeo and Juliet story was already decades old before Shakespeare made it his own), but the scene establishes Marlowe as friendly, fraternal, helpful, and charming, while young Shakespeare is just abo ut to join Marlowe's lofty world and, of course, surpass him. Potter writes that many people invested in an iconoclastic, gay Marlowe "were annoyed at what looked like a sanitization of the historical character in the interest of popular success and the A cademy Award the film eventually wonÉplayed neither as an overreacher nor as someone likely to have held any of the views in the Baines NoteÉhe is charming, effortlessly authoritative, and, in his advice to the floundering young Shakespeare, always right" (277). Whatever motivation to make Marlowe in this style, the film succeeded mightily in renewing interest in the playwright. As Potter writes, when mutual friends inform Will of Marlowe's murder, Will is filled with guilt because he thought the blade was intended for him. Throughout the film, Shakespeare has been jealous of his rival's success and talent and might have wished him away if he could. When that desire comes to terrible fruition, Shakespeare scolds his weakness and dedicates himself to doing ju stice to Marlowe's genius in his own work. The audience knows how this will all turn out in the end Ñ that Marlowe will be a three minute cameo in an imaged love story about the world's most celebrated author Ñ but the spirit of Marlowe has buoyed the movie it self. Thanks to Shakespeare in Love , his persona grew alongside his mysteries.

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79 Figure 5: Trystan Gravelle (second from left) as Christopher Marlowe in the movie Anonymous , joined by William Shakespeare (standing) and Ben Jonson (foreground). Source: Columbia Pictures Anonymous Marlowe does not always enjoy such favorable fictional treatment, as even his imagined virtues can be overthrown by another myth. Roland Emmerich's film Anonymous (2011) is a frenetic, cockeyed, and ahistorical fantasy depicting the Earl of Oxford as the true author of the plays attributed to Shakespeare. In it Trystan Gravelle portrays Marlowe as a shifty, double dealing competitor and adopts the mincing, haughty quality of a clichÂŽd gay type (see Figure 5) . Within the story, Marlowe discovers Shakespeare's arrangement with Oxford (the earl pays the illiterate, bumbling actor to put his name on the plays Oxford writes). Emerging from the shadows one dark night to m eet Ben Jonson, a reluctant co conspirator, Marlowe reveals how easily he can send people to the Tower; all it takes is but a word to the right people, and since Shakespeare "is not one of us, Ben," Marlowe hints at undoing the whole fraudulent enterprise. This is the last of two short Marlowe scenes. Jonson later informs us that Marlowe's throat was cut sometime after confronting Shakespeare with the truth. Here the movie compounds its many affronts to history, making the Stratford man not only an ignorant fool but a possible accomplice

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80 to murder. In his small presence in Anonymous , Marlowe is charm free, self interested, jealous, and duplicitous (even donning a sinister Snidely Whiplash moustache). The portrayal might have undone Everett's winning performa nce in Shakespeare in Love , but Anonymous was a failure at the box office and could not even damage its target, "the fraud Shakespeare," much less Marlowe. For the classroom, the movie is of interest only to teachers who want to provoke (or mislead) studen ts with authorship fabrications. Figure 6 : Jamie Campbell as Christopher Marlowe in TNT's Will Source: TNTDrama.com Will Marlowe's most sustained fictional portrayal is in the TNT television drama Will (2017), which imagines Shakespeare's first year in London as a chaotic tale that plunges him into the perils of love, theatre, inspiration, and the Catholic underground (see Figure 6) . Since that time of Shakespeare's life is unrecorded by history, creato r Craig Pearce gaily ignores timelines and period piece niceties. The Clash's "London Calling" boldly accompanies the show's first scene,

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81 a panorama of busy London taverns, shops, bazaars, buskers, street life, and theaters. The city is filthy but alive, a nd the show spends much time depicting the struggles of slum life, including hunger, prostitution, plague, and the ever present necessities of chamberpots. "A turd by another other names does not smell sweet," quips one character, establishing a pattern of embedded Shakespearean language. Anachronisms abound, from one character criticizing Shakespeare's "fragile male ego" to an abundance of black actors to playbills advertising Henry VI and Two Gentlemen of Verona in punk rock graphics and lettering. There is even a rap battle between the newly arrived Shakespeare and the condescending Robert Greene, whose famous insult of Shakespeare as "upstart crow" gets a public comeuppance. The soundtrack also enlivens this tone, adding the Beastie Boys, Sex Pistols, Ra diohead, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, T. Rex, and David Bowie to the score. Jonathan Livingstone writes in the New Republic that the (mostly) mid to late 1970s music gives the scenario the excitement of a major transitionary period, from glam rock to punk rock, emb odied respectively in Will by the glamorous, decadent Kit Marlowe and the raw upstart heir, Will Shakespeare ( Livingstone ). And this contrast in personalities and artistic sensibilities provides a dynamic fictional Marlowe to finally compete with the many Shakespeares that storytellers have already depicted. Jamie Campbell Bower's Kit is long haired, androgynous, lithe, and impossibly ambitious. Throughout the show, Marlowe's interests in otherworldy matters suggest those of his Dr. Faustus ("dost thou des ire money, power?" he asks of his reflection), as he holds sŽances, summons masters in the black arts, and even buries himself alive to test death itself. His sexuality is also potent, bisexual but usually seen with men and boys, including at least one ful l fledged orgy ("come on, boys, inspire me!"). But he does not neglect his writing Ñ kicking out his roomful of lovers, he declares, "Today is a work dayÉI must wrestle with that bitch, the muse" Ñ and he sees in the Stratford outsider (Laurie Davidson) a tale nt worthy of his own. This

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82 Marlowe is also temperamental, throwing tantrums in his vast home (filled with candles, skulls, and emblems of the occult) and leaping from joy to despair ("my soul is heavy with too much sin") and back again within seconds. He b ecomes enmeshed in Will's own involvement in the Catholic underground (the show turns the Catholic martyr Robert Southwell into Will's cousin), spying as a double agent as he profits from Walshingham's secret service even as he protects its targets. Slyly foiling the plans of the queen's torturer Richard Topcliffe, Marlowe gains Will's trust and tries to cultivate the nascent artist (who, by contrast, is keeping time with single young woman who is helping him with his writing). Such a vivid portrait gives r ich imagery to Marlowe as a transgressor, a genius, and a foil to Shakespeare. Kit is constantly prowling for inspiration, and he attempts to use Will as a proxy explorer of the unseen world. To the sounds of T. Rex's "20 th Century Boy," Kit leads Will to a party filled with revelry, sex, and tattoos. Upstairs "at the real party" he introduces Will to Sir Francis Bacon ("a notorious sodomite") and Sir Walter Raleigh ("a real supernova"), who calls America a "brave new world," which, in one the show's many obvious moments, inspires Will to write the phrase down. Here Marlowe confesses his jealousy of Shakespeare and his own dilemma: "The fault lies in my astrology. I'm doomed to swim against the stream. The more the public wants me, the less I give them." Sh akespeare replies, alas, "Perhaps the fault lies not in the stars but in yourself." These too on the nose exchanges occur throughout Will , hampering the genuinely refreshing crises and clashes within each episode, and the Kit/Will contrast becomes didactic as well. Marlowe later summons Will to a fire ceremony, hoping that the new playwright can see things in the fire that he can't ("that way, greatness lies"). This scene is one of many that portray Marlowe not just as the conjurer of Faustus but as a faile d Faustus himself Ñ he cannot make the leaps his character can. This brings him a cynicism about God and hell ("it's all theater," he says) that results in him penning Dr. Faustus for Henslowe's Rose

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83 Theatre. Each episode deepens the depiction of Marlowe as a tragic figure, cut down before he could fulfill impossible ambitions. Will, on the other hand, learns from his new friend's extremes; he sees nothing in the fire but the mania of his host, and this dabbling with excess redirects him to more seriously pro duce his own work. Throughout Will , the rival geniuses Ñ one gay, thrilling, and thwarted, the other straight, committed, and designed to last Ñ provide two models for the pursuit of art, but the doomed one is played with much more fun. Will makes Marlowe attr active and exciting, the kind of rebel worth his own ten hours of television. Will was canceled after just one season, for its reception was mixed. Many were amused by its violations of history and decorum, while others were offended. The historian Michae l Wood helped guide issues of setting and conflict, but the show's obviousness often won out (when Will achieves his first great success Ñ "one hit, and he thinks he's Marlowe" Ñ the show depicts Will cavorting, drinking, and loving to David Bowie's "Fame"). T he show's writers tried to get every allusion and touch into the scenes they could; at one point Kit sighs to an older dying lover, "You were the only one who encouraged me to be Marlowe" and unveils the Corpus Christi portrait, revealing that the older ma n was its painter. This blend of history and myth, gravity and trivia consistently undermines the show's vision, including its irreverent soundtrack. Pitchfork's Judy Berman, for example, objects to the show's co opting of a vital musical movement: Shakes peare certainly revolutionized literature, but now that the punk aesthetic has become synonymous with all forms of rebellion throughout history, we've forgotten that not every revolutionary is a punk. And that's why even a show as silly as Will has the pow er to chip away at the movement's fragile ideological legacy. ( Berman ) The show posits theater as the punk rock of its time, Berman writes, "simply because it gave outsize personalities a platform, attracted a crude audience, and worried people in power." That is a conceit that does a disservice to both the rock era and to Marlowe's. The New Republic, meanwhile, praised the show's leather trousers and "slippery sexiness, as long as the jokes keep

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84 coming" ( Livingstone ). For Shakespeare, hi s time, and the Marlowe character especially, Will attempted a resurrection. It sought to demystify and glamorize, to humanize and revere. It provides a possible way for at least one version of Marlowe Ñ sexy, inspired, hedonistic, damned Ñ to be remembered in the public mind. *** It may be to his advantage that there is no single iconic movie of Marlowe's work. Instead his plays live on the page and on the stage, giving energy to differing interpretations and arguments. For most people, by contrast, the Fences movie will be The Version of August Wilson's play for a generation or longer. As for our idea of Marlowe as a figure of his own, perhaps he will gain new fame from other depictions; Dead Man in Deptford , History Play , School of Night , and other work s (dramatizing what some think of as his life) have yet to be adapted for the screen, and surely there is a Shakespeare/Marlowe buddy picture stuck on some hopeful screenwriter's laptop. A successful portrayal could inspire student friendly Folger Library like paperbacks of his plays, or even a Marlowe Made Easy edition of Edward II Ñ with the original verse and modern paraphrases mirroring each other on every page. Finally, another path to renewed classroom attention could result from an updated, modern vers ion of one of his plays. If 1995's Clueless helped put Emma back on many school reading lists, Doctor Faustus may have its day again.

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85 CHAPTER V POLITICIZATION: THE QUEER THEORY 90s & MARLOWE'S 21 st CENTURY LIFE The Poli tical Charge of Canon Selection The first official Gay Straight Alliances (GSAs) for high school students began in the late 1980s, and in schools and colleges across the country such LGBTQ associations are now commonplace. The groups provide support, camaraderie, counseling, and affirma tion, and their energies are often directed toward school policies regarding inclusion and discrimination. Advocates credit GSAs for reducing student mental health crises and even suicide rates for LGBT youth. The rise of these associations coincides not o nly with the country's growing acceptance of homosexual and non binary gender issues, including breakthroughs in equal rights law and marriage rights, but a shift in the politicization of what is taught in the classroom. More recently, the growing visibil i ty of trans students and their needs have reoriented political discussions in schools and on campus. Demands for LGBT representation in the canon also runs in tandem with new ways to apply developments in understanding how heteronormative constructs shape literature, its reception, and instruction. As academics and their students have helped popularize radical conceptions of gender and sexuality, some writers and artists have been adopted for the cause. For gay identified writers like Christopher Marlowe, t hese developments helped revive his profile and point a way toward how his work may become more widely read and taught in the near future. Queer Theory in the 1990s After Stonewall, as gays and lesbians marched slowly toward greater acceptance in popula r culture and in civil rights, homophobic resistance and the AIDS epidemic inspired greater and more visible activism. Many academics embodied these resistant energies by studying such issues as homosexuality, bisexuality, transgenderism, gender, sex, norm ativity,

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86 deviance, power, and identity itself. As one part of the mission, schol ars re inspected the classics. Queer centric readings of Elizabethan works are now common, and they do not merely address cross dressing comedies . (JSTOR provides a bounty of e ssays, including "Queering the Shakespeare Family," "Queer Virgins and Virgin Queens on the Early Modern Stage," "Butch Boys in the Mist," and "The Anus of Coriolanus " ) . Angela Ahlgren writes of the richness of the terrain, calling contemporary productions of classic work "particularly crucial sites for queer analysis precisely because they call into question a host of assumptions about the vexed nature of same sex desire in the West across historical periods" (9). Without such fresh discourse in queer and gender studies, theorists claim, such works might atrophy. Jonathan Crewe writes that, aside from William Empson and Oscar Wilde, critics generally disavowed or ignored such questions until Michel Foucault and later Judith Butler reshaped critical priorit ies, which for Marlowe meant new life in academic journals (Crewe 1) . By reject ing binary/non binary labels , queer theorists have opened heretofore ignored dimensions in Edward II , in particular, and the language of homosexuality, pederasty, and, above all, sodomy now reorient our u nderstanding of Marlowe's verse (Crewe 9). Elizabethan poetry is enriched when readers embrace same sex ambiguities , and Marlowe, being far more notorious in life and in death than his rival Shakespeare , has gained the most from those attracted to the transgressive and the romantic. To cement this reappraisal, the 2001 collection Marlowe, History & Sexuality was devoted entirely to queer theory readings of Marlowe's work, as the editors explicitly endeavored "to sugg est the range and intensity of interest in Marlowe in the 1990s" (Cunningham). Mario DiGangi notes that such discussions of sexuality are quite a recent phenomenon . "There was a time in Renaissance studies," he writes, when any notion of homosexuality i n a poem or play "was likely to be accompanied by indignant or apologetic disavowals" (129).

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87 What's more, t he days of snickering at bowdlerized Shakespeare in the 1940s was strictly heterosexual mischief , for in academic discourse, the Other was invisible. Scholars reading homoeroticism into early modern poetry were commanded to retract and apologize (DiGangi 2). Consequently, one may applaud the rise of queer theory as an engine of renewal Ñ for both literature's readers and its makers Ñ as it creates new spac es in which early modern literature may be interpreted in the language of sexual reality and transgression . Marlowe's works, therefore, are especially effective transmitters of critical orthodoxies Ñ whether lodged, dislodged, or otherwise. His standing as a likely gay author, killed violently after troubling the state in various ways, added force to the rise of queer theory in the 1990s. David Clark even suggests that Marlowe and queer theory share significant overlapping qualities, primarily due to each's ambiguities: "If MarloweÉis a slippery subject, queer theory is no less tangible, ever both questioning and self questioning. It may embrace whatever is non normative but is also invested in the reworking of what is normative" (232 233). This element of qu est ioning identity is apt for the Marlowe persona and artist we celebrate today. Clark writes that queer theory promises to embrace the Other into a "category of Ôbelonging'Éyet dismisses universality as illusory and privileges the individual, the various, the heterodox" (233). Here we can see how fully the Marlowe construct suit s queer theory. As illustrated in Chapter IV, theaters and filmmakers employed Marlowe as a political weapon against repressive laws and bigots. Judith Butler's characterization of the word queer itself demonstrates how adaptable queer theory can be in addressing canonical authors. The word queer , she writes, "[remains] never fully owned, but always and only redeployed, twisted, queered from a prior usage and in the direction of urgent a nd expanding political purposes" (Clark 233). In this way, to apply queer theory to Marlowe necessarily pushes his critical reception into a progressive literary future.

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88 Queering Marlowe Stephen Orgel contends that Elizabethan audiences were far l ess likely than later ones to fear homoerotic ism on the page or on the stage (wondering even if Marlowe's original Edward II audiences would cheer the executioners or lament their victims), and it took 18 th and 19 th century audiences to diminish Marlowe fo r celebrating aberrant behavior (Stymiest 1, 17). Orgel also questions the conventional wisdom about Marlowe's sexuality and atheism. Noting that his works were popular and profitable in his lifetime and for some time after, Orgel questions just how much a spurned heretic Marlowe really was (219). Recalling the case of Francis Bacon, Orgel notes that charges of sodomy were common at the time and that Marlowe was far more likely to be in trouble for suggesting Jesus and St. John were sodomites (as alleged in the defamatory Baines note) than for being one himself (221). But "homosexuality is our problem, not theirs," Orgel writes, concluding that the entire issue is anachronistic. Whether Marlowe engaged in homosexual acts or not is now quite beside the point, Jonathan Goldberg writes at the end of a thorough historical examination of allegations and suggestions. The charges of atheism and sodomy represent a "discursive truth" Ñ embedded in sedition, demonism, atheism Ñ that is now entangled with the writer, his wo rks, and his time (Goldberg 9). "In sodomy," Goldberg writes, "English society saw its shadow: the word expressed sheer negation, an absence of taking root in anyone, and necessarily to be rooted outÉa seditious behavior that knew no limits" (10) . Despite the ambiguous veracity of the labels, Marlowe's reputation bears the marks of their influence and thus creates in Marlowe space for q ueer t heory interpretation. For Goldberg, a more important slur in the Baines note is the word juggler , for this is centra l to Marlowe's identity as an author: "in the word juggler , which includes in its range of associations con man, cheap entertainer, magician, trickster, storyteller, conjurer, actor, and dramatist" (376). Citing Stephen Greenblatt, Goldberg notes the impor tance of a "negativized

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89 identity" that stretches from Marlowe's time to today, "however great the historical differences between the place of homosexuality in Renaissance society and ours:" Marlowe and his heroesÉ live lives in the recognition of the void, in the realization (I mean that both ways) that rebellion never manages to find its own space, but always acts in the space that society has created for itÉThe authenticity of inauthenticity was the ground upon which Wilde met his society. The history of homosexuality in the past one hundred years has been of its emergence in the sphere of otherness to which it has been confined, its foundation in a discursive sphere in which it attempts to lay claim to a radically threatening otherness. Yet, it is always menaced and vulnerable, and whether we can ever find an authenticity that is not capable of being absorbed by, and crushed by, the society in which we exist, is the question raised, it seems to me, by the case of Christopher Marlowe. (377 378) By presenti ng such subversive characters and actions, Marlowe fulfills and expands upon many of queer theory's central issues . Marlowe's Ovid translations are scandalous ly erotic , Faustus and Barabas are fanatical in their pursuit of desire, and Edward II 's passions lead to both friendship and bodily violations. Edward, though a king, in some sense represents the outsider Ñ marg inalized, alien, and vulnerable. Clark writes that Marlowe's plays are notoriously subversive, as they "bring the marginal and the alien to the center and question that marginalization and the demonization of the Other" (233). Marlowe provides such fodder in many of his works. From Hero and Leander 's "in his looks were all that men desire" to Jupiter promising Ganymede, in Dido Queen of Carthage , whatever jewels he desires if he will return Jupiter's love, Marlowe gives his audience homoerotic elements that change and alter as the centuries pass. Ahlgren writes that early modern texts "provide a Ôusable past' through which to examine contemporary modes of sexuality, violence, and power" (19). In queer theory's hands, Marlowe's works become material for studi es of the mutability of identity and more. Edward II Edward II opens with Gaveston, upon reading a letter from the king, looking eagerly at his return to Edward:

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90 What greater bliss can hap to Gaveston Than live and be the favourite of a King! Sweet princ e, I come! These, these thy amorous lines Might have enforced me to have swum from France, And, like Leander, gasped upon the sand, So thou wouldst smile, and take me in thine armsÉ [London] harbors him I hold so dear, The King, upon whose bosom let me di eÉ (I.i.3 8, 14 15) Later Gaveston imagines some of the pleasures of his homecoming, including a dance he will choreograph with his pages: Sometime a lovely boy in Dian's shape, With hair that gilds the water as it glides, Crownets of pearl about his naked arms. And in his sportful hands an olive tree To hide those parts which men delight to see, Shall bathe him in a spring. (I.i.60 65) Such unambiguous passages mark Edward II as the work that resonates most with both 1990s and 21 st century conceptions of homosexuality. Identified as gay, regardless of with whom he sleeps, Edward journeys from a sort of Elizabethan closet to an open and brazen lover of men. As discussed in Chapter IV, p roductions in the 1960s and 1 970s were notable in their frankness, lacking the shame about homosexuality, "the reserve, almost hesitancy," found in prior works by such gay playwrights Tennessee Williams and Edward Albee (Ahlgren 2 ). Now in the 21 st century, queer theory allows readers to move past mere abnegation of shame to embrace these lines in their homosexual implications. David Clark suggests that the Gaveston speeches may have also been seen at the time as reflecting a conventional male "friendship in medieval and Renaissance discourse" (235). It takes Mortimer's later insinuations of sodomy to fully paint the relationship as corrupt, but in these early moments Gaveston is on a mission of "performative escalation," in which he celebrates what is later condemned. Clark writes t hat the speeches fulfill Judith Butler's sense of

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91 performativity as "that reiterative power of discourse to produce the phenomena that it regulates an d constrains" Ñ and not just in Gaveston's intertextual likening of himself to Leander in the first soliloqu y (Clark 237) . In this way and others, modern interpreters channel their own politics through the 1592 play. Clark, by noting the different genres in which the play may reside Ñ its "generic uncertainty" Ñ emphasizes the potency of later readings of the play a s a queer landmark: One could read the play as the tragedy of the doomed love of Edward and Gaveston or as the tragedy of Edward's humiliated wife Isabella. Alternatively, one could characterize Edward II as a history play, where the patriotic barons reco gnize the danger to the realm from Edward's obsessive love and try to prevent the social disorder that might follow from the low born Gaveston's rise to powerÉHowever, the balance of history and tragedy in Edward II may also represent a deliberate queering of genre: a resolve to make the audience choose how to take the drama set before them. (238 239 ) This freedom to not only interpret an artist's work but to turn a play into a conveyance of resistance, affirmation, and politics is essential to how Edward II took on new life at the end of the 20 th century. Derek Jarman made the phenomenon clear when in his Edward II shooting diary he wrote, "How to make a film of a gay love affair and get it commissioned? Find a dusty old play and violate it" ( Ahlgren 15). In the 1990s , activists made it their mission to transform homosexuality's victim identity into something combative, righteous, and potent, and queer theory produced much of the ammunition. Adopting Marlowe's play is way of casting light upon the present, and the king's brutal death, in particular, "forces us to confront the pain and death that result from resisting the status quo or failing to conform" (Clark 240). On the page the manner of death is ambiguous Ñ the torturers call for a poker, ye s, but also for a featherbed, and the actual murder weapon is not described Ñ but for many decades directors have made the burning sodomy of the red hot poker quite clear. For artists and polemicists alike, the explicit violence reminds audiences of the brut alities inflicted upon LGBT persons across the globe Ñ from disenfranchisement to prison terms to executions. Edward II at that point becomes the defiant gesture that Jarman and others intended all along.

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92 This combination of theater and theory remains popul ar but is not without its limits. Clark wonders what Marlowe himself would think of all this: "Queer theory has often been criticized for is perceived excesses, whether an overemphasis on the rhetorical, an undue obscurity of expression, or a lack of histo rical rigor," but its most penetrating criticism is its insistence on the variability of identity. This sometimes causes its adherents to not fully engage with "the real world importance of identity politics" (239). Marlowe's characters and their crises he lp allay that fear, as artists can pick up where theorists leave off. Gender Studies , Representation, and the Classroom Canon Since the advent of queer theory, much of its discourse has been absorbed into gender studies, wherein fluid conceptions of sexua lity, gender, identity, femininity, and masculinity confront or amend such fields of philosophy, psychology, art, and literature. As with the ever growing acronym LGBTQ+ (sometimes as lengthy as LGBTQIAPK), the term "gender studies" includes members, advoc ates, and allies for all things non heteronormative. These combined energies are sometimes lamented (programs dedicated to women's literature or feminist history are consumed in favor of a "more expansive" model, for example) but also make marginalized gro ups more visible than ever. In many English departments, gender studies concepts combine with racial diversity and social justice efforts to not only select previously neglected authors and works but to reexamine the classics. At East High School in Denver , teachers apply concepts of social justice and gender roles to such titles as Medea , A Streetcar Named Desire , and The Odyssey , while writers Ta Nehisi Coates, Dorothy Allison, Nella Larsen, Sophie Treadwell, Paul Beatty, Junot Diaz, Michelle Alexander, R oxane Gay, and David Sedaris join Fitzgerald, Dostoevsky, and Morrison in book bags. Among the Denver Public Schools' mandated district wide curricula are The Bluest Eye , Growing Up Ethnic in America , Middlesex , The Woman Warrior , and In the House of the B utterflies . And teachers less frequently ignore the sexual

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93 identities of such writers as Oscar Wilde, James Baldwin, Virginia Woolf, Walt Whitman, Lorraine Hansberry, and Langston Hughes. Now, these writers might be celebrated at school during Pride Week, decorating hallways alongside Ellen Degeneres and Harvey Milk. All of this, of course, pertains to a large urban school district; by no means is this move for representation consistently vigorous nationwide. But credit for where it does exist goes in part to the growing profile of nonwhite, queer, and feminist voices Ñ all of which are buttressed and shaped by queer theory and gender studies. The 2000s' Gay Straight Alliances are becoming all inclusive political unions , as their social media driven presence i n high schools and colleges high light s and transmit s the latest ideas about whiteness, appropriation, representation, etc. Into this politicized academic and social whirl may arrive a "new" writer Ñ gay, troublesome, atheistic, and subversive. What queer th eory wrought of Christopher Marlowe's work in the 1990s can continue to expand into fresh deconstructions of how he addresses power, identity, fluidity, justice, and deviance. Clark writes, " If Marlowe had anything to say to queer theorists today, perhaps it would be a r eminder to balance the pleasures of discourse and performativity with the need to critique a world in which people are murdered for failing to conform to a perceived norm" (240). As more and more schools infuse their teaching with social justice and gender issues, the classes that (for now) teach Shakespeare may also wish to consider not only Marlowe, but what the theorists have made of him. Conclusion: Marlowe's Next Life Marlowe's best chance for a thriving presence in the next few decades is likely reliant on how his persona as a Rebel Gay Genius Martyr Spy helps characterize his work. Growing queer scholarship and street level activism fo r gay and trans rights will continue to politicize and embrace Marlowe's work. The mysterious circumstances of his death in Deptford will remain as intriguing and inexplicable as ever. "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" will live on, as it ha s

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94 proved im mortal and adaptable as a challenge and provocation to centuries of critics and other poets. The Corpus Christi portrait will continue to inspire Marlovians to read their own conceptions of the playwright into his ever youthful gaze. And productions of his plays will feed on a subversive, glamorous construct that deepens his verse's provocations and highlights his contrasts with Shakespeare. Heralded for his mighty verse and his iconoclastic personal life, Marlowe is already valued as a sort of anti Shakes peare. Paul Whitfield White writes that is as if he is constructed "almost by design [as] a fitting contrast to the perceived orthodoxy and quiet conformity of Shakespeare" (Cunningham 3). From the end of the 20 th century on, attention to Marlowe is an ind ication of a public Ñ and critical theory itself Ñ starved for the rebel over the paragon. Some critics lament that Marlowe's biography steals the spotlight from texts and performances, but that is what will mark him as a true contender for the classroom canon . With the world tragically providing genuine gay martyrs every day, an effectively shaded portrait of Marlowe can make him both a victim and a visionary. The TV version on Will is a rough draft of such a conception. A successful biopic Ñ let's call it Kit Ñ w ould embrace the entire mythography. The movie's Kit would be a genius of poetry and a master of espionage; he would navigate Elizabethan treacheries with wit and guile, as his scholarship provoked his Cambridge dons; he would entrance a city with alarming stage provocations; he would bed both courtiers and rough trade; he would delve into the mysteries of faith and sin; he would entangle and charm other Elizabethan immortals; he would push his heresies too far; he would die violently, tragically, innocentl y, unfairly. For the movie to do the work it needs to do, i.e., to make Marlowe a factor in classroom reading selections, it would need a prestige director and attractive stars. But more importantly, the film should embody how naturally Marlowe can be empl oyed politically. Stephen Greenblatt finds that rebel nature throughout Marlowe's work:

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95 Marlowe's heroes fashion themselves not in loving submission to an absolute authority but in self conscious opposition: Tamburlaine against hierarchy, Barabas against Christianity, Faustus against God, Edward against the sanctified rites and responsibilities of kingship, marriage, and manhoodÉMarlowe [achieves identity] through a subversive identification with the alien. ( Renaissance Self Fashioning , 203 ) The movie's Kit Marlowe could stand for all those whose inner natures are repressed, who must express himself against his society's mores and values. In short, the poet as transgressor can illuminate what should be transgressed in our own time. Other factors of cours e will continue to sustain Marlowe. This richness of his work will always be under study, but credit must go as well to the ahistorical conspiracy mongers who insist Marlowe is Shakespeare. More importantly, t he legitimate undoing of Shakespeare myths is another promising path for Marlowe's future stature. Recent computer aided discoveries that Shakespeare wrote far more collaboratively with other writers Ñ Marlowe included Ñ than previously imagined are gaining momentum and may, to a degree, demystify Shakesp eare. Recognizing contemporaries' contributions within the Shakespeare canon will both elevate those names and chip away a little bit at the Bard's status as The Unparalleled Genius. In this way, Marlowe lives as a peer. It is easier, after all, for a writ er to compete with human beings rather than with gods. And if Shakespeare is a mere mortal, so are Sophocles, Ibsen, and Miller. The stages of the world are opened up to more of the mere mortals who write for them Ñ as long as, as we have seen, they stay afl oat amid the currents of fashion, scholarship, and the zeitgeist. Writers' works will always go in and out of focus, but perhaps more of them will be candidates for approval more of the time. Whether the movie Kit wins multiple Oscars or is deep sixed in pre production , it will in the end have no impact on the "Real" Marlowe, just on the Imagined Marlowe. The constructed version may be all we pretend to know of his life and persona, but what also exists are the plays and the poems. If Marlowe is not adopt ed as a gay hero, there will be other ones. If Doctor

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96 Faustus is not assigned in AP Literature, Macbeth will continue to be. But the Marlowe play will be on library shelves, anthologized alongside all the other ones. And it will reside on the internet, lin ked to Marlowe Society missives and JSTOR ruminations, waiting for another glimpse, another revival. For as the centuries have informed us, Christopher Marlowe will rise, fall, and rise again.

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97 BIBLIOGRAPHY Adler, Renata. "Faustus Sells His Soul to the D evil Again; Burton and Oxford Do the Devil's Work." The New York Times, 7 Feb 1968. https://www.nytimes.com/1968/02/07/ archives/screen faustus sells his soul again burtons and oxford do the.html . Accessed 20 February 2018. Aebischer , Pascale. "Marlowe in the Movies." Christopher Marlowe in Context , edited by Emily C. Bartels and Emma Smith. Cambridge University Press, 2013, pp. 316 324. Ahlgren, Angela K. "Christopher Marlowe's ÔUnholy Fascination': Performing Queer Edward II in the 1990s. Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism , Spring 2011, pp. 5 19. Bartels, Emily C. and Emma Smith, editors. Christopher Marlowe in Context . Cambridge University Press, 2013. Bate, Jonathan. The Genius of Shakespeare . Oxford University Press , 1998. Benedict, Kate. "Atlantic City Idyll." www.katebenedict.com. http://www.katebenedict.com/ poetry/AtlanticCityIdyll.html . Accessed 8 January 2018. Berman, Judy. "TV's Ridiculous Will and the Problem with Reframing History as Punk." Pitchfork. https://pitchfork.com/thepitch/shakespeare wasnt a punk will tnt review/. Accessed 12 December 2017. Boas, Frederick S. Marlowe and His Circle. Russell & Russell, 1924. Bolt, Rodney. History Play: The Lives and Afterlife of Christopher Marlowe . Harper Collins, 2004. Bruster, Douglas. "'Come to the Tent Again': ÔThe Passionate Shepherd,' Dramatic Rape and Lyric Time." Criticism , Vol. 33, No. 1, English Renaissance Literature (Winter 1991), pp. 49 72. Burgess, Anthony. A Dead Man in Deptfor d . Hutchinson, 1993. Burton, Richard and Nevill Coghill, directors. Dr. Faustus . Columbia Pictures, 1967. Film. Cheney, Patrick, editor. The Cambridge Companion to Christopher Marlowe . Cambridge University Press, 2004. Cheney, Patrick. "Career Rivalry and the Writing of Counter Nationhood: Ovid, Spenser, and Philomena in Marlowe's ÔThe Passionate Shepherd to His Love.' ELH , Vol. 65, No. 3 (Fall 1998), pp. 523 555. The Johns Hopkins University Press. Clark, David. "Marlowe and Queer Theory." Christop her Marlowe in Context , edited by Emily C. Bartels and Emma Smith. Cambridge University Press, 2013. pp. 233 242.

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