Christopher Marlowe Additional Biography

Biography

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Christopher Marlowe was born in Canterbury, England, in February, 1564. His father was a respected member of the tanners’ and shoemakers’ guild. Marlowe attended the King’s School of Canterbury in 1579 and 1580 and in 1581 began study at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. He was the recipient of a scholarship funded by Matthew Parker, archbishop of Canterbury. As a foundation scholar, Marlowe was expected to prepare for a post in the Church. In 1584, he took his bachelor of arts degree, after which he continued to hold his scholarship while studying for his master of arts degree. It appears that he would not have been granted his degree in 1587 except for the intervention of the queen’s Privy Council. This body declared that Marlowe had done the government some service—probably as a spy in Reims, home of exiled English Catholics—and ordered that he be granted his M.A. at the “next commencement.” Marlowe had no doubt been writing poetry while at Cambridge, and he probably decided to make his way in this profession in London. It is certain that he was there in 1589, because he was a resident of Newgate Prison during that year. He and a man named Thomas Watson were jailed for having murdered another man, although it appears that Watson actually did the killing. Three years later, in 1592, Marlowe was again in trouble with the law, being placed under a peace bond by two London constables. Clearly, the young writer and scholar did not move in the best of...

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Biography

(British and Irish Poetry, Revised Edition)

Biographical interest in Christopher Marlowe has been keen and perhaps too often controversial. Public records are relatively numerous, considering that he was a sixteenth century Englishman who died before he was thirty years old. His baptism, progress through school and university to the M.A. degree, and the details of his death are documented. Contemporary references to Marlowe and his works are likewise plentiful. The variety of interpretation placed upon this evidence, however, is truly astonishing. What is quite clear is that Marlowe was born into a relatively affluent family of tradesmen in Canterbury. His father was in the shoe trade, possibly as a shoemaker, possibly as an employer of shoemakers. In any case, in January, 1579, Marlowe entered King’s School, an institution operating just beyond Canterbury Cathedral. In December, 1580, he enrolled in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, on a scholarship. In 1584, Marlowe graduated with a B.A. degree but continued his studies, still on scholarship. Marlowe’s attendance was, at least occasionally, irregular, and he was engaged from time to time upon some sort of secret work for the government, the nature of which remains unclear despite much speculation. It involved travel on the Continent; it may have involved spying at home or abroad. When, in 1587, the university determined to withhold the M.A. degree from Marlowe, the Privy Council intervened in the name of the queen and insisted that Marlowe’s services to the Crown were sufficient grounds for granting the degree.

Upon leaving Cambridge, Marlowe immediately immersed himself in the political and intellectual life of London, on one hand, in the aristocratic circles of Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Thomas Walsingham, and...

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Biography

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Christopher Marlowe was born in Canterbury, England, on February 6, 1564, the eldest son of a shoemaker. He was baptized exactly two months before William Shakespeare was baptized at Stratford—a significant detail, as Marlowe exercised an enormous influence on Shakespeare and is generally believed to be the rival poet of Shakespeare’s sonnets.

As a pupil at the King’s School, Canterbury, Marlowe was elected a “Queen’s scholar.” He entered Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, in 1580 and was again awarded a scholarship. In 1584, he earned his B.A. degree and entered into graduate study of divinity in preparation for taking holy orders. Just before Marlowe was to receive his M.A., the university proposed to...

(The entire section is 887 words.)

Biography

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Christopher Marlowe was a brilliant innovator and an intellectual nonconformist, with much to tell and much to question about power, desire, sensuality, greed, and suffering. His poetic images, vast in scale and cosmic in conception, as well as his larger-than-life characters of grand aspirations and prodigious sensual appetites, inspired critic Harry Levin to dub Marlowe “the overreacher.” No better word could be chosen to characterize the magnificence, the vehemence, and the violent egotism that give his genius such an intensely personal stamp.

Biography

(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

The English playwright Christopher Marlowe was born at Canterbury on February 6, 1564, and was murdered at Deptford, outside London, on May 30, 1593. Marlowe was educated at King’s School, Canterbury, and at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (he received his B.A. in 1584 and his M.A. in 1587), where he attended on a scholarship usually awarded to students studying for the ministry. Instead of taking orders, however, he turned to writing plays and, apparently, to political intrigue: He received his master’s degree only after the Privy Council intervened on his behalf for good service he had done the queen. The nature of Marlowe’s involvement in state affairs remains the matter of much speculation. His first plays and poems,...

(The entire section is 1101 words.)

Biography

(Poetry for Students)

Many scholars believe that had Christopher Marlowe lived longer, he might have become a greater dramatist than William Shakespeare. Marlowe...

(The entire section is 512 words.)

Biography

(Drama for Students)

Born in Canterbury, England on February 6, 1564, Marlowe was the son of a shoemaker. He attended King’s School in Canterbury and was...

(The entire section is 423 words.)

Biography

(Drama for Students)

Born in 1564, the same year as fellow playwright William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe's great dramatic achievements appeared on London's...

(The entire section is 451 words.)

Biography

(Drama for Students)

Born in the same year as William Shakespeare, 1564, Christopher Marlowe was the son of an affluent shoemaker in Canterbury. Like Shakespeare,...

(The entire section is 496 words.)

Biography

(Drama for Students)

Many scholars believe that had Christopher Marlowe lived longer, he might have become a greater dramatist than William Shakespeare. Marlowe...

(The entire section is 504 words.)