"Christopher Marlowe"

Cooper Honors Seminar, Fall 2004


The purpose of this seminar on the works of Christopher Marlowe is to acquaint students with Marlowe’s works in drama and poetry, to identify major issues in the academic study of Marlowe, and to sample the scholarship on one or more of those major issues.


There is not a good edition of Marlowe’s plays and poems, though there are several recent editions of the former. Recognizing their flaws, I have chosen the Romany & Lindsey edition of the plays (Penguin, ISBN: 0-140-43633-2) and Mark Thornton Burnett’s edition of the poetry (Everyman, ISBN 0-460-87995-2). You are welcome to use alternative texts, if you have them already.


Everyone in the class is expected to attend every class, including the public lecture of our guest scholar, Stephen Booth. I have prorated the other work of the class across the possible categories of enrollment: those students taking either 4150 or 4250 will be responsible for a presentation, a position as expert, and participation in the Marlowe Scene Festival; those taking both 4150 and 4250 will in addition be responsible for the paper. Graduate students' expectations are explained below.

Aug 23: Getting started: everyone is to have read already Tamburlaine I
Aug 25: Tamburlaine I, continued


Aug 30: **Tamburlaine II
Sept 1: Tamburlaine II, continued


Sept 6 (Labor Day)
Sept 8: Theater history (Knutson's "presentation")


Sept 13: Marlowe biography
Sept 15: **Dido, Queen of Carthage


Sept 20: Dido, Queen of Carthage, continued
Sept 22: **Jew of Malta


Sept 27: Jew of Malta, continued
Sept 29: Jew of Malta, continued


Oct 4: **Doctor Faustus, A-text
Oct 6: Doctor Faustus, A-text, continued


Oct 11: **Doctor Faustus, B-text
Oct 13: Doctor Faustus, B-text, continued


Oct 18: **Edward II
Oct 20: Edward II, continued


Oct 25: **All Ovid’s Elegies
Oct 27: All Ovid’s Elegies, continued


Nov 1: **Hero and Leander
Nov 3: Hero and Leander, continued


Nov 8: Guest Professor: Stephen Booth, University of California, Berkeley
Nov 10: Catch-up, Wrap-up: Booth presentations


Nov 15: **Massacre at Paris
Nov 17: **What is “Marlovian” about Marlowe?


Nov 22: What is “Marlovian” about Marlowe (con't)? Class Evaluations; Playing Companies
Nov 24: Time Out: (reward for attending the public Booth presentation)


Nov 29: Marlowe Scene Festival, rehearsal #1
Dec 1: rehearsal #2


Dec 6: rehearsal #3
Dec 13 or final exam time: performance


REQUIREMENTS: 4150 or 4250: attend class, participate in discussion, make a presentation, become an expert on one of the topics below, participate in both Booth presentations (to the class, to the public), and participate in the Marlowe Scene Festival; 4150 & 4250: do all the above, plus submit a paper, approx. 10 pp. on a topic of your choosing (perhaps, but not necessarily, in your area of acquired expertise). Graduate students will do all of the above at a level consistent with graduate work (which means, in part, more extensive research on the “expert” topic, a sampling of the "Expert" areas by reading at least one item each, and a more thoroughly researched, longer, and argumentative paper).


EXPERTS: Choosing from the topics listed below, each of you will become the class “expert” on an issue of Marlowe studies. This expertise may or may not roll over into the final paper that those who take the class for 3 hours of credit will submit. I have provided a suggested reading list (not meant to be inclusive) for each topic. Experts will be expected to draw on these suggestions and provide additional ones, especially as resources for the paper.

  1. Marlowe and sources (Virgil, Ovid, historical sources, i.e., Holinshed for history, Faust Book)
  2. Marlowe’s prosody, the “mighty line”
  3. Marlowe in repertory (hands off; this one is Knutson's)
  4. Marlowe and biography
  5. Marlowe and sexuality (gender; manhood; women)
  6. Marlowe and performance (Eliz, modern; film)
  7. Marlowe’s texts
  8. Marlowe’s influence and reputation (Marlowe on Shakespeare, for ex)
  9. Marlowe and genre:


PRESENTATIONS: Each student, in addition to being available at every class on his/her area of expertise, will choose one of the class days marked with ** to direct class discussion. For this direction, have a set of “talking points” to distribute to the class. Expect discussion to cover plot, genre, characterization, style (“mighty line”), and the topics on which other class members are becoming experts.


MARLOWE SCENE FESTIVAL: At the end of the seminar, we will divide into playing companies (two, if possible) and present scenes from Marlowe’s plays.

PAPER: Students taking 4150 and 4250, and graduate students, will do a paper on a Marlovian subject of their choosing. Undergraduate papers: approx 10 pp.; graduate papers, approx 20 pp. Logical topics are some focused treatment of the subject on which the student has become an expert.