We would like to thank A.D. Wraight's family for granting
permission to put her books in The Marlowe Studies library.
We would also like to thank David More (Marlovian.com) for all the
photographs he took of A.D. Wraight while he was in England visiting her.
A.D. Wraight stands by the plaque that marks the location of the building where Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) was educated when attending King's School, Canterbury. With his scholarly potential acknowledged, in 1578 Marlowe entered King's School on scholarship from Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury to study music, religion, Latin and literature. Two years later he was off to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, on another scholarship to study philosophy and history.
The foundation for the Stratford Shakespeare rests upon the assumption it was he Greene was referring to as "Shake-scene" in the 1592 publication Greene's Groats-Worth of Witte. Although the term "Shake-scene" was a common epithet, along with "Shake-a-stage", most of academia must hold that Greene's "Shake-scene" was a pun on "Shakespeare" because it gives them the only "evidence" that the Stratford man was in London writing for the theaters at the time 1 King Henry VI was written. This assumption is also very important to uphold because it places Shakespeare as a dramatist before Marlowe's "death", erasing all suspicions around the first appearance of the William Shakespeare name only two weeks later, on Venus and Adonis.
A.D. Wraight's Christopher Marlowe and Edward Alleyn shakes the foundations of Shakespearean scholarship which was built around the assumption that the Stratford Shakespeare participated in the theater pre-1595. Wraight uses the evidence of Marlowe's known works and the documented evidence of Marlowe's contemporaries to make her case that
the Groatsworth reference was not of the Stratford Shakespeare, but the great actor Edward Alleyn. She uses this same evidence, coupled with twentieth century scholarship, to show that Marlowe was the chief architect of the plays academia wants to ascribe to the Stratford Shakespeare: Edward the Third and the King Henry VI trilogy.
So that we can make fair comparisons to her own theories, Wraight presents the standard arguments of the Stratford Shakespeareans at every point along the way. To see an example of this, compare her chapter Greene's Groatsworth Of Wit: The Whole Story to her chapter The Case For 'Shake-scene' Presented By The New Orthodoxy. This alone is rare in scholarship, and can be contrasted against the New Orthodoxy's continual avoidance of Marlovian theories in their work. Wraight offers pocketfuls of evidence gleaned from 16th century documents to support her hypotheses and, by contrasting her arguments against the orthodox, reveals how the traditional Shakespearean scholarship is built upon assumptions, not evidence.
Edmund Malone was the eminent Shakespearean scholar of the eighteenth century when Shakespeare began to be studied, and it is he who set much of the traditional thinking about the bard that continues today in spite of the expanded knowledge of the sixteenth century and the continual expansion of Christopher Marlowe's connection to the Sonnets and plays. Malone was the first scholar to compare the writings of Christopher Marlowe with those of Shakespeare. He suggested Marlowe was the sole author of one, and possibly all of the King Henry VI plays, along with the complete authorship of Titus Andronicus and The Troublesome Raigne of King John.
In Malone’s time the lack of literary evidence around the Stratford man had not yet congealed, Shakespeare’s debt to Marlowe’s unique talent was yet to be fully realized, and the suspicious Coroner’s Report on Marlowe’s death had not yet been discovered. A.D. Wraight's books utilize the new information available on Marlowe, sixteenth century documents, letters, writings of his friends and acquaintances to build a solid case for his authorship of the Shakespeare Works. She gives us the traditional point of view alongside her counter-arguments at each step along the way.
All of the plays Wraight argues ought to be placed into the Marlowe canon, with one exception, most scholars view as having been written by a team of writers: Edward the Third (Marlowe as chief plotter), Arden of Faversham, The First Part of the Contention betwixt the Two Famous Houses of York and Lancaster (Marlowe as chief plotter), The True Tragedy of Richard, Duke of York (Marlowe as chief plotter) and 1 King Henry VI (Marlowe as chief plotter). The reader will judge for his or her self whether or not Wraight's evidence for these additions to Marlowe's canon ought to be taken into serious consideration by academia. Should one believe Marlowe wrote these plays, a paradigm shift occurs on three counts: a reinterpretation of Marlowe's intentions in his pre-1593 plays, a reinterpretation of his character, the evaporation of the Stratford Shaksper from the literary scene before Marlowe "died".
The Marlowe Studies suggests there is an unconscious Christian imperative in academia that prevents it from interpreting Marlowe from any vantage point other than the myth that has been created around his name. The most influential aspect of this myth is that of "atheist". Certainly there is nothing unusual about the world’s greatest writer being a threat to established forms of religion in the sixteenth century, and neither is there anything unusual using the charge "heretic" or "atheist" in that century to get rid of someone who threatened the Church.
Historical truth exists as a reasonable approximation of the past. The traditional understanding of history has often proved to be mistaken because nations preserve and teach that which reflects well upon themselves. A nation would prefer its greatest writer to have no personal history than to have it revealed that he was exiled for beliefs that did not uphold that of the Church of his time.
In The Story that the Sonnets Tell, Wraight separated the Sonnets into theme groups, and while doing this discovered a theme of "exile sonnets":
Group A The Sonnets To 'Mr. W.H.' (1587-88)
Group B The Friendship Turns Sour (early 1588)
Group C First Love (1587-88)
Group D Three Sonnets By The Queen's Secret Agent (1588-89)
Group E The commissioned Sonnets (1590)
Group F Sonnets Of Exile And Anonymity (1593 onwards)
Group G Sonnets Of Vilification (after 1593)
Group H To The True Patron
Group I The Poet Identified (after 1593)
Group J The Rival Poet: Jealousy (1598)
Group K The Rival Poet: Reconciliation (1600?)
Group M Two Sonnets Of Gifts
Group N The Dark Lady (1587-1593?)
Group O L'envoy (1609?)
In her book Christopher Marlowe and Edward Alleyn A.D. Wraight has offered a strong case it was Edward Alleyn that Greene was alluding to as "Shake-scene" in his 1592 Groatsworth. While the Shakespeare establishment merely assumes Shake-scene was a pun on the Shakespeare name, she shows us how Greene's earlier allusions to Alleyn were along the same vein. It is also from Greene, and Nashe, Wraight finds the allusions that tell us Marlowe wrote Edward the Third. In the second half of her book she gives the evidence for Marlowe authoring The First Part of the Contention betwixt the Two Famous Houses of York and Lancaster, The True Tragedy of Richard, Duke of York, and that he was the chief dramatist of 1 King Henry VI.
Edward the Third marks the pivotal point for the paradigm shift in the one-dimensional interpretation of Marlowe’s character as well as his work. To believe Marlowe wrote this play, Tamburlaine and Faustus can no longer be seen as projections of Marlowe’s own ambitious desires, but characters developed with the objectivity of a young artist before his genius had developed an in-depth philosophy.
When Edward the Third is seen to be Marlowe’s, the gap shrinks between Marlowe the "rebel" and Shakespeare the "upholder of the covenants on which honor and civilization depend”; neither does this play show him to be a cold-hearted Machiavellian or an atheist in the modern day sense of the word. A freethinker surely he was, but many modern academics seem to be unaware of the Elizabethan view of an atheist as a freethinker, best described by Marlowe’s contemporary Francis Bacon in his essay “Of Atheism”, where he wrote, “all that impugn a received religion, or super-stition, are by the adverse part branded with the name of atheists.”
Read a synopsis and further commentary on Wraight's Chapter 3: "An 'Armada' History Play" from her book Christopher Marlowe and Edward Alleyn. In this chapter she presents the case for Marlowe's authorship of Edward the Third.
A.D. Wraight at work
MARLOWE BOOKS and AUTHORS
A.D. Wraight: Her Work
The Story That the Sonnets Tell
Christopher Marlowe and Edward Alleyn
In Search of Christopher Marlowe:
A Pictorial Biography (more than 300 photos that illustrate Marlowe's life)
Shakespeare: New Evidence
Was Louis Le Doux the exiled Marlowe?
Wraight Dismantles the Marlowe Myths
1. Violent: The Distorted Image
The Myth of the Bradley Duel
The Myth of Corkyn v. Marlowe
Kyd's Statements After Being Tortured
2. Homosexuality: Assumption
3. Blasphemous Atheist: Assumption
4. Baines' Note: Flimsy Credibility
Synopsis of Wraight's argument for
Marlowe's Authorship Edward the Third
Wraight on Marlowe's Authorship of
1 King Henry VI
Wraight on Marlowe's Authorship of
King Henry VI Parts 2 and 3
A New Play At The Rose
An exploration into how 1 King Henry VI was written for Henslowe's new theatre.
A.D. Wraight's Open Letter to Charles Nicholl, Author of The Reckoning, concerning the Murder of Marlowe's Reputation
The Profound Abysm of Sonnet 112
Isabel Gortazar interprets the title page of Thomas Thorpe’s edition of Shake-speares Sonnets (1609)
OUR. EVER. LIVING POET AND MR WH.
THE AUTHORSHIP DEBATE
Read the Review of Alan Nelson's
Monstrous Adversary: The Life of Edward De Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford
Isabel Gortazar's essays
Nor Oxford Either!
David Rhys Williams
Shakespeare Thy Name Is Marlowe
Who Was Kit Marlowe?
The Clue In The Shrew
Hoffman and the Authorship
The First Man Proclaims: It Was Marlowe!
Wilbur Gleason Zeigler (1895)
The Second Man Asks: "Was It Marlowe?"
Archie Webster (1923)
Marlowe's Mighty Line:
Was Marlowe Murdered at Twenty-Nine?
Benjamin Wham (1961)
If Shakespeare was a pseudonym for Marlowe
we would expect to find these traditional
Scholar's Quotes: Marlowe/Shakespeare
The play's relationship to Marlowe and dates of composition.
Marlowe's Extended Canon pre-1593
C.F. Tucker Brooke: The Marlowe Canon
Amores, translated by Marlowe
(with A.D. Wraight's comments)
The Marlowe-Shakespeare Connection
#1 Web Blog on Christopher Marlowe. Here you
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