Every two years, the Society awards this honor to the best new work in Marlowe studies.
The winner for 2011 is Patrick G. Cheney’s Marlowe’s Republican Authorship: Lucan, Liberty, and the Sublime (Palgrave MacMillan, 2008).
(From the jacket description): the book “is the first attempt to situate Marlowe’s iconoclastic dissidence within the context of Elizabethan republican thought. Recent studies locate Sidney, Spenser, Shakespeare, and Jonson within this context, but not Marlowe. The primary rationale for filling the gap comes from Marlowe's translation of Book 1 of Lucan’s Pharsalia, the central poem of the republican imagination. Not simply does Marlowe build the Lucanian battle between Republic and Empire into his plays, but in each he foregrounds Lucan’s achievement: out of the imperial narrative of defeated liberty, he invents a poetics of the sublime. Marlowe’s commitment to liberty and the sublime has long been understood as the apex of his achievement, but Cheney’s book is the first to contextualize both in terms of Lucan’s haunting republican poem. The book demonstrates that he is the literary pioneer of a Lucanian republican authorship in English. Like Lucan, Marlowe makes the freedom–seeking author of the sublime the imagined leader of a new republican art.”
The first prize winner for 2009 was Robert A. Logan’s Shakespeare’s Marlowe: The Influence of Christopher Marlowe on Shakespeare’s Artistry (Ashgate, 2007).
The book critiques the traditional concept of rivalry and is instead devoted to “the uncommonly powerful aesthetic bond” between the authors as “practicing dramatists and poets.” Shakespeare’s undoubted incorporation of “dramaturgical and literary devices that resulted in Marlowe’s artistic and commercial success” manifests itself in three areas of influence: a “remarkable verbal dexterity,” an “imaginative flexibility in reconfiguring standard notions of dramatic genres,” and an “astute use of ambivalence and ambiguity.”
Second prize goes to John Parker’s “Barabas and Charles I,” in Placing the Plays of Christopher Marlowe: Fresh Cultural Contexts, ed. Sara Deats and Robert A. Logan (Ashgate, 2008), 167-84.
The essay argues that The Jew of Malta was dangerously topical in Caroline England, and that it represents an attempt to use “dated material” in the form of a dramatic revival to critique what was perceived by some to be the king’s increasingly Catholic revision of the Anglican liturgy.
In 1954, Roma Gill was one of the fifteen founding undergraduate members of New Hall (now Murray Edwards College), Cambridge, the first women’s college at the university in nearly a century.
She studied under Helen Gardner at Oxford (St. Hilda’s) and then, beginning in 1963, taught at Sheffield under William Empson, where she was the only woman in the department, and became Reader in English Literature in 1979. She was best known for her general editorship of the Oxford School Shakespeare and, of course, her editions of Marlowe. She was general editor of the Oxford University Press Works (1987-98) herself editing the first volume on the poems and translations. She also published editions of Doctor Faustus (1965) and Edward II (1967), as well as a one-volume complete plays (1971).