9:00-10:00 Blackfriars Theatre
Keynote: “Christopher Marlowe, in his Playhouse
S. P. Cerasano, Colgate University
Session chair, Roslyn Knutson, University of Arkansas, Little Rock

The address focuses on the connections between Marlowe and the Henslowe-Alleyn network in biography, theater, and business.

10:30-11:45 Blackfriars Playhouse, Mary Baldwin College
Casting The Jew of Malta: From Text to Performance on Stage and in Film
Session Chair: Paul Menzer, Mary Baldwin College

Ann M. Basso, University of South Florida

Robin Bates, Lynchburg College

Ben Curns, American Shakespeare Center

Douglas Morse, the New School, director of Jew of Malta film

1:00-2:15 Hunt Gallery, Mary Baldwin College
Marlowe’s Others
Session Chair: Bob Hornback, Oglethorpe University

Jared Johnson, Thiel College
“Every ones price is written on his backe”: The Spectacle of the Slave Market in Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta

When the officers of Christopher Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta herded captive slaves upon the stage of the Rose Theater in 1592, most English audiences would have witnessed the enactment of a marketplace they had not yet encountered. Though the play’s staging of the slave market constituted the exception rather than the rule for dramatic representations of marketplaces, Marlowe’s vision of a Maltese commercial setting in which human lives are bought and sold squares firmly with English attitudes toward commerce at this time. While stage representations of commodity markets in general reflect the complexity of ongoing debates about the place of commerce in early modern society, the depiction of the slave market in this play reveals deeply felt anxieties engendered by England’s ongoing transition to a commercial economy. Marlowe’s play presents a world in which the market determines not only the price of goods but also that of humanity.

Historically speaking, The Jew of Malta attests to the growing awareness of the capture and enslavement of prisoners in the Mediterranean as well as the Iberian slaving activities in the New World. Holding the slave trade at a safe distance, Marlowe taps into Renaissance fears associated with markets and merchants in his characterization of the play’s major slave dealers: the Spanish vice-admiral, Martin Del Bosco, the Christian governor of Malta, Ferneze, and, of course, the play’s title character, Barabas, a Jewish trader. Through these characters, Marlowe mocks early modern business concepts of credit, trust, and honor by associating the merchants of the tragedy with the slave trade, thus debasing their reputations as honest dealers. Through the play’s depiction of the slave market, The Jew of Malta gives voice to English concerns about the ability of commercial markets to determine value. Marlowe’s play imagines the power of commerce as a seductive force seeking to ensnare and enslave the early modern world in a state of economic bondage.

Carolyn F. Scott, National Cheng Kung University
The Marginalization of Edward II: Christopher Marlowe and the Boundaries of Identity

The paradox of Edward II in Marlowe’s play of the same name is that although he is protagonist and king, he also undergoes a series of movements from the center to the margins of both his play and his society. These movements force him to negotiate within himself and with others to construct his identity. Physicist Shirley Jackson in Scientific American describes a particle called a polaron, which is “any kind of charged particle that distorts the structure that it is moving through.” Edward functions as a polaron, distorting the world around him and drawing others into the same cycle. Gaveston and Lightborn experience similar movements between the center and the margins. The three characters participate in what Jackson refers to as “intersecting vulnerabilities,” wherein their strengths and weaknesses feed off of each other. The tension created by the movement between their subject and object positions and the crossing of the boundaries placed around them leads to a marginalization that becomes a source of identity and power even as it contributes to their destruction. An examination of these characters will lead to a clearer understanding of Marlowe’s own struggles with the boundaries of identity

Adriana Streifer, University of Virginia
“These are the blessings promised to the Jews”: Material Goods and Universal “Jewishness” in The Jew of Malta

“These are the blessings promised to the Jews, / And herein was old Abram’s happiness,” says Barabas, as he luxuriates amongst his material possessions (1.1.104-105). In designating as God’s blessings “these” worldly goods, Barabas discards the genetic restrictions of God’s covenant with the Jews in favor of wealth as the primary criterion for Jewishness. Barabas’ redefinition of Abraham’s blessing de-particularizes it, potentially including under the umbrella of Jewishness anyone who has as many material possessions or values them as much as he does. Why does The Jew of Malta contest the prevailing assumption of intrinsic Jewish difference? And why does the play pose that challenge in terms of the Jews’ relationship to both religion and material goods? One contemporary work, Nicolas de Nicolay’s The Navigations into Turkie (1585), claims that “the shops and warehouses the best furnished of all riche sortes of merchandises, which are in Constantinople are those of the Iewes.” Just as the Jews in Nicolay’s report conduct the same business as many others in Constantinople, but to a striking, more productive effect, Marlowe’s contemporaries not only accepted that Jews differed fundamentally from them, but that Jewish difference was distinct from other kinds of difference.

I suggest that one of the chief impulses of The Jew of Malta is to reassess the presumption of Jewish particularity, especially within the context of Mediterranean commerce. Whereas the Christian rulers of Malta believe that Jewish difference inheres in both commercial and religious practices—thus Ferneze opts to tax Malta’s Jews “like infidels”(1.2.62)—Barabas consistently demonstrates that his practices and the Christians’ are identical, and that Christian theology itself depends upon forms of commercial exchange. In short, Barabas functions as a hypocrisy detector. Through him, The Jew of Malta creates a definition of Jewishness which is based upon Christian stereotypes of Jews as materialists and literalists, but which, in reality, is almost universally applicable throughout Malta.

I argue that The Jew of Malta aligns Jews with the tendencies both to concretize spiritual meanings and to add a spiritual dimension to material goods in order to expose the fundamentally economic logic of religion. In doing so, the play critiques the belief that the worlds of religion and money are distinct and unrelated, and corrects the prevalent attitude that Christians are (or that they even could be) morally superior when operating in an international commercial milieu. Overall, I believe that Jews, whom early modern authors and critics alike so often study because of their racial, ethnic, and religious differences, should be read, at least within The Jew of Malta, as factors of similarity and homogenization.

1:00-2:15 Miller Chapel, Mary Baldwin College
Session Chair: M. L. Stapleton, Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne

Andrew Bozio, University of Michigan
The Ecology of Remembrance: Memory, Place, and Affect in Marlowe’s Dido

Shortly after his arrival upon the Carthaginian shore, Marlowe’s Aeneas hesitates to name himself, claiming that the loss of his home has bereft him of identification: “Sometimes I was a Trojan, mighty Queen. / But Troy is not, what shall I say I am?” From this initial suggestion of a relationship between place and personhood, Dido evolves into a complex meditation on the imbrication of embodiment and environment. Reading the play through the framework of cognitive ecology, I argue that Aeneas experiences memory as a profoundly spatial phenomenon. His remembrance of the fallen city of Troy subtly mirrors the arts of memory in using specific architectural features to navigate the ruined landscape. But whereas this indebtedness to the ars memorativa might imply a degree of mastery on Aeneas’s part, his brief hallucination of Priam before the walls of Carthage shows that, even in the absence of volition, Aeneas’s memory is driven by a tendency towards extension and spatialization. Locating these moments within the wider context of Marlowe’s play, I argue that the deeply parodic tone of Dido empties Aeneas’s ecological memory of significance. Diminishing the importance of the remembered Troy, the play disrupts the memorial connection between the city that Aeneas has lost and the imperial center that he intends to found, also figured as “Troy” throughout the play. And through Iarbus’s brief allusion to Elizabeth, Dido extends this parodic denunciation of the ecology of remembrance to London, mocking the place of its first performance for figuring itself as Troynovant, or “New Troy.” Placing Aeneas’s memory in this way, I demonstrate the importance of location and embodied cognition for understanding what may be Marlowe’s earliest play.

Alexandra Ferretti, University of Alabama
Aeneas’ Regressive Sense of Place in Dido, Queen of Carthage

When Aeneas arrives at Carthage’s gates in Act Two, Scene One of Dido, Queen of Carthage, he envisions the places of Carthage as the lost places of Troy: “Methinks that town there should be Troy, yon Ida’s hill, / There Xanthus’ stream” (2.1.7-8). When Dido asks for his name, Aeneas is at a loss; without Troy, he cannot even identify himself: “Sometime I was a Trojan, mighty Queen, / But Troy is not. What shall I say I am?” (75-76). Projecting Troy onto Carthage, and conceiving his identity in terms of Troy, Aeneas remains in his homeland.

Later in the play, Aeneas moves from projecting Trojan places onto Carthaginian places to actually planning how to create Troy from Carthage: “Here will Aeneas build a statelier Troy / Than that which grim Atrides overthrew” (5.1.2-3). Yet, just as earlier he was unsure of his identity without Troy, now he cannot decide the name of his new city. Ilioneus inquires, “But what shall it be called? ‘Troy,’as before?” (5.1.18). Deciding to name it after his father—“Nay, I will have it called ‘Anchisaeon,’ / Of my old father’s name” (22-23)—he nominally places it in his past life in Troy, even if he doesn’t name the city Troy. Although Carthage may exist as a city, Aeneas, still trapped in Troy, cannot view it independently or objectively.

Following philosopher J.E. Malpas’ argument that place produces an individual’s subjectivity and objectivity, this paper will explore how Marlowe and Nashe’s Aeneas views physical places within Carthage through the places of Troy and how his roots in Troy define his identity. Instead of presenting Carthage as the locus of Aeneas’ relationship with Dido, Marlowe and Nashe depict an Aeneas who is less of a conqueror, or even a lover, and more a man who remains trapped in the past and a past place.

While an epic Aeneas would think ahead to his future role as founder of Italy, the dramatic Aeneas remains regressively in the lost places of Troy for most of the play’s action. As the subjunctive of his question, “Where am I now? These should be Carthage walls” (2.1.1), suggests, he cannot view Carthage objectively without thinking of his past home.

Tony Tambasco, University of Delaware Resident Ensemble Players
Uncovering the Poetic Genius of Dido, Queen of Carthage

Critics have long regarded Christopher Marlowe’s Dido, Queen of Carthage as a crude satire of Vergil’s Aeneid on the one hand, and a banal stage adaptation of it on the other; in their formulations, Marlowe attempts to subvert Aeneas as hero of his story, and Vergil as poet laureate of the early modern academy. These critics, however, generally fail to account for two vital considerations: the first, that Marlowe, in adapting the material to a different medium, substitutes the dramatic story telling conventions of the early modern stage for the conventions of epic verse that Vergil wrote for. These same scholars also generally fail to account for the Aeneid’s incompleteness, and Vergil’s sometime ambiguous treatment of his eponymous hero. If modern audiences are ever to appreciate the full range of dramatic possibilities, from tragic to comic, within Dido, Queen of Carthage, scholars and practitioners alike must learn to be better readers of both Marlowe’s play and his source material.

In this paper, I will examine the development of critical attitudes in recent scholarship towards Dido, Queen of Carthage, and will show that most scholars who find Marlowe’s Aeneas a faulted hero have ignored either the performative possibilities afforded by early modern stagecraft, corresponding moments in Vergil’s epic where Aeneas falls somewhat short of the heroic ideals of Augustan Rome, or both, as is often the case. By reading Marlowe’s play in the context of other vernacular adaptations of the Aeneid from the medieval period through the Renaissance, I will show that Marlowe was participating in a well-established program of adaptation that both honors and re-appropriates the work of Vergil. By reading Dido, Queen of Carthage as the early work of an emerging playwright trying both to honor his source material, and adapt it to a radically different form, I propose that the play is worthy of more serious approaches than recent scholarship would suggest.

2:30-3:45 Hunt Gallery, Mary Baldwin College
Marlowe’s Contemporary Contexts
Session Chair: Sarah K. Scott, Mount St. Mary’s University

Helen Hull, Queens University of Charlotte
Taking Office for Granted in Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II

Criticism of Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II has often noted Marlowe’s exploration of the division—and collision—of public and private spheres in the play. Edward II’s personal attachment to Gaveston impedes his ability to govern the realm, according to the barons, and the peers attempt to enforce a separation of the two (never mind their own—or at least, Mortimer’s—personal motives for undermining Edward II’s position). This paper will provide another context for this concern with the monarch’s rule—the early modern discourse of civic officeholding. Prose tracts and manuals for officeholders, such as William Lambard’s Eirenarcha, a manual explaining the duties of the Justice of the Peace, began to circulate frequently in the sixteenth century; these tracts employ various rhetorical strategies to legitimize the officeholders and to construct the officeholders’ roles in the polity. In clarifying the officium or duty of the officeholder as he negotiated the expectations of crown and subject, a new position of authority was being inscribed in the officeholders of the commonwealth.

In Edward II, Marlowe’s political players take office for granted. But in doing so, they point to the very importance of holding office itself. Marlowe develops his source material to depict a monarch who takes the titles and offices of the realm as his personal property, to be dispensed with as he wishes. But it’s not just Edward II who claims prerogative over the subject’s offices; Queen Isabella and Mortimer simply assume that the Mayor of Bristol will carry out what he knows to be their wishes. Documents of office, with their authorizing signatures, are represented as the products of bullying and bribery. Signifiers of the authority of office, such as the Great Seal, are also freely dispensed and claimed. The characters’ abuse of the prerogatives of office calls attention to those very prerogatives and their importance in the polity. Indeed, Marlowe even constructs the monarch’s position or role itself as an office, one with attending duties and responsibilities. Ultimately, dramatic representations of such aspects of office were central to early modern reconceptualizing of political authority and conceptualizing of political representation.

Abigail Montgomery, Blue Ridge Community College
Tamburlaine Queen of Scots: Marlowe’s Quasi-Alchemical Celebration of Elizabeth I’s Most Dangerous Victim

Lisa Hopkins has recently identified “an interest in the question of the succession to the English crown” as a present and major concern in the plays of Christopher Marlowe; her article goes on to note various known and speculated connections Marlowe held to espionage at the Scottish court. This emphasis turns particular attention toward the Tamburlaine plays. Tamburlaine The Great, Part I debuted on English stages within a year of Mary Stuart’s execution, and several key moments in the Tamburlaine plays suggest a link between Tamburlaine and Mary. Politically and personally, Tamburlaine becomes a successful Mary, an outsider by birth and faith who acquires more and more empires, establishes an effective dynastic marriage, and wins every major battle he fights.

Marlowe offers evidence for this reading from the play’s earliest moments. In the first scene, Meander’s description of Tamburlaine as “rob[bing] your merchants of Persepolis / Trading by land unto the Western Isles” (1.1.37-38), echoes one of Mary’s styles, “queen of Scotland and the Isles.” The audience member or reader who bears this link in mind throughout the play will find other intriguing resonances that would have let English audiences entertain a decidedly counter-patriotic vision of the recently executed Queen of Scots. Tamburlaine’s successive conquering of Persia, Africa, and Turkey recalls Mary’s insistence on presenting herself as Queen of Scotland, France, and England, yet his power grows with each step while Mary’s dwindled at every major juncture.His apparently happy and mutually politically beneficial union with Zenocrate makes a stark contrast to Mary’s young widowhood in France and catastrophic attempt at another dynastic marriage, to Darnley. Tamburlaine-the-invader’s mocking-laden imprisonment of Bajazeth recalls and neatly inverts Elizabeth I’s long imprisonment of Mary-the-invader on her own soil. Tamburlaine’s use of white, then red, then black clothing, tents, and livery to indicate his increasing implacability on campaign in Egypt disrupts the traditional, purifying alchemical progression from black to white to red—he becomes less pure and merciful as he becomes more successful and powerful. Act 4’s focus on these colors also recalls Mary’s famous pre-execution discarding of a dark cloak to reveal defiantly Catholic red clothing beneath.

In Tamburlaine The Great, Part I, Marlowe invites his audience—including Catholics and their sympathizers, anyone who had ever favored Mary’s claim to the English throne, anyone frustrated with Elizabeth, anyone concerned with the still unsettled succession to ask “What if history had gone the other way?” about Mary Stuart. What if any of her attempts to press her claim to the English throne had been successful? What if she had been the imprisoner, not the imprisoned? What if her marriage to Darnley, instead of ending in disaster, had solidified and advanced her claim to England’s throne? Tamburlaine would have allowed audiences to consider these and other subversive questions from a safe double remove, Tamburlaine being both a play and a fictionalized history of a man from another continent. The ever-daring, ever-controversial Marlowe, likely aware of the highest-level machinations of the whole Mary-Elizabeth affair, creates a foreign hero whose adventures in many ways parallel Mary’s. While Mary was born a queen and ended her days the powerless prisoner of England’s own queen, Tamburlaine begins as an upstart and ends his first play bestriding the world. Marlowe’s insertion of a Mary-like-figure into this history creates a space for his audience to ask—at least imaginatively—every subversive question they might ever have had about Elizabeth, the monarchy, and the succession.

Bethany Packard, Transylvania University
Playing Prisoner’s Base in Marlowe’s Edward II

When Sir John of Hainualt intervenes in Act IV of Marlowe’s Edward II to offer Isabella and Mortimer refuge and assistance, he briefly refers to the popular early modern game prisoner’s base. He seems to figure King Edward as a player on a losing team and then asks young Prince Edward what he thinks: “We will find comfort, money, men and friends / Ere long, to bid the English king a base. / How say, young prince? What think you of the match?” (IV.ii.65-67). The prince enthusiastically backs his father, which creates some confusion and embarrassment among those whose ostensible aim is to make him king. These lines may serve to belittle father and son and to depict them as game playing innocents lacking authority. However, I argue that Sir John’s pronoun, “we,” makes all of the characters players. Instead of using prisoner’s base as a means of separation, Marlowe blurs the boundaries between the game and political and military maneuvers, between the game and the drama. Some plot events echo rules of prisoner’s base, and these connections enable my use of this game as a lens for reading the paradoxical character of Prince Edward. Both game and drama construct conditions that enable contingency. In prisoner’s base players are simultaneously chasing an opponent and being chased themselves. The players’ roles in the game can change in an instant, just as the prince swiftly transitions from political puppet to king holding Mortimer’s severed head. The future Edward III’s contradictory, sometimes naive, sometimes precocious behavior reflects the contingencies of prisoner’s base. Further, approaching Prince Edward and the end of the play in terms of the game helps to underscore the extent to which Edward II’s transgressive rule alters the social fabric of Marlowe’s England.

Marlowe’s Astrology
Rachel Wifall, St. Peter’s University

While Ben Jonson famously teased in Shakespeare’s First Folio that Shakespeare had “small Latine, and lesse Greeke,” the auto-didact Jonson prided himself on his own deep learning, which is obvious in his extensive use of allusion in his dramatic works. In a similar vein, Christopher Marlowe often displayed his Cambridge education in his plays, as he touched upon various intellectual debates of his day. While Shakespeare makes reference to the concept of astrological influence in broad terms (as with the “star-cross’d” Romeo and Juliet), and Ben Jonson humorously depicts London astrologers and frauds and rogues, Marlowe takes a more detailed and intellectual approach to the subjects of astronomy and astrology—the scientific and the mystical—in plays such as 1 Tamburlaine the Great and Doctor Faustus. This paper will examine the extent of Marlowe’s apparent knowledge of both fields, the definitions of which were in transition and hotly debated in his day.

2:30-3:45 Miller Chapel, Mary Baldwin College
Religious Representations
Session Chair: Jeanne McCarthy, Georgia Gwinnett College

Hayley Coble, University of Minnesota
Diplomatic Rhetoric and the King of Reason: Marlowe’s Navarre and Neo-Stoicism

My presentation will examine Christopher Marlowe’s character Navarre in The Massacre at Paris as a Neo-Stoic king; though Navarre is often dismissed as weak and uninteresting, current scholarship does not fully explore why he is perceived as such and whether Marlowe’s characterization was intentional. While Marlowe penned The Massacre at Paris, the religious wars raged in France, where the rhetoric of Neo-Stoicism provided a way for Protestants and Catholics to transcend sectarian disagreements. Neo-Stoic rhetoric emphasized rationality and the providence of God as opposed to the emotionally charged rhetoric of religious zealotry that resulted in events like the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. As scholars have observed, Navarre’s actions and speeches in the play are not particularly heroic. Paul H. Kocher calls Navarre “Marlowe’s worst failure in the entire play,” and claims that he “has no character,” probably due to Navarre’s plain speeches and continual deference to God’s will. If Navarre’s seemingly poor characterization is considered purposeful, however, alternative readings of his unadorned rhetoric manifest, particularly in terms of contemporary political discourse and Neo-Stoicism. Through analysis of Navarre’s speeches, I will show that Marlowe chose to make his hero rhetorically bland in order to reinforce the popular perception of the historical Henri IV of France (formerly Henri de Navarre) as a King of Reason.

With Henri IV increasingly leaning towards conversion to Catholicism as a means of uniting his war-torn country, Neo-Stoicism provided a diplomatic rhetoric grounded in reason that allowed England to maintain an alliance with their neighbors on the continent. England could not let good relations with France falter in the face of enemies like Spain. Neo-Stoic philosophies trickled down from the diplomatic correspondence of monarchs to the streets of London, where everyone from noblemen to commoners read in news pamphlets of the heroic deeds of the King of Reason in France as he sought to win his country to the Protestant cause. Though Navarre’s character in The Massacre at Paris is not emotionally riveting, his unadorned speech and calm assurance of God’s support are in congruence with the actions and political portrayal of his real-life counterpart in contemporary propaganda. The speeches that best represent Navarre’s Neo-Stoicism, while not pretty, are effective, but the king weakens significantly when he slips into highly emotional rhetoric. By including both aspects of Navarre’s nature, Marlowe addresses the fear of the English people concerning Henri IV’s likely conversion while never openly criticizing the king who had become a Protestant icon even in England. With the necessity for a shared diplomatic philosophy between England and France increasing, Marlowe’s promotion of Neo-Stoic rhetoric in the play suggests a focus on reason as the best foreign policy in the current crisis.

James Macdonald, Yale University
Calvinist Theology and “Country Divinity” in Doctor Faustus

This paper examines the devils of Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, a play that maps a disputed religious boundary between diabolic temptation and human sin. John Calvin made a significant break with even Protestant predecessors by positing a devil who tempted the elect and reprobate alike but lacked any coercive power, since his autonomy was wholly circumscribed by divine permission. In Elizabethan popular belief, however, independent diabolic agency was often blamed for bodily diseases, destructive weather, or other apparently unmotivated evils in the material world, a perspective mockingly termed “countrie divinitie” by Calvinist divines. There was, of course, no absolute contradiction between these alternative perspectives, but estimates of human sinfulness and diabolic power would seem to be inversely correlated; that is, the greater the depravity of human nature, the less instrumental the devil must seem in fomenting evil, and vice versa. Following Fredric Jameson’s insight that “religious figures become the symbolic space in which the collectivity thinks itself,” I argue that Faustus’s interactions with Mephistophiles and the low-comedy subplots which run in parallel with his damnation evoke but refuse to resolve these divergent views of the devil’s power.

The paper begins by exploring the different viewpoints emerging in the 1604 A-text. Faustus himself expresses ideas about the devil that seems bewildering and incoherent, but this essay shows that it is Calvinist concurrentism, in which divine, diabolic and human wills are simultaneously implicated in the commission of action, that lends consistency to Faustus’s own experience of diabolic temptation. Thus far the argument has some affinity with the viewpoint of Leah Marcus, who identifies “militant Protestantism” as the hallmark of the A-text’s religious orientation. But where Marcus draws a contrast between the A-text and “less committedly Calvinist, more theologically conservative and ceremonial milieu” of the 1616 B-text, this paper argues that the misadventures of Robin and Rafe present theological hybridity within the A-text itself. By contrasting the Calvinist presentation of the devil as a mental tempter in Faustus’s interactions with Mephistophilis with a “popular” conception of him as a physical tormenter which characterize the low-comedy subplots, the A-text instantiates diverging views of diabolic agency. This ambiguity, in turn, evokes fear and uncertainty by obscuring the nature of the diabolic threat to Faustus, to the lower-class characters and even to the audience itself—and several recorded stories of unexpected appearances by the devil during performances of the play are a powerful testimony to the success of this effort. Finally, the paper concludes by examining the B-text not as an ideological counterpoint to the A-text, but as a pragmatic response to the challenge of containing the original’s destabilizing hybridity: as Rowley and Bird, Marlowe’s apparent revisers, worked to deploy a heightened spectacle of Protestant triumphalism, they were forced to grapple with the challenge of presenting Faustus winning victories over Rome without implying that the devil is allied to or favors the Protestant cause.

Christina Romanelli, UNC Greensboro
Medieval Marlowe: Faustus and the Harrowing of Hell

Christopher Marlowe’s characters are infamously over-reaching, as Harry Levin terms it, a theme that fits in well with the values of renaissance humanism’s focus on learning and self-improvement; however, attending to the earlier traditions on which Marlowe draws reveals previously unexamined connections to pre-reformation beliefs. For example, in a turning point in Doctor Faustus, Lucifer tells Faustus, “Christ cannot save thy soul, for he is just, There’s none but I have int’rest in the same.” That Faustus cannot be saved is not surprising given the affiliation with the Calvinist doctrine of predestination, but that Christ is just in forsaking Faustus’s soul does not seem to have a referent in the Protestant theology often drawn upon in most interpretations of the late sixteenth-century play. Lucifer makes a similar claim in a literary work written two centuries prior to Marlowe’s tragedy: William Langland’s Piers Plowman—an allegorical poem still circulating in England throughout the sixteenth century. “If he reve me my righte he robbeth me by maistrye,” Lucifer says, and then a few lines later, he emphasizes, “I leve that lawe nil naughte lete hym the leest.” Lucifer believes that Christ follows previously agreed upon laws that provide the devil with rights, and Faustus’s behavior indicates he shares these beliefs. In Langland’s text, Lucifer is mistaken; Christ easily destroys the gates to hell, releasing the souls contained therein. Perhaps this is why Faustus holds out hope for so long that Christ may save his soul as well? The triangular relationship between Christ and Faustus and Lucifer that exists by the end of Marlowe’s tragedy may be best explained in the context of this Harrowing of Hell. As Heather Anne Hirschfeld has recently argued, Faustus “fashions himself as the conqueror of hell.” Hirschfeld argues that the demonology in Doctor Faustus draws upon the sixteenth-century debate about Christ’s descent into hell after the Crucifixion, and this paper extends her argument by reading Faustus’s trafficking with demons as part of a medieval literary and ritual tradition of garnering agency through the emulation of Christ.

Scholars of Doctor Faustus have recently debated the theological issues at stake in Marlowe’s depiction of demonology and hell as they respond to Protestant theology, but this fails to account for the legal power Faustus wields during the play. Reading Faustus’s interactions with Mephistopheles and Lucifer through the lens of the medieval doctrine of the Harrowing of Hell shows that Faustus’s agency and power over demons arises from the emulation of Christ. By entering into legal agreements with demonic powers, continually testing the boundaries of those agreements, and finally asking for a temporal determination for his damnation, Faustus invokes the power of Christ to nullify the devil’s right to sinners’ souls. Examining Langland’s text beside Marlowe’s gives us the opportunity to see continuity between pre-reformation ideology and renaissance humanism that seems to have been overlooked in scholarship of this play.

4:00-5:15 Hunt Gallery, Mary Baldwin College
Influential Marlowe
Session Chair: Lucy Munro, Keele University

David McInnis, University of Melbourne
“No son of Fortune, but her slave”: Dekker’s Old Fortunatus and the Influence of Marlowe

The German legend of Fortunatus—the Cypriot whose pact with Lady Fortune supplies him with an inexhaustible purse, and whose theft of a magical wishing cap from an Eastern Sultan provides him with instantaneous transportation—was popular on the London stage of the 1590s. Appearing in Henslowe’s diary without the enigmatic “ne” marker in the spring season of 1596, a lost play or two-part play drawn from the volksbuch probably existed as early as 1594. In 1599, Dekker was paid for a new play on the subject, Old Fortunatus, which was played at Richmond that Christmas, and which enjoyed a healthy afterlife on the Continent. The supernatural bargain, the morality play inheritance and the magical transportation in Dekker’s play have encouraged critics to draw comparisons between Fortunatus and Faustus as “fortunate” men. Sidney R. Homan, Jr. has attempted to establish that “Faustus is a source for Old Fortunatus” and to show the “strong morality influence in Dekker’s play,” and Martin Wiggins has based his attribution of the lost “1 Fortunatus” play to Greene on the assumption that Greene frequently imitated Marlowe and that a lost Fortunatus play would have echoed Faustus. Although there is evidence to support the association between the two legends in the early modern popular imagination, is this the sufficient to infer Marlovian influence? This paper assesses the relationship between Marlowe’s Faustus and the Fortunatus plays of the Admiral’s repertory.

Bronwyn Johnston, Keble College, Oxford
The Legacy of Mephistopheles: Marlowe’s Magical Influence on The Late Lancashire Witches

This paper explores the influence of Doctor Faustus on other early modern English devil dramas, focussing on the ways in which magic is used and the restrictions that govern this magic. In Faustus the workings of Mephistopheles’s spirit magic are exposed and carefully explained to the audience; Mephistopheles’s power and skill, like those of humans, must operate within the laws of nature, a means to an end, not the end itself. This brand of magic is distinct from the more fantastic magic of other plays such as Old Fortunatus or The Old Wives Tale, grounded in a greater degree of realism than its marvelous counterparts. The pneumatological assumptions of Doctor Faustus are apparent in the devil dramas that followed including The Merry Devil of Edmonton, If This Be Not a Good Play the Devil is In It, The Witch of Edmonton and even A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

This paper will compare the magic of Mephistopheles with the staged witchcraft in Heywood and Brome’s The Late Lancashire Witches. While at first glance the two plays seem a world apart—the first a tragedy about an unsuccessful magician from the early 1590s, the latter a rollicking comedy from the 1630s about four very powerful women—the magic itself is surprisingly similar. The magic in each play is governed by the same limitations and used for the same purposes. Both feature the summoning of food from great distances, transformations into animals, social disruption caused by invisible spirits, and copulation with a devil. In each play a devil is called upon to assist in public humiliation, summon up demonic spirits for the amusement or horror of onlookers, and to harass those characters who exhibit scathing skepticism about the existence of magic. Despite its markedly different tone, subject matter, and reception, Heywood and Brome’s play is undeniably Mephistophelean.

Jesse David Sharpe, University of Bridgeport, Connecticut
“O, spare me, Lucifer”: The Horror of Irresistible Grace in Marlowe and Herbert

Though there is little direct evidence of Christopher Marlowe’s influence on the poetry of George Herbert, there is without question evidence that both writers were influenced by Calvinism. As we know, there was not really any aspect of Early Modern Britain that was not touched by the fundamental shift in the understanding of believers’ relationship to God. Whether or not an individual believed in predestination or became a Protestant, there was no escaping the theological concept’s movement through society, and so it is no wonder that writers would take advantage of this in their creative endeavours. This paper looks at how two very different writers used the concept of predestination in their writings; however, not in the regular fashion of endorsing or refuting the belief, rather they use some of the darker implications of predestination as a means to explore the tragedy of realising just what forced devotion may be in a religion of irresistible grace.

While this paper will make no claims regarding the personal beliefs of Marlowe and Herbert, it will explore the darker representations of Calvinism in Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus and Herbert’s “Affliction (I).” Though these works enact public performance and personal devotion, they show the anxiety that existed in the horror of being unable to save oneself or being able to damn oneself. For as the audience sees the terror that exists in Faustus wanting to cry out for his “Christ,” but only being able to yell “O, spare me, Lucifer,” so too the devout would be deeply troubled by Herbert’s realisation that irresistible grace could force him to love God against his will and his declaration to God “Let me not love thee, if I love thee not.” It is within these instances, as well as others, that the influence of the doctrine of predestination can be seen touching quite diverse and chronologically separate works of literature, and also shows its potentially tragic and terrifying implications.

5:30–7:30 Hunt West Dining Hall
Hosted by the Shakespeare and Performance program, Mary Baldwin College

NOTE: The American Shakespeare Center will be offering Romeo and Juliet at the Blackfriars Playhouse at 7.30 p.m. MSA members are entitled to a 20% discount. Click here for tickets.