The Marlowe-Shakespeare Continuum: Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Nashe, and the Authorship of Early Shakespeare and Anonymous Plays
By Donna N. Murphy
In The Marlowe-Shakespeare Continuum, 2013, Donna N. Murphy demonstrates how Christopher Marlowe, sometimes in co-authorship with humorist Thomas Nashe, appears to have “become” Shakespeare on the basis of linguistic and other evidence. She documents a sharp, upward learning curve, with the initial penning of the anonymous and Shakespeare works she examines in the following chronological order: Caesar’s Revenge, II Henry VI, The Taming of a Shrew, III Henry VI, Edward III, Titus Andronicus, Thomas of Woodstock, Romeo and Juliet, and I Henry IV, and separates certain plays into Marlowe and Nashe components. Those who read Murphy’s book with an open mind are likely to find her work surprisingly convincing.
“Beaumont & Fletcher, Gilbert & Sullivan, Rogers & Hammerstein. To these illustrious duos, Donna Murphy adds Marlowe and Nashe, the brilliant Elizabethan dramatists. In her groundbreaking book The Marlowe-Shakespeare Continuum, she shows that this tandem collaborated on various anonymous early plays and Shakespeare works. These include The Taming of a Shrew, 2 Henry VI, Romeo and Juliet, and 1 Henry IV. In her view, Marlowe voiced the noble (or ignoble) sentiments of kings and queens, villains and usurpers, and mismatched suitors and tragic lovers in works he co-authored with Nashe, while Nashe penned the comic scenes, including such cherished figures as Falstaff and Mercutio. She also finds Nashe’s acerbic wit in Doctor Faustus and The Jew of Malta, two early Marlovian masterpieces.
"Through a mountain of meticulously documented Matches, Near Matches, Rare Scattered Word Clusters, Image Clusters, and other parallels drawn from EEBO—the Early English Books Online database—as well as logic and biographical connections, she makes a compelling case. The Marlowe-Shakespeare Continuum will forever change the way we regard these two literary giants as well as the Shakespeare authorship question."
--Alex Jack, editor of Hamlet and As You Like It, and founder of www.christophermarlowe.org.
READ the first thirty pages of The Marlowe-Shakespeare Continuum.
ORDER The Marlowe-Shakespeare Continuum from Cambridge Scholars Publishing or Amazon.com.
Read the works Murphy discusses in The Marlowe-Shakespeare Continuum:
Read Christopher Marlowe's works at Peter Farey's Marlowe Page
Read Thomas Nashe's works at The Oxford Authorship site
Read Thomas Dekker's works at Luminarium
Read William Shakespeare's works at MIT
Read the anonymous plays Murphy discusses in The Marlowe-Shakespeare Continuum:
1. Caesar's Revenge. Read the play at the University of Virginia
2. The First Part of the Contention Betwixt the Two Famous Houses of York and Lancaster (early quarto version of II Henry VI). Read the play at John Baker's former website via the Wayback Machine
3. The True Tragedy of Richard Duke of York (early octavo version of III Henry VI). Read the play at John Baker's former website via the Wayback Machine
4. The Taming of a Shrew. Read the play at John Baker's former website via the Wayback Machine
5. Thomas of Woodstock. Read the play at Justin Alexander's site
6. Edward III. Read the play at Cynthia Morgan's site