Tuesday, May 18, 2010

This date in history: Christopher Marlowe arrested!

On this date in 1593, it is believed an arrest warrant was issued for the playwright Christopher Marlowe. The charge was heresy. The accuser? fellow playwright Thomas Kyd. Kyd was arrested on May 15 on suspicion of treason. It is believed that Kyd, under torture, may have pointed the finger at former roommate Marlowe in order to save his own skin. Marlowe was arrested and made bail, but was killed (perhaps under suspicious circumstances) in a barroom brawl on May 30. It sort of places today's celebrity scandals in perspective, doesn't it?

I just had a nice chat with Reinhardt Theatre professor Kevin Crawford, who gave me a very favorable review of Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? by James Shapiro, which we have in our Leisure Reading section. I'm not a Shakespeare conspiracy theorist (except in fun: I'd love it if Marlowe turned out to have faked his death and written Shakespeare's plays for a dozen years, but I don't believe it). Dr. Crawford tells me that the history behind the Shakespeare conspiracy theories is as interesting as the conspiracy theories themselves. I certainly plan to check the book out for myself. Thanks for the recommendation, Dr. Crawford!

The picture for this blog post is Christopher Marlowe as Elvis in "Jailhouse Rock," which I made on faceinhole.com I may have had a little too much time on my hands today.

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