The objects of The Marlowe Society are to:
- present Christopher Marlowe in his true light as a great poet and playwright, the innovator of blank verse drama;
- encourage the performance of his plays;
- discuss and study Elizabethan and Jacobean literature with particular attention to Marlowe’s place in it;
- publish historically valid information about him based on research.
The Marlowe Society is a registered charity whose objects are to provide, develop and encourage the advancement of education for the public benefit in the field of Elizabethan literature, and that of Christopher Marlowe in particular.
The Shakespeare Authorship Debate
The Marlowe Society is NOT devoted to proving that Marlowe was the true author of the Shakespeare canon. It is devoted to promoting the generally accepted works of Marlowe as the founder of English drama and the perfecter of dramatic blank verse. Without Marlowe as guide and leader, Shakespeare and the other Elizabethan poets and dramatists would not have achieved the reputation they enjoy today.
There are, however, serious doubts about the record of Marlowe’s death at Deptford in 1593, doubts recognised by the question-mark in the Marlowe memorial window unveiled in Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey on 11 July 2002.
Because so little is known of William Shakespeare’s life that corresponds with the personality of the playwright and sonneteer, there have been reputable scholars in all ages who have doubted that William Shakespeare could have written the works that carry his name. To recognise this “Shakespeare problem” and see Marlowe as the most convincing solution to it, is no bar to membership of the Marlowe Society. It does add to the interest of Marlowe, and it has brought more members to the Society. However, even without this added interest Marlowe deserves to be more widely known and performed. It is to his life and works that The Marlowe Society, and this site, are dedicated. Do join the Society and make your contribution.
As to the Marlowe/Shakespeare debate: the Society is pleased to consider contributions (on either side of the argument) for these web pages, or for the pages of the Marlowe Society Newsletter, or the Research Journal, provided what they have to say is rational and based on fact, not on a hyperactive imagination. (To avoid ambiguity, contributions to the debate in these web pages are sub-headed “A Marlowe/Shakespeare Debate Page”.) Meanwhile, until somebody wins the Hoffman Prize by convincing the world that Marlowe was indeed Shakespeare, the Society’s objects are to promote the works of Marlowe that are generally accepted as his today.