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Marlowe and Shakespeare

The Critical Rivalry

Authors: Sawyer, Robert

  • Focuses on the critical reception of Marlowe and Shakespeare over several centuries
  • Adds to the understanding of one of the most widely discussed rivalries in literary history
  • Examines the critical and cultural discourse of literary critics, playwrights, novelists, and directors
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Buy this book

eBook £73.50
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-349-95227-4
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover £92.00
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-349-95226-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

Instead of asserting any alleged rivalry between Marlowe and Shakespeare, Sawyer examines the literary reception of the two when the writers are placed in tandem during critical discourse or artistic production. Focusing on specific examples from the last 400 years, the study begins with Robert Greene’s comments in 1592 and ends with the post-9/11 and 7/7 era.

The study not only looks at literary critics and their assessments, but also at playwrights such as Aphra Behn, novelists such as Anthony Burgess, and late twentieth-century movie and theatre directors. The work concludes by showing how the most recent outbreak of Marlowe as Shakespeare’s ghostwriter accelerates due to a climate of conspiracy, including “belief echoes,” which presently permeate our cultural and critical discourse.

About the authors

Robert Sawyer is Professor of Literature and Language at East Tennessee State University. Author of Victorian Appropriations of Shakespeare, he is also co-editor of Shakespeare and Appropriation, and Harold Bloom’s Shakespeare. A section of Chapter 7 was awarded a Calvin Hoffman Prize in 2013.

Reviews

“More than a biography, Robert Sawyer's book gives us a sweeping history of four centuries of the critical and theatrical reception of these two intertwined geniuses, both of them products of the sixteenth-century educational and religious revolution, who shared stages, printers, publishers, and the expanding international port city of London. They are 'rivals' only in the sense that my left eye rivals my right eye: they work together to offer a stereoscopic view of the world.” (Terri Bourus, General Editor, The New Oxford Shakespeare)

“Robert Sawyer’s  Marlowe and Shakespeare: The Critical Rivalry is an original and ground-breaking work that examines not only the alleged rivalry between William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe, but also the underlying tensions and motivations among the critics and biographers who have constructed the many versions of this important relationship. Ranging widely in scope from the 1590s to the post-9/11 era, this book will be an essential work for scholars interested in Shakespeare, in his contemporaries, and in the politics and processes of literary history.” (Katherine Scheil, University of Minnesota, USA)

“Robert Sawyer breathes new life into the comparative history of the critical and theatrical reception of Marlowe and Shakespeare. His journey proceeds from the 17th to the 21th centuries, recontextualising in fascinating ways the changing relation and critical reception of both dramatists and rehabilitating bygone figures in the world of renaissance scholarship such as Caroline Spurgeon and Una Ellis-Fermor. Sawyer deftly charts the increasing interaction between literary and popular culture, and his questioning of the traditional organisation of the literary pantheon feeds into his vibrant contextualisation of the fortunes of the two dramatists as they emerge into a violently fragmenting 21st century.” (John Drakakis, University of Stirling, UK)                                                                                                                            

“If Shakespeare in Love screened the most notorious mimetic competition in theatre history as a poker match between the champion and challenger, with Marlowe and Shakespeare: The Critical Rivalry Robert Sawyer recasts the old story as a lasting literary bromance. This is a vital restoration, which asks us to view Elizabethan drama as a group portrait of collaborators, like The Night Watch. And the partners of Sawyer’s own watch march through four centuries of reception, to form a richly storied picture of an entire critical establishment. Much more than a study of the anxiety of influence, Marlowe and Shakespeare outlines a map of collective reading that stands comparison with the works of the leading sociologists of art.” (Richard Wilson, Sir Peter Hall Professor of Shakespeare Studies, Kingston University, UK)

“Robert Sawyer’s book, Marlowe and Shakespeare: The Critical Rivalry, adds substantially to our knowledge of the two dominant playwrights of the early modern stage, Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare.  Although a great deal has been written about the interaction between the two putative “rival playwrights,” this is the first study to trace the critical reception of the two playwrights and their relationship from the 16th until the 21st century, aptly demonstrating how our perspective of this association has changed over time. Moreover, Sawyer embeds this critical reception in the historical milieu of each era, persuasively illuminating how both the critical response and the topical issues of the period combined to construct our perception of both authors and their works. Critically sophisticated and historically informed, this rewarding book is a must for all lovers of Marlowe and Shakespeare.” (Sara Munson Deats, Distinguished University Professor Emerita, Department of English, University of South Florida, USA) 

Table of contents (7 chapters)

  • Introduction: “The Rivals of My Watch”

    Sawyer, Robert

    Pages 1-16

  • Locating the Earliest “Critics”

    Sawyer, Robert

    Pages 17-83

  • The Seventeenth Century: “Collaboration, Co-Authorship, and the Death of the Author(s)”

    Sawyer, Robert

    Pages 85-156

  • The Long Eighteenth Century: “Limbs Torn Asunder, Borrowing the Bones, and Identifying the Corpus”

    Sawyer, Robert

    Pages 157-211

  • The Nineteenth Century: “The Space(s) of the Critical Rivalry in London”

    Sawyer, Robert

    Pages 213-261

Buy this book

eBook £73.50
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-349-95227-4
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover £92.00
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-349-95226-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Marlowe and Shakespeare
Book Subtitle
The Critical Rivalry
Authors
Copyright
2017
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan US
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-1-349-95227-4
DOI
10.1057/978-1-349-95227-4
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-349-95226-7
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XI, 382
Number of Illustrations and Tables
4 b/w illustrations
Topics