Monday, March 09, 2009

A new blog on the Marlovian theory is now on-line here. A recent post there attempts to prove that Francis Bacon could not be Shakespeare. It's a mess, but it's intructive. Please do visit their site, scroll down, read the post, and then read the comments. I'll be making some more comments about that post on this blog here over the next few days. For now, let me just note the small picture that has been posted in the margin of the blog, labelled "Marlowe, Our Guy". Nothing could summarise the Marlovian theory more aptly. It is pure fantasy that this can be identified as a painting of Marlowe, just as it is pure fantasy that Marlowe survived his death in 1593, (which is the essence of their hypothesis). Pure fantasy. By which I mean: completely unsupported by the merest shred of evidence. The painting is from Corpus Christi college, and dates to the years when Marlowe was in attendance there. However, there is not the slightest indication on the painting, or associated with it in any format whatsoever that tells us it is of Christopher Marlowe, or Christoper Marley as he was actually known, the scholar, spy and coin-forger (a man. let it be noted, who was never identified even once during his lifetime as a writer for the theatre). Let me repeat: there is no reason whatsoever to suggest that the painting is of Marlowe. And let me repeat that other remarkable fact: not once during his lifetime was this Marley, or Marlowe, identified as a writer connected with the theatre in any format whatsoever. But back to that painting: at least A.D.Wraight's book, which uses the image on it's cover, has the honesty to label it a "putative" portrait, but this new Marlowe blog has no such compunction. Let's not confuse the newbies. There's enough to wrap one's head around without making it too complicated, or worrying about subtleties, or fantasies. It's "our guy". Er, no it's not. It could be anyone. Maybe Marlowe, maybe just some punter. There's no way of telling. Still, whoever it is, it's a handsome portrait. The surmise that it is a portrait of Marlowe is nothing but a wish, a guess, a hope: just like the idea that Marlowe somehow faked his death. On the other hand, the Marlovians have one part of the equation correct: the same man wrote the works of both Marlowe and Shakespeare.