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The Marlowe Papers by [Barber, Ros]
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The Marlowe Papers Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Product Description


The best book I've read for a long time. Truly innovative, truly original, and a powerful poetic journey to another truth. Ros Barber has told a great story, in a fascinating way, so fascinating that she had someone like me gripped to the very end. This really is a joy to read and a true work of art. (Benjamin Zephaniah)

This terrifically accomplished and enjoyable novel/play/poem, call it what you like, restores one's faith in English fiction. (Fay Weldon)

'A rare find indeed - searing poetry meets compelling narrative in a historical tour de force that had me ripping through the pages.' (Robyn Young)

Book Description

Memoir, love letter, settling of accounts and a cry for recognition as the creator of some of the most sublime works in the English language, this is Christopher Marlowe's testament - and a tour de force by an award-winning poet: provocative, persuasive and enthralling.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1862 KB
  • Print Length: 465 pages
  • Publisher: Sceptre (24 May 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008071FH2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #266,460 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
When I heard that someone was going to write a blank verse novel about the master of tragedy and blank verse I was initially less than enthused.

Then I read that Ros Barber the author and notable poet in her own right had won the Hoffman Prize for an essay based around this idea. Now I was becoming intrigued

She was inpired by Jonathan Bate's idea in Much Ado about something that the Marlowe story would make a good novel. Barber is a Marlovian, a group who believe that not only did Marlowe not die in a knife fight in a tavern or was it a boarding house in Deptford as supposed but went on to write the works of Shakespeare. Unlike other authorship candidates Marlowe's influence on Shakespeare is widely acknowledged particularly among early Shakespearean scholarship.

Ten days before Marlowe had been arrested in connection with the 'Dutch Church' libel, (an inflammatory poem signed in the name of Marlowe's most famous character Tamburlaine) and summoned to appear before the Privy Council. He was released. His writing partner Thomas Kyd, apparently innocent in the matter, was also arrested and tortured.

Around the same time the Bane complaint appeared, charging Marlowe with atheism, reading an atheist lecture, proselytising atheism, and making numerous gibes against the Bible, and particularly claiming he had as much right to coin as the Queen of England.

A year earlier Marlowe and Bane, both spies, were arrested in Flushing Holland on charges of counterfeiting. Bane initiated the charge against Marlowe. Marlowe was deported with Bane to England to Lord Burghley and Marlowe was released without charge. Now Bane reappears with a vengeance. Is he a spy with a personal grudge, or is someone pulling his strings?
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I find it difficult to find books that I like. Maybe I'm particularly fussy or peculiar, but the important point is there are so many books shrieking for attention and barely half a dozen of them are in the same league as The Marlowe Papers. I buy it in every way that this phrase implies. For me its a poetic delight, a tour de force that explores the creative psyche and I love it. Its such a pleasure to read slowly, taking in all the pleasure of words and thoughts at a rhythm that connects with understanding. I can't be doing with all the worrisome reviews about correctness. Its art and that's it for me. Well done Ros.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I thought this was a really interesting idea; a 'novel (if that's even the right word!) written entirely in Blank Verse. Obviously the subject matter was also one that interested me.

The book apparently formed part of Barber's PhD and her central theory is the one that playwright and intelligencer Christopher Marlowe did not in fact die in Deptford as supposed. Subsidiary to this is the idea that William Shakespeare was just a front man for a whole host of plays written by an exiled Marlowe. Despite appearing in a production of Doctor Faustus as a teenager, I will admit that I am not terribly au fait with the details of Marlowe's life but having read Barber's work and the notes at the back, I can see there is some mileage in the idea of him having not actually died as reported; certainly there appears something fishy going on. I'm less convinced by the idea that someone else 'must' have written Shakespeare's plays. If Marlowe could be successful as the son of a Kentish Cobbler, why can't we believe the same of the son of a Stratford glover? Be that as it may, that is the stance Barber has chosen to take and I can accept what she gives me for the purpose of her 'entertainment' of 'what might have happened'.

As to the book itself, it's about 400 pages long and I think it took about 100 of those before I felt I was really getting into it. I'm not sure if it was adjusting to the style of the work (I read some plays in Blank Verse, but I'm not a great poetry lover) or if the early section was more chronologically disjointed and more tricky to get into the swing of the action? I am glad I persevered though, as I did end up enjoying it.
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Format: Paperback
What a fantastic idea! What a great structure!
Before I use too many exclamation marks, I'll calm down.

Have you ever tried a book that wasn't written in prose? It's a nervy prospect - will there by rhymes? Do you need to sing it? Will it make sense?

Just a page or two into The Marlowe Papers and you end up feeling that the style is quite natural while still being a little different. It suits the subject.

And the subject is Christopher Marlowe. Not being a historian I knew only a little about Marlowe - that he was a contemporary of Shakespeare, was quite well-travelled as a spy (allegedly), and died in a tavern brawl. (And none of this from Shakespeare in Love, but A-Level English and Edward II). This book fills in the story, and embellishes it by asking - what if his death was faked, and it was MARLOWE who wrote Shakespeare's plays?...

It is as compelling a read as any thriller. The period detail is brilliant, I could picture the scenes, the man, Tudor London.

And I must confess, it does make you wonder - what if it were true?!

It's very well done, a lovely blank verse style that is by no means hard to read. Made me research Marlowe's history a little more after I'd finished.

Really quite beautiful at times, and a superb book for a group, plenty of material to get your teeth into. I hope being on the Women's Prize longlist brings it a larger readership.
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