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Tony Grist

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Kit And Will [Jul. 26th, 2017|09:09 am]
Tony Grist
I've been looking at the case for Christopher Marlowe having faked his death and come back as Shakespeare. Verdict: unprovable but not implausible. There are no clinchers.


Marlowe and Shakespeare were the same age. Marlowe died at 29 having already established himself as playwright, poet and man about town whereas Shakespeare was a late developer, and only appeared as an author- with the Marlovian Venus and Adonis- a couple of months after Marlowe's death. The one takes up where the other finishes.

I read Marlowe's Edward II. It's has all the qualities we call Shakespearian- the poetry, the stagecraft, the ability to see all sides of a question, the mastery of pathos- and resembles Richard II to the point of making the later play seem like an imitation or riposte- but one that improves on the original- which is not something one expects a mere copyist to pull off- unless of course- it were a case of a master in competition with himself.

So either we have two great writers- of an age- with remarkably similar skill-sets- the one beginning his career just as the other cashes in his chips- or else...

[User Picture]From: pondhopper
2017-07-26 02:06 pm (UTC)
No, nothing can be proved either way but having been an avid student of Shakespeare and having presumed to teach courses in his work, Will is Will for me and nobody has held a candle to him since. This is, of course, a purely personal observation and I think that Will took notice of his contemporary's art and carried on in that vein. That said, there are baptismal records for each of them and a coroner's inquest into Kit's death by stabbing.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2017-07-26 04:22 pm (UTC)
No-one doubts that Will and Kit were separate persons. The Marlovian case is that Kit went into exile- where he carried on writing- while Will- the theatrical entrepreneur- pretended to be the author of the plays and poems he sent home.

There are good reasons for believing the reports of Kit's death were faked up. Kit was a valued government agent with good reasons for wanting to disappear. The men who were with him at the time of his death were also government agents and/or professional conmen. The coroner who presided at the inquest was an associate of Kit's employer Thomas Walsingham, and could well have been in on the fix.
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[User Picture]From: pondhopper
2017-07-26 09:08 pm (UTC)
I guess I'm not much for conspiracy theories though as old ones go, it is intriguing.
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