Book Review: The Marlowe Papers by Ros Barber

The Marlowe Papers by Ros Barber is available via Prospector, Colorado’s cooperative lending library catalog.

marlowe papers

Of all the possible candidates in the “who really wrote Shakespeare’s works?” debate, Christopher “Kit” Marlowe is often quickly dismissed. After all, he died at age 29 during a dispute over debts. His contemporaries probably saw it coming – his quick temper, heretical views, or his tendency to get romantically involved with the wrong men or women conspired to predict an early end.

And yet, hundreds of years later, a dedicated group of scholars persists in the theory that his death was faked to escape legal and other troubles and he survived to funnel work through associates to be passed off by Shakespeare as his own.

The Marlowe obsessed writer Ros Barber weaves together the threads of scholarly evidence into an entertaining tale of Marlowe’s post 1593 life, full of escape, danger, proverty, love, and of course, writing. The story is presented as Marlowe’s autobiography, in Elizabethan style blank verse. If I’ve lost you at the mention of verse, be reassured that Barber’s talent as a writer shines through, making the verse accessible and engaging  even as she takes care to preserve the authenticity of Marlowe’s Elizabethan era “voice”.

CSFOnce you’ve read the Marlowe Papers, you may want attend the Colorado Shakespeare Festival performances of Richard II, Macbeth, and Midsummers Night’s Dream to experience one of the world’s premiere outdoor performances of the Bard (or Marlowe’s?) works.  You’ll recognize Richard’s description of England as “this sceptred isle”, hear Malcolm quip that “Nothing in his life Became him like leaving it”, and who can’t relate to Titania’s “metthought I was enamored of an ass?” The repertory company performs in University of Colorado’s Mary Rippon Theatre from June 7 to August 11, with some matinee performances.

The Marlowe Papers is available by request via Prospector, a library lending cooperative based in Colorado.


The combined collections of over 40 academic, public and special libraries in Colorado and Wyoming are available to Univerity of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus library users. Materials include print and multimedia materials. Electronic request delivers dvds, cds, and books for research or entertainment to the Health Sciences Library where you can pick up your materials after receiving email notification of their arrival.

Although electronic and journal resources are listed in Prospector, licensing prevents download or use by users not affiliated with the owning library. However, you may travel to a Prospector member library to use materials. Check the websites of the member libraries before visiting the library.

Need help with Prospector requests?  Call 303-724-2121 or stop by the Library desk, or use our Ask Us service.

[Lynne M. Fox, Education Librarian]