Marlowe and the Popular Tradition: Innovation in the English Drama Before 1595

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Manchester University Press, 2002 - Drama - 246 pages
Rejecting the traditional stereotypes of Marlowe (spy, troublemaker, homosexual, atheist, university wit) this study considers him as a popular dramatist who inherited an audience with certain expectations and shared experiences. It explores his engagement with the traditions of the popular stage in the 1580s and early 1590s and offers a new approach to his major plays in terms of staging and audience response. This account of English drama in these important but largely neglected years challenges the narratives of change in late 16th century. It Discusses Marlowe's plays in relation to some 30 other playtexts, earlier and contemporary, including Shakespeare's early plays. Marlowe emerges not so much as a precursor of Shakespeare but as an innovator and catalyst of change, the playwright who exploited and transformed the traditional materials of popular drama.

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About the author (2002)

Ruth Lunney is Lecturer in Enabling Programs at the University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.

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