The Marlowe Society

Marlowe in Exile?

Marlowe in Exile?

4. New Evidence

A Marlowe/ Shakespeare Debate Page

In her more recent book, Shakespeare: New Evidence1, A.D.Wraight introduces a startling discovery, the results of her most recent research into Christopher Marlowe after 1593.

Anthony Bacon, brother of the more famous Sir Francis Bacon, was a Secret Service agent for some time on the Continent but had to return to England because of ill health. He then entered the service of the Earl of Essex, an ambitious member of the Queen's Privy Council, and introduced a Frenchman by the name of Monsieur Le Doux as an intelligence agent to Essex in 1595. This information comes from the voluminous letters of Anthony Bacon, now held in the archives of Lambeth Palace.

Wraight sets out to prove that "Le Doux" was the assumed name of Christopher Marlowe while in exile, and proposes that a letter in the Lambeth archive, signed Le Doux, is in the same handwriting of the two documents that we can safely attribute to Marlowe.2

With this letter is a list of 57 books for which payment is requested, probably from Thomas Walsingham. These books include religious texts and foreign language dictionaries, including a book on the current popular phrases and sayings in French.

Wraight asks why would a Frenchman need such a book of colloquial French phrases? That Le Doux was an Englishman is highly probable since there is no English dictionary included among the language texts in the list.

The remainder of these books are works from which the plots of most of the Shakespeare plays are taken. There are a number of history texts, several concerning Turkey and according to Wraight, Marlowe's first plays may well have been, The True History of George Scanderbeg and Tamburlaine the Great which have connections with Turkish history.

The considerable amount of material in the Anthony Bacon files in Lambeth Palace archives has not been touched for over 400 years. A team of researchers with suitable experience in historical research and language skills (many of the documents are in the French and Italian of the period) are needed to examine these documents. Who knows what further evidence on the Marlowe story will come to light?

A.D.Wraight does not intend that this new evidence should in any way diminish William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon. She believes it simply shows him in a different light. If the origin of the plays which Shakespeare brokered had been guessed, he would have been in very great danger.

She thus suggests that William Shake-speare is Christopher Marlowe's pseudonym, and his work will always be remembered under this name.

  • Note 1: A.D.Wraight, Shakespeare: New Evidence (Adam Hart Publishing, 1997). Back to Text
  • Note 2: In fact, Le Doux has subsequently been identifed by Geoffrey Caveney and Peter Farey to be the European scholar Catharinus Dulcis, aka Catherin Le Dou(l)x. Back to Text
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