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Christopher Marlowe: A Renaissance Life (New)
by Kuriyama, Constance Brown
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Book ID: 9780801476884, 0801476887
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"Christopher Marlowe: A Renaissance Life is unlike any biography of Marlowe that I know. It is an indispensable sourcebook as well as a biography. Constance Brown Kuriyama's authoritative book includes documents that have never been reprinted before. --Maurice Charney, Rutgers University
"It is not easy to write a temperate biography of a young man reputed to be 'intemperate & of cruel hart,' but Constance Brown Kuriyama does just that. With cool reason and fresh research, she throws water onto the conspiratorial fire that today surrounds Marlowe's life and death, and in the process she makes a splash of her own. The Marlowe she constructs is a more complex and humane historical figure than the one we have inherited. At the center of her narrative is the shift that occurred late in Marlowe's life, a shift reflected in the diminution of his tragic heroes: recognizing that it was impossible to be the superman he had put on the stage, he became resentful, angry, and finally explosive." --Patrick Cheney, author of Marlowe's Counterfeit Profession: Ovid, Spenser, Counter-Nationhood
Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) emerges in most accounts of his life by biographers and critics as a mysterious and sensational action figure, a hapless pawn of circumstance, or a pseudonymous cipher. Constance Brown Kuriyama's new biography reconstructs the eventful life of a radically innovative playwright who flourished briefly and died violently more than four hundred years ago, yet persists in the romantic imagination even today. Many discoveries about Marlowe's life have emerged over the past hundred years. The author here supplements these findings with new material, placing the dramatist and poet more precisely in his historical milieu. Kuriyama interprets Marlowe's acts of violence -- inexplicable though they may seem -- as logical consequences of the circumstances he faced. Experience and temperament both accounted for the characteristically brash way he moved through the world. The stringent constraints of Elizabethan society, which encouraged intense political and religious conflicts, had a great influence on Marlowe's thinking, while his ambitions were stirred by the period's unprecedented opportunities for talented individuals to rise in society. The documentary evidence assembled by Kuriyama -- and made available to readers -- allows her to show how Marlowe was able to take advantage of Elizabethan social mobility. In the context of Elizabethan education, society, and culture, Marlowe becomes a fully human, three-dimensional figure.
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