Other Voices Other Times Conference, Bath

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Conference: Other Voices Other Times

Title of Paper: Resurrecting Marlowe

Abstract:

The Marlowe Papers (Sceptre, 2012) is the fictional autobiography of sixteenth century playwright Christopher Marlowe and is a novel written entirely in blank verse.  In this presentation I will share the processes that led to its construction over a four year period and which facilitated the development of an authentic voice for the protagonist and the creation of a believable and inhabitable Elizabethan world.The following questions will be addressed. How does one ‘become’ Marlowe and speak – in a way that seems genuine – from the perspective of a four-hundred-year-old dead man?  How does one develop a vocabulary and tone that sounds authentically Elizabethan whilst staying within the readable confines of contemporary English? What decisions were necessary to strike the right balance between authenticity and readability?  What was learnt etymologically from the process of weeding out anachronisms in the text?  What level of research is necessary?  How are gaps in historical knowledge filled for modern readers through a first person narrator to whom such detail needs no description, being the background of everyday existence?

The Marlowe Papers resurrects Marlowe in more than one sense, not only appearing to bring him back to life so that he can tell his own story, but taking the line that his apparent death in Deptford was staged in order for him to escape capital charges of atheism and heresy, fleeing to a life of exile abroad, with his subsequent writing appearing under the pen-name William Shakespeare.  How does a construction of Marlowe that didn’t die at Deptford differ from the conventional construction of one who did?  And how does one overcome the massive act of hubris that becomes apparent when you realise you must write not only as if you are Marlowe, but as if you are the author of the greatest works of literature of all time?

See othervoicesothertimes.com

Venue: Bath Spa University

Time: 11am (conference 9am – 5pm)

 

To Ask or Not To Ask?

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Why does this woman waste her time on a 400-year-old dead bloke?

The photo?  I want to draw you in against your better nature.  Even though you fundamentally disagree with where I’m coming from, or can’t for the life of you understand why I’m spending my time on this rubbish.   Because I appreciate most of my friends, and the visitors to this website, are orthodox in their Shakespeare leanings, and I entirely respect that, so rather than frighten you off with a more conventional ‘Who is Shakespeare?’  kind of image I thought I’d give you a rather arty naked lady.

But it’s interesting, isn’t it?  The whole Shakespeare authorship controversy has been hotting up over the last month.   Read more

Bring on the Doctor Doctor jokes

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I’ve been meaning to write this post ever since I passed my DPhil viva (oral examination, for those of you not familiar with academic lingo) three and a bit weeks ago.  But maybe it’s okay that it’s taken me ages to get round to it. Since I became a Proper Academic* (*there are provisos here) I’ve been in a real kick-my-shoes-off-and-do-nothing mood.  It’s a very unfamiliar feeling.  For four and a half years now, I’ve felt driven to be at that desk every day from 8am (sometimes earlier), and had to be physically dragged away from it – usually after 6pm – by family members, concerned I should eat, drink, mingle with normal human beings, remember what daylight looked like etc.

I’m exaggerating, but not much.  A writer friend of mine (who after all, knows all about obsession) calls my study “my burrow” (it is, essentially, underground – and as I’ve probably mentioned before, I work in the dark).  Several times during my PhD (I use these terms interchangeably because few people outside academia are familiar with ‘DPhil’) she tempted me out of my burrow with the offer of lunch at my favourite restaurant, only, she said, because she was worried I would otherwise start growing hair on my paws.

Read more