Synopses & Reviews
One of the great playwrights of his age, second only to Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe was also a secret agent as well as the central figure in a murder mystery. Now, Park Honan offers the most thoroughly researched and detailed biography of Marlowe to appear in over fifty years.
Honan, the acclaimed biographer of Shakespeare, takes us from Marlowe's childhood in Canterbury to his mysterious death in Deptford, shedding much light on this shadowy individual. The book features new information on Marlowe's six-and-a-half years at Cambridge, his shocking blasphemy and his street fights, his methods of preparing himself for writing, and his alleged atheism. The book includes new facts about Marlowe's adventures on the continent, where he was caught with a counterfeit coin, a hanging offense, but talked his way out of the noose and was returned to England in irons. In addition, there is a more exact account of the circumstances that led to his murder, and a fresh description of his evolving relationship with Shakespeare.
Researched in archives in England, Europe, and the United States, this superb biography paints an unforgettable portrait of one of the most remarkable figures in English literature.
"No stone is left unturned.... Mr. Honan offers an almost hour-by-hour account of Marlowe's final day, an intriguing theory about the killer's motives and an inquiry into the fatal wound worthy of 'CSI.'"
--William Grimes, New York Times
"A sumptuously detailed picture of Marlowe's world.... The rich, complex vision of Elizabethan life that 'Christopher Marlowe' supplies can make his poetic gift for cutting to the passionate core of that life seem even more astonishing."
--Michael Feingold, The New York Times Book Review
"A sumptuously detailed picture of Marlowe's world.... The rich, complex vision of Elizabethan life that 'Christopher Marlowe' supplies can make his poetic gift for cutting to the passionate core of that life seem even more astonishing."--Michael Feingold, The New York Times Book Review
"The care and depth of this biography honor Marlowe's complexities.... In this well-crafted biography, Honan sheds light on the much-speculated (and previously erroneously reported) aspects of Marlowe's life without neglecting its more ordinary features (his stable two-parent upbringing, his diligent scholarship at Cambridge) or destroying the poet's aura of intrigue."--Publishers Weekly
"No stone is left unturned.... He frames the scant documentary evidence with great skill, carefully establishing the historical, religious and political context for each phase of Marlowe's career, and incorporating recent research that sheds more light on Marlowe's espionage career and murder.... Mr. Honan offers an almost hour-by-hour account of Marlowe's final day, an intriguing theory about the killer's motives and an inquiry into the fatal wound worthy of 'CSI.'"--William Grimes, New York Times
"Honan has the credentials to peer deeply into the murky bottom of Marlowe's life. An emeritus professor of English at the University of Leeds, he knows his way around literary archives. The shadowy landscape of the Elizabethan era is terra firma for Honan, who has also written a biography of Shakespeare."--Boston Globe
About the Author
is Emeritus Professor at the School of English, University of Leeds. He has written biographies of Jane Austen, Matthew Arnold, and Robert Browning. His most recent biography, Shakespeare: A Life
, was hailed as "the best available biography" (Boston Globe
) and "impressively researched" (New York Times
), and The Baltimore Sun
wrote "If you have never read a book about William Shakespeare, please read this one."
Table of Contents
I. A Canterbury Youth
2. Petty school and the parish
3. The King's School
II. Scholar and Spy
4. Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
III. With Shakespeare, Kyd, and the Ralegh Circle
6. The Tamburlaine> phenomenon
7. Doctor Faustus
8. A spy abroad
IV. Sexuality and Reckonings
9. The keen pleasures of sex
10. A little matter of murder