Sunday, March 27, 2016

If you arrived at the WTF Shakespeare blog after clicking (or one of its sublinks), it was because traffic to the Marlovian domain has been redirected to this address while the Marlowe Lives! website gets a long-needed redesign and update.

During this process the domain could be redirected elsewhere temporarily. Possibly the Marlowe Society (England) or the Marlowe Society of America would be interested in a permanent redirect since the term "Marlovian" does not necessarily equate him with Shakespeare. Either way, this blog will continue to grow— along with Marlowe-Shakespeare studies around the globe.

Friday, March 25, 2016


It has been a long-held belief among Shakespeare authorship doubters that Audrey, the character in As You Like It, is a symbol for Audience. Quoting Oxfordian Alex McNeil, who writes: “The very name Audrey is significant. Although, as a proper name, its derivation is Anglo-Saxon, Shakespeare may be suggesting a connection to the Latin verb audire—to hear—from which the familiar words “audience,” “audit,” and “auditory” are derived. Shakespeare’s dramatic words were written, of course, but they were written to be heard by an audience."

Some Marlovians concur with McNeil's belief, including Wraight. But as McNeill points out the two words come from different roots. Audrey is actually a form of the name Ethelred or Ethel. Although some critics are awed (so to speak) by the sound of the word, there is no need to ignore or dismiss an obvious biographical connection: the name of the wife of the author's best friend to whom a recent continuation of his masterpiece, Hero and Leander, had been recently dedicated!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Watson's heir

Among the archived essays in the Marlowe-Shakespeare Connection blog is an article by Ros Barber, an excerpt from her Ph.D. dissertation on Marlowe in fact and fiction. The essay concerns the well-known lines in the margin of a book by William Covell, Polimanteia (1595).

All praise
Sweet Shak-

The meaning of 'Marlovian'

Sure it's kinda catchy and only one word, but not as accurate, because technically "Marlovian" is a critical term referring to Christopher Marlowe's art in general. As in "the protagonist is a typical Marlovian over-reacher" or "Marlovian wordplay." But back in 1993 when the Marlowe Lives! PR campaign was launched (to commemorate the 400th anniversary of his alleged murder) the phrase seemed an apt name for the newsletter. As a result, the term has come to mean "one who believes that Christopher Marlowe wrote the plays attributed to Williams Shakespeare," but a more accurate term for that would be a "Marlowe-Shakespearean" not as catchy, but clearer.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Shakspere vs. Shakespeare

The long ago quote about the plays of Shakespeare not being written "by Shakespeare, but by another man of the same name" gives a chuckle to Stratfordian loyalists—and to appreciators of ironic bon mots—but substitute the actual spelling of the actor William's surname—Shakspere— and the remark's amusing absurdity vanishes. "The plays of Shake-speare were not written by Shakspere" (but by a writer in need of a good pseudonym).

If the actor had actually written the plays, someone would have mentioned it when he died in Stratford in 1616—or during his lifetime. But no one did.  It wasn't until the 1623 Collected Plays that the two entities (Shakspere and the Shakespeare Plays) were deliberately conflated.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Pseudonym? Or pseudo man?

Which came first ... the Shakespeare name or the Shakspere man? Do any Marlowe-Shakespeareans (still) believe that a genius like their hero would choose an uneducated person like William Shakspere to pretend to be the author of the dedicatory prefaces he penned to the Earl of Southampton to launch Venus and Adonis and Rape of Lucrece his two epyllia in 1593 and '94? Clearly there was no need for a fake person at that time, especially considering that the addressee of the Dedications, a fellow Cambridge M.A., Henry Wriothesley knew Marley and his situation. But even if he didn't, would Stratford Shakspere be the man to present those mini-epic masterpieces? No, he wouldn't.

Meres on Shakespeare
There was no need for a theatrical front until later in the decade in 1598, when it became clear that Shakespeare-the-pseudonymous-poet would write plays for the Chamberlain's Men. This didn't fall in place immediately; theatrical companies were reorganized. But the first Shakespeare plays in print were pseudonymously printed. Romeo and Juliet, Richard III, Merchant of Venice, etc. No need for a front until 1598, with the publication of Francis Meres' famous list of Shakespeare plays, and the first printing of a "Shakespeare" play: Loves Labours Lost by "W. Shakespere." This is also the time William got a 1/10th share of ticket sales along with several other shareholders.

It seems likely that William was invited to join the acting company because of his ambition, but more importantly because of his surname. However, it is possible that he was already part of the company as far back as 1594. Either way, Shakspere had nothing to do with the dead poet choosing his homophonic pseudonym—Will Shake-Speare—the best possible name he could have chosen.

There's a longer essay on this topic by Cynthia Morgan in The Marlowe Studies.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Frizer or Freezer? Poley or Pooly?

The estimable scholar and biographer Charles Nicholl in public discussion about Marlowe with Ros Barber can't decide how to pronounce the names of two of the people with Marlowe on his final day (the story goes). After all these years of studying the case of Marlowe's murder, Charles still hasn't settled on how to say the names. Even Ros follows suit after awhile. It's Nicholl's style, attention to details. But are such repeated pronunciation quibbles a rhetorical choice intended to reflect Charles' balanced assessments of more weighty evidence? I believe so. The clips are out of context, but you get the idea.

The Case of the Murdered Bard

My local library is sponsoring a 4th Annual "Battle of the Bards" Poetry Contest for poems up to 50 lines. I submitted two excerpts from The Marliad (my verse essay-in-progress). One is a 50-line summary of my solution to the case of the murdered bard. The shorter of the two submissions is reprinted here. Wish me luck, a $75 Visa card goes to the winner. It's not the Hoffman Prize, but still.  © 2016 David A More.

The Bard Canard

False History chronicles the Shakespeare story:
An actor writing plays for cash, not glory;
And Marlowe murdered in a “tavern brawl”
About a bill for food and alcohol.
The murderer received a royal pardon;
And England got its own exiled bard.
But Christopher's good name got slandered hard:
They said, at death, he cursed the name of God!
Aye! The bad ink that our hero got
Inspired sheets of plays without a blot:
Great Tragedies and Comedies with plots
About fake death, exile, reconciliation—

And History plays that praise the English nation,
Renowned today by world-wide acclamation.
Revealing Marley's re-invented self,
You'll find them on the “William Shakespeare” shelf.

© 2016 David A More

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Not THAT Cheney, Not THAT Republican

Marlowe was a Republican says Prof. Patrick Cheney, in his book Marlowe's Republican Authorship: Lucan, Liberty and the Sublime, in which he presents evidence that "Marlowe is the pioneer author in the literary writing of English republicanism," inspired and schooled by the Roman example, especially Lucan. Of course, his republicanism continues to be expressed in the Shakespeare plays as well, as Prof. Hadfield documents in his book, Shakespeare and Republicanism. A PDF chapter of his book is available from Cambridge University Press. ... Another example of "Shakespeare" following in the footsteps of his great progenitor.

Monday, March 7, 2016

John Baker's Home Razed; Home Page Rises

As some of you may know, I was instrumental in getting John Baker on the internet in 1995 while visiting his home in Centralia, Washington. I came up with the "School of Thought Emporium" as a humorous working title, but John being John, he ran with it and added to the website for many years, until personal problems forced him to relinquish the server space. 

Anyway, through the miracle of the Internet Archives Wayback Machine, I was able to retrieve the entire site, without many photos unfortunately, but the bulk of John's idiosyncratic body of work remains as it was originally posted.  The site is a bit of a mess by 2016 standards, but those problems can be cleaned up.

I mentioned personal problems in the first paragraph. John has had a very difficult time in recent years, losing his home and his business among other things.
Although I've made sporadic attempts to locate him I haven't been able to track him down. A couple of years ago I drove to his home in Centralia (with my son Chris in tow) and found the house abandoned.
Since that time, it's been torn down. I've been trying to reach him through a mutual contact on Facebook without success so far.

The last time I spoke to John I told him of an idea I had for publishing a small collection of his best essays with the title Baker's Dozen: 13 Essays on Marlowe and Shakespeare. To that end I'm posting John's entire website to the Marlovian website for your perusal. (If you find any essays particularly worthwhile or particularly worthless, please let me know in comment. I'll be digging into them myself as time permits.)

A Marlowe blog by any other name

With the recent closing of the Marlowe-Shakespeare Connection blog it seems timely to revive the original Marlovian blog (the web's #2 (dormant) blog about Christopher Marlowe). However, since Blogger won't update the template to something more up-to-date, I've created a new blog with a better look and kick-ass name. WTF, right?! The WTF Shakespeare blog will post notes and essays by myself and others on Marlowe and Marlovians in the news.