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History Play: The Lives and Afterlife of Christopher Marlowe

by

History Play: The Lives and Afterlife of Christopher Marlowe Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Rodney Bolts delightful life of Marlowe plays out a surprising solution to an enduring literary mystery, bringing the spirit of Shakespeare alive as weve never seen it before.

 

Rodney Bolts book is not an attempt to prove that, rather than dying at 29 in a tavern brawl, Christopher Marlowe staged his own death, fled to Europe, and went on to write the work attributed to Shakespeare. Instead, it takes that as the starting point for a playful and brilliantly written “fake biography” of Marlowe, which turns out to be a life of the Bard as well. Using real historical sources (as well as the occasional red herring) plus a generous dose of speculation, Bolt paints a rich and rollicking picture of Elizabethan life. As we accompany Marlowe into the halls of academia, the society of the popular English players traveling Europe, and the dangerous underworld of Elizabethan espionage, a fascinating and almost plausible life story emerges, along with a startlingly fresh look at the plays and poetry we know as Shakespeares. Tapping into centuries of speculation about the man behind the work, about whom so few facts are known for sure, Rodney Bolt slyly winds the lives of two beloved playwrights into one.

Rodney Bolt was born in South Africa and read English at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge—Marlowe's alma mater. After working in the 1980s as a writer and director in theater in London, he moved to Amsterdam, where he now lives. He is also a travel writer, and has won national travel-writing prizes from Germany and the United States.
Without trying to prove it, Rodney Bolt's biography of Shakespeare assumes that, rather than dying at twenty-nine in a tavern brawl, Christopher Marlowe staged his own death, fled to Europe, and went on to write the work attributed to Shakespeare. This is the starting point for a fictional biography of Marlowe, which turns out to be a life of the Bard as well.
 
Using real historical sources plus some speculation, Bolt paints a picture of Elizabethan life. As we accompany Marlowe into the halls of academia, the society of the popular English players traveling Europe, and the dangerous underworld of Elizabethan espionage, a life story emerges, along with a fresh look at the plays and poetry we know as Shakespeare's. Tapping into centuries of speculation about the man behind the work, about whom so few facts are known for sure, Rodney Bolt winds the lives of two beloved playwrights into one.
"With gobsmacking audacity, Bolt recreates an alternative life of Marlowe that compellingly views the known facts from a different angle."—The Independent (UK)
 
"A triumph . . . It is both a serious remit and [has] enough puns and anagrams to make Shakespeare (or possibly Marlowe) blush. It made me laugh out loud. And, most of all, it made me want to go back to the plays. This was a book that needed to be done perfectly or not at all. It is perfect."—The Spectator (UK)
 
"History Play's richly and meticulously researched portrait of the 16th and 17th centuries is written with a keen sense of Elizabethan metaphor and contemporary analogy."—The Times Literary Supplement
 
"A grand entertainment for literary sleuths."—Kirkus Reviews
 
"[A] bold and wickedly fun new fictional biography. Make no mistake, this is not another standard anti-Stratfordian tract attempting to settle the authorship debate. Although he (mostly) sticks to the facts, Bolt freely admits he's making this up. His point is that by doing so, he's not behaving very differently from countless 'legitimate' biographers who, faced with the dearth of available details concerning Marlowe's and Shakespeare's lives, have not hesitated to fill their books with idle speculation . . . [An] audacious and entertaining work."—William D. Walsh, Library Journal

Book News Annotation:

Bolt offers a wildly alternative version of the life of Christopher Marlowe. Based on real historical sources plus a generous dose of speculation, his narrative assumes that, rather than dying at 29 in a tavern brawl, Marlowe faked his own death, fled to Europe, and went on to write the work attributed to William Shakespeare. In so doing, Bolt paints a vivid and humorous picture of Elizabethan life and weaves the biographies of two famous playwrights into one. Bolt is a travel writer who has also worked as a theater director in London.
Annotation 2005 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

Rodney Bolts delightful life of Marlowe plays out a surprising solution to an enduring literary mystery, bringing the spirit of Shakespeare alive as weve never seen it before.

Rodney Bolts book is not an attempt to prove that, rather than dying at 29 in a tavern brawl, Christopher Marlowe staged his own death, fled to Europe, and went on to write the work attributed to Shakespeare. Instead, it takes that as the starting point for a playful and brilliantly written “fake biography” of Marlowe, which turns out to be a life of the Bard as well. Using real historical sources (as well as the occasional red herring) plus a generous dose of speculation, Bolt paints a rich and rollicking picture of Elizabethan life. As we accompany Marlowe into the halls of academia, the society of the popular English players traveling Europe, and the dangerous underworld of Elizabethan espionage, a fascinating and almost plausible life story emerges, along with a startlingly fresh look at the plays and poetry we know as Shakespeares. Tapping into centuries of speculation about the man behind the work, about whom so few facts are known for sure, Rodney Bolt slyly winds the lives of two beloved playwrights into one.

About the Author

Rodney Bolt was born in South Africa and read English at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge—Marlowes alma mater. After working in the 1980s as a writer and director in theater in London, he moved to Amsterdam, where he now lives. He is also a travel writer, and has won national travel-writing prizes from Germany and the United States.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781596910201
Subtitle:
The Lives and Afterlife of Christopher Marlowe
Author:
Bolt, Rodney
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Drama
Subject:
English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Subject:
Europe - Western
Subject:
Early modern, 1500-1700
Subject:
Dramatists, English
Subject:
Dramatists, English -- Early modern, 1500-1700.
Subject:
Marlowe, Christopher
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20050906
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.13 in

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Drama » Plays

History Play: The Lives and Afterlife of Christopher Marlowe Used Hardcover
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Product details 400 pages Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - English 9781596910201 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Rodney Bolts delightful life of Marlowe plays out a surprising solution to an enduring literary mystery, bringing the spirit of Shakespeare alive as weve never seen it before.

Rodney Bolts book is not an attempt to prove that, rather than dying at 29 in a tavern brawl, Christopher Marlowe staged his own death, fled to Europe, and went on to write the work attributed to Shakespeare. Instead, it takes that as the starting point for a playful and brilliantly written “fake biography” of Marlowe, which turns out to be a life of the Bard as well. Using real historical sources (as well as the occasional red herring) plus a generous dose of speculation, Bolt paints a rich and rollicking picture of Elizabethan life. As we accompany Marlowe into the halls of academia, the society of the popular English players traveling Europe, and the dangerous underworld of Elizabethan espionage, a fascinating and almost plausible life story emerges, along with a startlingly fresh look at the plays and poetry we know as Shakespeares. Tapping into centuries of speculation about the man behind the work, about whom so few facts are known for sure, Rodney Bolt slyly winds the lives of two beloved playwrights into one.

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