by Peter Farey

Typing "Christopher Marlowe" into any search engine will of course produce a mass of information about him - nearly one and a half million hits on Google in fact. Whether this may also be accurately called a 'wealth' of information, however, is perhaps rather more debatable, as so much of what has been posted about him (and uncritically copied by others) is wrong. I have therefore picked out just a few sites which might be of a little more interest, and have added some of my own comments below. At the moment (although I would be very happy to discuss any claim that I am wrong!) I believe that my own biography of Marlowe is probably one of the very few currently available on-line without at least one or two fairly serious errors.

Wikipedia's coverage of Christopher Marlowe is pretty good on the whole, at least at the time of writing! Items which I have either been the main contributor for or at least make a point of keeping a particular eye on include: Calvin Hoffman, Christopher Marlowe, Coroner of the Queen's Household, Ingram Frizer, Marlovian theory, Nicholas Skeres, Richard Baines, Robert Poley, Thomas Drury, and William Danby (coroner). Although heavily slanted in favour of the orthodox view, as is to be expected, their item on the Shakespeare authorship question is as accurate and comprehensive as can be found anywhere.
The website of the U.K. Marlowe Society. This site seemed formerly to be mainly a vehicle for the promotion of the somewhat unorthodox ideas of the late A. D. ('Dolly') Wraight and of her books. Efforts were made to return to reflecting the Society's true objects, however, and away from appearing to be just a "Marlowe-was-Shakespeare" group. This is a great improvement, and for anyone with an interest in Marlowe, whether authorship-related or not, it is well worth following up. The equivalent society in the States, The Marlowe Society of America has a site which is entirely orthodox, and tends to cover news of Marlowe-related functions and publications rather than providing information about his life and works.
Dedicated almost entirely to the case for Marlowe as the author of Shakespeare's works, Carlo DiNota's blog "The Marlowe-Shakespeare Connection" is the best place on the web for new articles on the subject.
Arising mainly from an informal grouping of people who had contributed articles to the above, an 'International Marlowe-Shakespeare Society' totally committed to the 'Marlovian' authorship position was formed in 2008, and its still evolving website provides accurate information and well-reasoned argument in support of the theory.
Cynthia Morgan's "Marlowe Studies" site is rapidly becoming the best place to read copies of various Marlowe-related books online, in particular those by A.D. Wraight - such as the indispensible "In Search of Christopher Marlowe", a treasure-house of facsimiles, photographs and transcripts of documents related to Marlowe.
The Perseus Digital Library at Tufts University has all of Marlowe's works online, using the original spelling, and downloadable one scene at a time. The three volumes of Marlowe's works edited by Arthur Henry Bullen in 1885 have also been posted in various formats by the Online Library of Liberty and free e-books of the three volumes of Alexander Dyce's 1850 edition of the complete works are available from Google Books, Vol. I (the Tamburlaines and Jew of Malta), Vol. II (Faustus, Edward II, Massacre at Paris and Dido), and Vol. III (the poems).
Searching for "Christopher Marlowe" on the websites of Google Books or any of the main online book retailers will provide a fairly bewildering display of material. I pick out Bookfinder because the list it produces is probably the both most comprehensive and easily comprehensible. It might also be helpful for students in particular to know that Bookfinder's partner booksellers Bookrenter and Chegg offer books for rental too, and donate some of their proceeds to good causes.
A fairly comprehensive list of fictional books about Marlowe has been assembled by an amateur enthusiast, Elisabeth Riba, and has quite a lot of useful comments.
This is the site associated with Mike Rubbo's filmed documentary putting the case for Marlowe's survival and subsequent authorship of Shakespeare's works. Numerous interviews with people on either side of the debate.
Dave Kathman and Terry Ross's site "dedicated to the proposition that Shakespeare Wrote Shakespeare". It mainly opposes the theory that the Earl of Oxford wrote the works, but provides a good antidote for anyone harbouring doubts in this area. An essay, How We Know That Shakespeare Wrote Shakespeare is particularly helpful, there are many links for anyone interested in the authorship question, and also a very useful Biographical Dictionary compiled by Dave Kathman.
It is also possible to discuss Christopher Marlowe on the internet, of course, whether from a 'Shakespeare authorship' point of view or not. I myself contributed to the newsgroup humanities.lit.authors.shakespeare (HLAS) for several years. Unfortunately, the group has probably come to the end of its useful life, as the current contributors are no longer anywhere near as good as the earlier ones at providing interesting information, stimulating debate, and simple amusement. If you want to look at past discussions, however, on any part of the subject that interests you, simply go to, copy 'humanities.lit.authors.shakespeare' into the 'Group' box, and appropriate words in the 'find messages' area.

Peter Farey, 2009-12

back to Home Page