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Chapter 9 - Marlowe’s Early Books: The Contention and a ‘Marlowe Effect’

from Part II - Transmitting Marlowe

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 September 2018

Kirk Melnikoff
Affiliation:
University of North Carolina, Charlotte
Roslyn L. Knutson
Affiliation:
University of Arkansas
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Summary

In the early twenty-first century, attribution specialists have with increasing frequency made claims for the part-authorship by Marlowe of the Henry VI trilogy, though with inattention to the relationship of those plays to The First Part of the Contention and The True Tragedy of Richard, Duke of York. This chapter separates the two sets of plays to consider afresh The Contention’s putative role in the formation of Marlowe’s nascent print presence. Debunking early prejudices that treated these plays as inferior versions of Shakespeare’s histories, this chapter argues for their participation, regardless of authorship, in an increasingly dominant ‘Marlovian’ paradigm. Focusing particularly on instances of performative typography and sequential stage direction within the 1594 quarto of The Contention, printed by Thomas Creede for Thomas Millington, this chapter argues that the play as published participates in the creation of readerly effects associated elsewhere with Marlowe’s early books.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2018

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