8:00-10:00 Registration
Cutaia Lounge—Upstairs, Blackfriars Playhouse

9:00-10:00 Welcome
Paul Menzer, Mary Baldwin College; President, Marlowe Society of America
Ralph Alan Cohen, Mary Baldwin College; Director of Mission,
American Shakespeare Center

10:00-11:15 Hunt Gallery, Mary Baldwin College
Rethinking Marlowe in Print
Session Chair: Matt Davies, Mary Baldwin College

Claire M. L. Bourne, University of Pennsylvania
Making a Scene; or, Tamburlaine the Great in Print

This paper takes Polonius’ cryptic reference to “scene individible” in his exhaustive catalogue of dramatic genres as a starting point. I use playbook typography to track changes in English dramatic form across the sixteenth century, showing first how stationers used pieces of symbolic type (paraphs, fleurons, and manicules) to register on the page the formal means by which the early Tudor morality plays succeeded in “organizing theatrical experience,” to borrow a phrase from Ruth Lunney. By tracing the features of dramatic mise-en-page that divided plays into parts, we can see a shift from plays organized around units of speech to plays organized around units of action. I suggest that this shift from a dialogic conception of drama to an episodic one paved the way for Christopher Marlowe to appropriate the unit of action to great theatrical effect in the Tamburlaine plays. After all, contemporary accounts of experiencing the Tamburlaine plays in performance accord with modern critical impressions that the plays were constructed as a “sequence”; “series; “succession”; “procession”; and “progression” of discrete units. In fact, it seems that Marlowe used the cleared stage to circumscribe units of action with more frequency and regularity than any playwright before him. The scene divisions in Richard Jones’s octavo edition of Tamburlaine (1590), which are misnumbered, have led editors to treat them as signs of Jones’s negligence. Instead, I put the octavo’s scene divisions in the context of the earlier typographic methods for dividing plays in order to suggest that Jones purposefully deployed scene divisions to help readers register one of the plays’ defining qualities in the theater—its success in compressing a series of discrete scenes from Tamburlaine’s expansive military campaign into the limited time and space of performance. For Marlowe, it seems to have been through a scene dividible that Tamburlaine’s relentless pursuit of power could actually be dramatized. I argue that Jones’s attention to scene divisions in the octavo was designed to retain and emphasize this cumulative effect.

Richard Dutton, Ohio State University
The Publication of The Jew of Malta

The much-belated (1633) publication of The Jew of Malta has long been discussed in relation to the quality of the text it reproduces and whether all of it is by Marlowe. Only recently have critics begun to examine it as a cultural event in its own, Caroline, context. Farmer and Lesser have located it within a 1630s wave of newly published or republished “classics,” and Lesser alone has related it to the particular publishing practices of Nicholas Vavasour. Similarly Lucy Munro has discussed the play’s revival in the context of Marlowe’s fluctuating 17th century reputation, and John Parker has related it to Caroline politics. I want to add to this a consideration of the role of Thomas Heywood, who wrote prologues and epilogues for both the 1632 Cockpit and court performances of the play, which were printed in Vavasour’s text. To all appearances Heywood virtually severed his connections with the theatre after Queen Anne’s Men folded in 1619. Only one play, The Captives (1624), can confidently be assigned to him between then and the 1631, when both parts of The Fair Maid of the West are published—part one apparently late Elizabethan, part two Caroline—both fresh from production at court. In 1632 both parts of The Iron Age were published for the first time, having first been performed c. 1612-13. These two volumes shared a dedicatee: the Second Part of the Fair Maid of the West and the First Part of the Iron Age were dedicated to one Thomas Hammon. And so was The Jew of Malta. Which suggests that Heywood had more to do with the publication than simply supply the paratexts. The paper explores this in the context of Heywood’s continuing attempts to write himself into the pantheon of newly canonized Elizabethan “classics.”

Tara L. Lyons, University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth
Rewriting a History of the English Play Collection: Serials, Part-Plays, and Tamburlaine

After the overwhelming success of Christopher Marlowe’s two-part Tamburlaine (performed 1587-1588), serial plays became all the rage in London theaters. The number of prequels, sequels, and spinoffs during the 1590s and early 1600s—Nicholas Grene estimates that there were over forty-one part-plays in performance before 1616—confirms that theater companies were keen to reproduce plots, reintroduce characters, or compose a whole sequence to keep audiences coming back for more. The strategy of marketing a play based on its serial relationship to another, however, was not limited to the stage. Publishers in the London book trade found some playbooks amenable to sale in small two-play collections or serial sets. For instance, in 1590, when London stationer Richard Jones published Tamburlaine, he joined the playbook with its sequel and sold the pair in a single octavo edition. While enticing readers with a sequel and prequel in one volume was not a new innovation in English dramatic publishing, Tamburlaine 1 and 2 (1590) was unique, for it was the first edition to unify commercial plays—and thus the first collection of professional drama printed in England.

By positioning Marlowe’s Tamburlaine 1 and 2 as a pivotal moment in a history of the English play collection, my paper departs from current critical models that prioritize authorial collected editions like the Jonson (1616) and Shakespeare (1623) Folios. While these authorial volumes are commonly figured as the first to compile plays from the professional stage, they are not representative of the forms of collection nor the wide variety of principles that guided the accumulation of plays in the period. Indeed, my paper asks, what would a history of the English play collection look like if it focused not on these multi-text folios but on two-play octavos, emphasized not authorship as unifying principle but seriality, and began not in 1616 but in 1590?

Kirk Melnikoff, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Doctor Faustus at the Great North Door of St. Pauls (1601-1604)

My contribution to this panel will revisit the early print history of Doctor Faustus. Specifically, it will correlate the first quarto’s publication with the early seventeenth-century activities of the publishing house at “the great north doore of Paules,” a shop run by the stationers Thomas Bushell and Geoffrey Charlton. Bushell had apprenticed with the bookseller Nicholas Ling between 1591 and 1599, and he published The tragicall history of D. Faustus in 1604, three years after he first entered the playtext in the Stationers Register in 1601. For five years after 1599, Bushell participated energetically in what was a burgeoning print market for satirical writing, financing a number of quartos like Micro-cynicon. Sixe snarling satyres; Weevers Epigrammes in the oldest cut, and newest fashion; and Pasquils mad-cap. Charlton apprenticed with the draper bookseller Thomas Wight until he was admitted a freeman of the Stationer’s Company in 1603. While no record remains documenting his involvement with Doctor Faustus’ first quarto, we do know that Charlton was working that same year with Bushell at the north door of St. Paul’s, the pair co-publishing the satire Platoes cap.

11:30-12:45 Hunt Gallery, Mary Baldwin College
Life, Work, Death
Session Chair: Bradley Ryner, Arizona State University

Rosalind Barber, University of Sussex
“O’errul’d by fate”: Does the Marlowe Myth Impede Research?

This paper will examine how a preconception of Marlowe as “the bad boy of Elizabethan theatre” slows the progress of academic research. It will focus on the possibility, first raised seventy-five years ago, that Marlowe may have been the “one Morley” who tutored Arbella Stuart and was dismissed in September 1592 on the Countess of Shrewsbury’s “having some cause to be doubtful of his forwardness in religion”—days after Greene’s Groatsworth of Wit publicly accused Marlowe of atheism. The idea that Marlowe may have tutored an heir to the throne has been dismissed by Marlowe’s biographers without serious investigation, yet new research shows the evidence in support of this identification is far stronger than has previously been imagined. This paper outlines the new research and posits that the near-unanimous rejection of the Morley theory which has led to it remaining unexplored for so long arises chiefly from an inability to separate Marlowe’s sensationalised posthumous reputation from how Marlowe was regarded in his lifetime (specifically, prior to the various incidents of September 1592-May 1593). It explores how the power of the Marlowe myth has challenging implications not only for Marlowe biography but for Marlowe studies as a whole.

Bruce E. Brandt, South Dakota State University
Shared Riches in a Little Room? Skepticism and Comedy in Kyd and Marlowe

Famously, Thomas Kyd attributed ownership of the partial copy of Fall of the Late Arian found in his possession to Christopher Marlowe, saying that it had become mixed in with his papers at a time when they were writing together in the same room. It is hard to know precisely what to make of Kyd’s statement—the actual context of the experience is lost to us—but papers being “shuffled” together without Kyd’s awareness (“unknown to me”) suggests that the workspace had been had been shared for a long enough time that papers had accumulated and been strewn about. This possibility leads to further speculation. Did their decision to share a writing space imply some compatibility or mutuality of interests? After Marlowe’s death Kyd—desperate to reconnect with his patron Sir John Puckering—disparaged Marlowe’s atheism and “cruel heart,” but did he always feel this way? Did his opinion of Marlowe’s character come from the time they had spent working in close proximity? Without new evidence, we will never know. However, their plays suggest certain similarities in philosophy and viewpoint, similarities that might have been conducive to sharing time and a writing space. In particular, I will suggest that both men evince a skeptical attitude and a dark sense of humor that might have drawn the two together, at least for a while. The skepticism is seen most clearly in Tamburlaine and in The Spanish Tragedy. My discussion of Tamburlaine will focus at greatest length on the burning of the Koran and the deaths of Bajazet and Zabina, moments at which it is demanded of Mahomet that he reveal himself and protect those who believe in him: “Now Mahomet, if thou have any power, / Come down thyself and work a miracle” (II: 5.1.187-88); “Then is there left no Mahomet, no God” (I: 5.1.239). “Mahomet” is not to be construed narrowly—the play addresses the human longing for God’s manifest presence to give meaning to life and explores the consequences of not finding it. The Spanish Tragedy examines a different issue, concluding that the universe is epistemologically impenetrable. The actions of Pluto and Proserpine imply that divine control is reasoned, but the reasons are beyond mortal grasp. Attempting to peer beneath the surface leads only to emptiness—ultimately symbolized by the emptiness of the box that Pedringano believes to hold his salvation. The comic side of this Kyd-Marlowe perspective will be treated primarily with reference to The Jew of Malta and Solomon and Perseda (the play, not Hieronimo’s entertainment within The Spanish Tragedy). The comedy of The Jew of Malta has, of course, been much debated since Eliot proposed that its genre was tragic farce rather than tragedy. Performance has confirmed that scenes such as the poisoning of the nuns play effectively when treated humorously, and the discussion will focus on the play’s ability to produce laughter. Similarly, that death upon death and betrayal upon betrayal can be funny is clearly manifest in Solomon and Perseda, where speed of performance and an over-the-top chain of events evoke laughter from an ostensibly tragic subject.

Michael J. Hirrel
Marlowe’s Mortography Once Again

Marlowe’s death generates so much speculation in part because the surviving documents genuinely are intriguing. They lend themselves to speculation. In this paper I plan to look at the documents again with a more practical objective, as I would documents that might come up at trial. I want to know what they would prove, beyond what is already obvious, if I or the other side introduced them as evidence. I shall use the standard of proof in civil law cases: “More probably true than not.”

That method leads me to conclude that Marlowe’s death did not result from any prior conspiracy. No such conspiracy could have counted on the cooperation of an English Coroner’s Jury. Nor is the Jury’s inquest report in fact a product of their participation in any conspiracy. It apparently was supported by evidence in addition to the testimony of the men in the room. If, more importantly, the Jury intended to return a report exonerating Frizer, they would have returned a report very different from the one they did. They indicted Frizer for homicide, as the facts they found required them to do. That indictment meant that Frizer was to be publicly tried on the charge, a trial which could in theory have resulted in his hanging.

Nevertheless, the Privy Council must have been involved in obtaining a pardon for Frizer. A writ of certiorari from the Queen in chancery to a coroner was extraordinary. Frizer would ordinarily have been tried, on the indictment for a homicide committed in Kent County, in the Home Circuit Court of Assizes. A successful plea of self-defense there should have resulted either in Frizer’s acquittal or his post-trial pardon as a matter of course. Thus the Privy Council’s concern must have been the public nature of the trial; there was no need for the Royal government to intervene at this early stage if justice had been the only concern.

11:30-12:45 Miller Chapel, Mary Baldwin College
Marlowe in Modern Performance
Session Chair: Genevieve Love, Colorado College

Pierre Hecker, Carleton College
Welles’ Faustus

Orson Welles’ 1937 Federal Theatre Project production of Doctor Faustus has for the most part been treated as a curiosity, an interesting footnote in the career of a director and actor who, at the ripe old age of 26, would go on to Hollywood to direct Citizen Kane and from there become one of the most famous and influential filmmakers in history. Even for Marlovians, the production has been eclipsed by any number of others which, for one reason or another, have been seen as richer veins to mine for academic study—Neville Coghill’s Burton-Taylor Oxford University Dramatic Society production (mostly for its star power and the fact that it was then filmed) or Clifford Williams’1968 RSC production (mostly for Maggie Wright’s then-shocking nudity in the role of Helen) are just two examples of productions that have garnered a great deal of scholarly attention.

What I propose to offer for the Marlowe Society of America conference is a reminder of how and why Welles’ interpretation of Doctor Faustus was so radical, so astounding, so influential at the time, and remains so underestimated today. At the height of the Great Depression, Welles and his “Project 891” decisively changed the game. The things Welles would become known for in his film work—the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to visual tricks and effects, complex lighting schemes with extreme light and dark contrasts (which were so important to the show that Welles was involved in inventing new technology to deploy them), intricate sound design—were already in evidence here. My ambition for the conference is not only to offer an account and reading of Welles’ most essential choices, but to give the conference attendees a sensory experience of some of them, including the music (which has not been heard since then), the costume design, and a visual demonstration of the radical lighting system.

Laura Grace Godwin, Christopher Newport University
“Strangers that do inhabit this land”: Rendering the Other inTamburlaine on Stage

One of the great controversies surrounding Marlowe’s Tamburlaine centers on a contested understanding of the play’s hero. Critics are divided over the question of whether he is admirable or awful; whether, in the succinct summary of Anthony B. Dawson, he is a “bloodthirsty tyrant, or a marvellous, conquering hero.” Much of any answer will depend on the medium through which Tamburlaine is encountered: a reader, a radio audience, and a theatre spectator will almost certainly react differently to a Tamburlaine conjured from the written word, the human voice, or a visual world. The relative paucity of revivals throughout the work’s four-and-a-quarter centuries of existence ensures that most engagements with Tamburlaine have been textual, but the last sixty years have seen a series of staged revivals wherein Marlowe’s characters again achieved three-dimensional form. This paper will examine the ways major revivals have visually, vocally, and kinetically embodied Tamburlaine and the civilizations he encounters to influence conceptions of the title figure in ways that consistently re-Orient him within an Anglophone context and position him as Other.

Though important work has already been published on the Tyrone Guthrie, Peter Hall, and Terry Hands productions of Tamburlaine, notably by Dawson and David Fuller, this paper will explicitly compare the ways each director utilized acting and design to distance spectators from the conqueror rather than encouraging audiences to identify with him. Guthrie’s “emphasis . . . on blood-lust” and Hall’s Orientalizing elegance set Tamburlaine and his world at a spectacular remove from audiences in 1951 and 1976, respectively. In Hands’1992 RSC revival, the director drew extensively upon circus technique and imagery in ways that aligned Tamburlaine and cohort with the bestial. Guthrie demonized through violence, Hall elevated through verse-speaking, and Hands juxtaposed spectacular physical feats with feral vocalizations, but all three offered a Tamburlaine who was distinctly Other.

Two recent productions remain relatively unexplored yet merit consideration in their own right as well as for the ways they resonate within the context of Tamburlaine’s stage history. The bulk of this paper will focus on David Farr’s 2005 production for the Bristol Old Vic-BITE Festival and Michael Kahn’s 2008 revival for the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. The two productions shared some key similarities; namely, eclectic design concepts that mixed periods (Farr) or cultures (Kahn) and leading actors known for distinctive vocal delivery who, paradoxically, underplayed Marlowe’s mighty lines. On the surface these maneuvers suggested a “universalizing” approach that might open the door to an audience identification with Tamburlaine in a multi-cultural age, but in practice review discourse suggests both productions reiterated the presentation of Tamburlaine as Other in ways potentially disturbing to the pluralistic Anglophone societies in which the productions were presented. In the context of heated ideological clashes between the West and the Islamic World—Farr’s revival opened days after the controversy surrounding cartoons of Muhammad in a Danish newspaper while Kahn’s coincided with a reassessment of the American troop “surge” in Iraq—both productions risked widening the rift between audience and Other.

Hannah Goreing, King’s College London
“They that shall be actors in this massacre”: Staging Marlowe’s Worst Play

The Massacre at Paris was the sixteenth-century equivalent of a blockbuster: a financial triumph for Lord Strange’s Men in 1593-94, repeatedly revived by the Admiral’s Men between 1594 and 1601. Following this, however, the play seems to vanish from the stage for nearly 340 years. Surviving in print only as a short and aesthetically questionable text, it has been described by critics and editors as “mangled,” “confused,” “Marlowe’s worst play.” “I doubt,” wrote Sara Munson Deats in 2004, that “in its present corrupt form it could be successfully performed today.” But is textual corruption a problem in the theatre, or can it be an invitation? Is some form of adaptation or modernisation necessary, in order to make Marlowe’s sixteenth-century representation of sectarian violence and civil war relevant to a modern audience?

Several recent productions of The Massacre at Paris have modernised Marlowe’s text, or used modern dress, to relate the play to present-day religious conflict. Studying these performances can offer insights into the play’s characterisation, moral ambiguities, and unsettling combinations of horror and humour, propaganda and irony. Drawing on extensive research into the play’s performance history, as well as my own experience of directing the play at the University of Sussex in 2011, this paper will re-assess the theatrical potential of Marlowe’s neglected play, and provide context for the production of The Massacre at Paris taking place at this conference.

Robert Sawyer, East Tennessee State University
Recent Reckonings: Marlowe in the Wake of 7/7 and 9/11

While much has been written about the effects of 7/7 and 9/11 on artistic production in the U.S. and the U.K., no one has focused on the way these terrorist attacks may have affected productions of Marlowes works. By considering one version of Tamburlaine in London in 2005, as well as one production of The Jew of Malta first performed in New York in 2007, I will show how Marlowe has been re-shaped by historical pressures, particularly when directors try to reckon with recent historical events.

In a production of Tamburlaine at the Barbican, just months after the London subway bombings on 7/7, David Farr’s decision to combine Part One and Part Two was “praised by most critics,” according to Lisa Hopkins. Yet Farr’s depiction of the burning of the Koran in Act Five of Part Two became a flashpoint of controversy. In this scene, Tamburlaine stalks the stage, while daring Mahomet out of heaven. Demanding the “Turkish Alcaron” (Koran) be brought to him, as well as other “superstitious books” from the “temples of Mahomet,” he orders them to “be burnt” (5.1.172-175). Farr’s interpretation of this scene offended some critics, for he altered the text slightly so that Tamburlaine is burning instead “the works of [all] the prophets,” including, but not limited to, the Koran. Dalye Alberge, writing in The Times (London) protested that “[a]udiences at the Barbican in London did not see the Koran being burnt, as Marlowe intended,” because the director, “feared that it would inflame passions in the light of the London bombings.” The anonymous lead editorial in the same issue of the Times agreed: “to rewrite 400-year-old texts” in order to “protect Islamic sensibilities” set a “dangerous precedent.” When Farr defended his action the following day in the more liberal Guardian, it was obvious that the performance and the ensuing debate were influenced by historical events, a clear instance of context shaping text.

Two years later, another Marlowe play would also be shaped by contextual pressures. This alternating performance of The Merchant of Venice and The Jew of Malta (starring F. Murray Abraham in both lead roles), also resonated with contemporary events. Marlowe’s work, however, seemed much timelier. Not only did it feature a protagonist named after a terrorist assassin from the Gospels, but the final scene in Malta clearly conjured up images of the 9/11 tragedy. Although the more traditional opening scene portrayed Barabas luxuriating in his pile of gold and jewels, while gloating over his “fiery opals [and] sapphires,” at the conclusion of the drama, David Herskovits directed that the “fiery pit,” where Barabas would die, should “occup[y] the same spot as the cache of gold” at the play’s opening.

It is not difficult to see the image of Barabas’s former “counting-house,” the one filled with “infinite riches,” reflected in that other symbol of the “Capital of Capital,” the World Trade Center; nor is it difficult to imagine the fiery pit as similar to the smoldering rubble remains of the Twin Towers following the assault. As Abraham’s Barabas takes down the hypocritical Christian world with him, we may also hear in his speech the final reckoning of the 9/11 hijackers, cursing the “[d]amned Christian dogs,” and vowing to bring “confusion on [them] all.”

2:00-3:15 Hunt Gallery, Mary Baldwin College
Violence and Violations
Session Chair: Leslie Thomson, University of Toronto

Matthew Carter, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Marlowe’s Murder: Christopher Marlowe“s Understanding of Atrocity in The Massacre at Paris

In The Massacre at Paris, Christopher Marlowe represents the martyrdom of French Huguenots at the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. While the text is incomplete (scholars suggest that it was probably a memorial reconstruction), the violence remains largely intact. In its extant state, the violence in the play is also highly realistic in its representations of atrocity. Using Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman’s On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society as a lens, I intend to demonstrate that Marlowe’s representation of killing in Massacre is more than simply dramatic flair; it shows Marlowe had a deep understanding of the methods by which armies commit atrocities in war. Marlowe exhibits an understanding of the effects of proximity and group mentality on a soldier’s ability to kill unarmed civilians, while his use of insults and jokes shows the real-world application of dehumanizing nicknames which soldiers in the modern world use to mentally and emotionally prepare themselves to take another life. Grossman’s research demonstrates that it takes a large act of willful conditioning for a person to kill someone else at the close proximity required by Early Modern weaponry, and that in order to do so, a complex set of conditions is necessary, or else the soldier will suffer a psychological breakdown (known today as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). I intend to demonstrate Marlowe’s deep understanding of this process by comparing the behavior of the French soldiers in Massacre to the conditioning given United States soldiers in Vietnam, as outlined in Grossman’s book.

Robin Hizme, CUNY
Affective Witnessing: Marlowe’s Massacre at Paris and English Identity

My analysis of Marlowe’s The Massacre at Paris with the Death of the Duke of Guise, aims to assess the dynamics of performance, affect, and communal identity, particularly with regard to the staging of collective violence. Considering the relationship between plays and audiences to be dialectical, I will explore how Marlowe’s play is influenced by both his imaginary audience and the playgoers in early modern London, while also addressing the potential affective power exerted by the play on the spectators, particularly with regard to their sense of collective English identity. Acknowledging the potency of the stage in shaping the cultural imaginary, I will examine how the affective intensities induced by the play, particularly the repeated interpellation of the English audience in the final scenes, participate in the developing psyche of the English nation. Many scholars approach Marlowe’s Massacre assuming that the slaughter on St. Bartholomew’s Day in 1572 was, in the words of Shona McIntosh, “to English public opinion, one of the most heinous crimes of recent history,”when, in fact, there is much evidence to suggest that the English imaginary was not so easily unified in that regard. Ever since Julia Briggs’ crucial reassessment of the play demonstrated its use of sources from both the Huguenot and League viewpoints, critics have attempted to account for the parallels Marlowe draws between the massacre and the murder of the Guise, but their conclusions as to why the play aims to elicit sympathy for the villain obviates the messy question of audience response. Assertions that the play critiques religious justification of violence (Briggs 1983), supports hereditary monarchy (Kingdon 1988), or warns against the Catholic threat (Loftis 1987), et. al, offer interesting and valid readings, but fail to engage with the complex attitudes towards St. Bartholomew’s Day held by Marlowe’s audience or with the more immediate affective potential of the performance to notions of collective identity. Clearly the English responded to the historical massacre with fascination; Paul J. Voss has demonstrated that the French religious wars were the top news item over any other event during Elizabeth’s reign and Marlowe’s play was the highest grossing play of the season for the Lord Strange’s Men. Yet, whether the fascination was motivated by sympathy, horror, fear, or even pleasure, is much more challenging to determine and seems to be contingent upon subordinate spheres of identity. Historical evidence in the form of letters and sermons suggest that divergent responses to the massacre existed, depending on one’s geographic location, religious affinities, and class status. Marlowe’s text must have resonated with Londoners who had potential cross-national and cross-religious affiliations because it denies sustained sympathetic identification with any character or group of characters. I aim to explore how Marlowe’s dramaturgy, particularly the spectacle of violence visited upon—or resisted by—abject bodies and groups, provides an exemplary model for considering the performative force of collective violence on communal identities and cultural narratives.

Randy Holmes, Virginia State University
Privy to Violence: Display and Concealment in the Assassination of Edward II

The murder of Edward II is one of the most horrific spectacles to survive from the sixteenth-century London theatre, and it remains much parsed and pored over as readers and spectators strive to come to grips with its implications and with Marlowe’s methods. I’d like to look at this murder in terms of the interplay between display and concealment, a pattern that figures prominently in the play in general and in the assassination in particular, and which I believe increasingly informs the last plays in Marlowe’s brief dramatic corpus.  Much of Edward II is concerned with rituals of authority, control over shows of power, and the seductive appeal and manipulative ability of theatrical presentation.  Pervasive in the play is an interest in display—the form and content of political presentation, as well as who has and what constitutes authority over the choices that determine the presentations and over subsequent interpretation of these performances. There is also a countercurrent of concealment, however, part of which is implicit in the nature of theatre. The submergence of the player in the role drew the ire of anti-theatrical writers who were disturbed not only by boys dressed as women and commoners attired as their betters, but by the duplicity inherent in assuming a false identity. Theatre had the potential, they feared, for glamorizing the arts of deception, fraud, and equivocation, which could lead to individual and national ruin. This tense interplay of revelation and false-seeming, of public and private, of display and concealment is writ large in the scene set in the dark dungeon of Berkeley Castle.

Helen Osborne, Shakespeare Institute
Poisoning Deeply: The Form and Function of Poison in The Jew of Malta and The Massacre at Paris

Barabas and the Duke of Guise conform to a number of stereotypes that attach to the figure of the poisoner on the Renaissance stage. This paper will begin with a brief examination of both characters’ roles as a poisoners and the interaction of The Jew of Malta and The Massacre at Paris with contemporary cultural fantasies of poison. It will then go on to discuss the ways in which the poisons used are administered to their victims, and their function as fast-acting or time-delayed weapons. The ways in which the poisoned posy of flowers given to Ithamore, Pilia-Borza and Ithamore, and the poisoned gloves given to the Old Queen take their effects will be examined in relation to an on-going concern in Marlowe’s work with ideas of the body’s vulnerability, which will be illustrated by making brief reference to Tamburlaine (Parts One and Two). Building on the work of Tanya Pollard and Jonathan Gil Harris, it will compare and contrast the political effects of the poisons in these plays in order to suggest the potential for a Paracelsian cure in their action, and the ways in which this cure is a problematic one.

2:00-3:15 Miller Chapel, Mary Baldwin College
Marlowe’s Language in Action
Session Chair: David McInnis, University of Melbourne

Judith Coleman, University of Iowa
“They know my custome”: Tamburlaine’s Strange Powerlessness and the Antinomian Question

This paper takes as its starting point Tamburlaine’s declaration in Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine, Part I, “I speak it, and my words are oracles” (3.3.102) to interrogate the source and depth of Tamburlaine’s power in Tamburlaine, Parts I and II.  I contend that we should take Tamburlaine literally here—his words determine the course of the future, and this course sometimes contradicts both Tamburlaine’s will and the perceived will of God, whose Scourge Tamburlaine often purports to be. Throughout both plays, Tamburlaine’s words exist outside of his person as a kind of inflexible law, and while some have used an examination of Tamburlaine and various kinds of “law” to label him “antinomian,” the events of the play complicate any attempts to shoehorn Tamburlaine into such a category. Tamburlaine’s actions—from the slaughter of Virgins to his own death—are determined by his utterances, and he must perform them to the letter even when his will evolves to contradict that utterance. Though to all appearances powerful, Tamburlaine is actually impotent to act according to his own will. For Tamburlaine to truly represent antinomianism, the referent for his actions would need to reside within his own conscience and will, and through that will, God; throughout the plays, however, Tamburlaine refers to his oaths or “customes” as though they are beyond his power to alter. By projecting his will outwards, Tamburlaine loses control over it and quickly becomes its slave. Instead of imagining himself to be Christ the Word—a charge often levied at actual antinomians—Tamburlaine must enact that which his words decree, even if that means reluctantly slaughtering Virgins or, even worse, dying himself. This paper will examine these two critically-contested scenes—Tamburlaine’s interactions with the Virgins of Damascus in Part I and his own death at the end of Part II—to complicate the notion that Tamburlaine is entirely in control of his own fate, or even his own actions. At the center of antinomianism is confidence, an unshakeable faith that one’s will aligns with the will of God, even if that will contradicts established religious doctrine. I contend that these two scenes represent a pattern of behavior that reveals Tamburlaine’s strange powerlessness, his position, not as God’s weapon against his enemies or as a rogue agent guided by his own beliefs, but as an odd kind of pawn in a story masterminded by a power that originates with him but which he cannot control.

Darlene Farabee, University of South Dakota
Enlarging Tamburlaine’s Stage

When Tamburlaine declares that he “Will first subdue the Turk, and then enlarge / Those Christian captives which you keep as slaves” (3.3.46-7), he relies on the meaning of “enlarge” as “to release from confinement or bondage” (OED v.II.6a.). The concurrent meaning “To render more spacious or extensive; to extend the limits of (a territory, enclosure, etc.); to widen (boundaries),” clearly resonates with the conquering attributes of the play (OED v.I1a). Zabina also uses “enlarge” with both meanings intact: “Let us live in spite of them, / Looking some happy power will pity and enlarge us” (4.4.97-8). Many scholars have pointed out the importance of geography and spatial measurement in the play. Recently, Emrys Jones has explored some of the implications of terrestrial space in Marlowe’s Tamburlaine plays, including the plays’ structural divisions and connections to contemporaneous innovations in painting. Garrett Sullivan has pointed out that “the measured language of Tamburlaine coincides with both the actor’s measured strides and the character’s measurement of the lands he conquers.” This paper takes up Sullivan’s point about the stage and argues that the entrances and exits, the numbers of actors necessary on stage, and the development of stage images are substantially responsible for the visual support of Tamburlaines rhetorical insistence on domain enlargement.

Georgina Lucas, Shakespeare Institute
“An action bloody and tyrannical”: The Massacre(s) in The Massacre at Paris

Heralded by a bitter, thirty-year prologue, the “First” French War of Religion erupted with a massacre: Vassy, 1562. Supplied with the same rhetorical stamp as the first named massacre—the extirpation of Waldensian Protestants at Mérindol in 1545—politico-religious historiography tells us that Vassy marked the beginning of a series of conflicts that would distort the already frail boundaries between popular and military violence; soldiery and butchery; domestic, sectarian warfare and international intervention; and the limits of kingship and constitutional resistance. Yet, as this paper will argue, the imaginative power of these conflicts, the frontier that bridges the gap between the creative process and cultural reality, is harnessed not by Vassy, nor by its antecedent Mérindol, but by the bloody horrors of the 1572 St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre.

The subject of Marlowe’s The Massacre at Paris (1593), Bartholomew was a foundational event, responsible for the migration of the word from its newfound context in France’s civil wars, into the English language and cultural consciousness. Pamphlets by Huguenot writers like François Hotman, Jean de Serres, and Philippe du Plessis-Mornay, competed with libellous accusations by, for example, Jean du Tillet, detailing Huguenot tendencies towards the orgiastic, ritual murder of children, and the more temperate, but no less inflammatory, justification by Charles IX that Bartholomew, as a preventative measure, guarded against Huguenot insurrection following the attempted assassination of the Admiral Coligny. Flooding London printers, such tracts provided extensive, and thoroughly partisan, “histories” of the Massacre. Paradoxically aligned with the preceding violence seen at Mérindol and Vassy, just as it was heralded as an outrage so furiously infamous as to be peerless, or, antithetically, as a proportional response to Huguenot heresy and sedition, Bartholomew became the common axis on which conflicting notions of massacre and its attendant consequences turned.

It is this combination of Bartholomew’s cultural centrality, and the schismatic responses it incited, that anchor and motivate Marlowe’s drama. Qualifying King Charles declaration that Bartholomew “will be noted through the world / An action bloody and tyrannical” (iv.5-6), The Massacre at Paris presents massacre, as a word and act, heterogeneously: used to define both the purgation of Parisian Huguenots, the assassination of Admiral Coligny, and Queen Margaret’s declaration that her soul is massacred (iii.26), “massacre” implies a plurality of meanings both physical and metaphysical. This paper, then, seeks to explore this plurality alongside the tracts and pamphlets that helped shape an English understanding of massacre to gauge the means by which Marlowe manipulates contemporary notions of massacre for the playhouse, noting the continuities and gaps between historiography and drama. In doing so, the paper seeks to re-orientate critical attention away from the play’s supposed, and oft-reported, deficiencies in favour of an exploration of the play’s dramatic engagement with its political stimulus: it places massacre at the heart of The Massacre at Paris.

Rikita Tyson, Harvard University
“I must speak fair”: Speech and Modality in Marlowe’s Edward II

My paper will examine the connections between characters’ perceived ability to speak or command and their use of subjectivity-encoding modal verbs. I posit that utterances like Edward’s “I must speak fair” are crucial to the underlying linguistic drama of Edward II, a drama that echoes and even creates the drama of the play’s narrative. Characters indicate their senses of speech as a pressing necessity, an impossibility, or a forced requirement by means of their deployment of modals, revealing their understandings of their selves as commanding or under threat from the outside world. Paradoxically, it is the king himself who is most prone to seeing his speech as controlled by others, himself as enforced to “speak fair” and flatter his rebellious nobles, as he gives away his linguistic authority in the attempt to save his crown.

3:45-5:45 Colonnade Ballroom, Stonewall Jackson Hotel
Opening Reception

7:00-9:00 Blackfriars Theatre
Performance: The Massacre at Paris