So You Want to Read… (Christopher Marlowe)

Posted 24 May, 2017 by Lianne in Lists / 2 Comments

So You Want to Read… is a monthly feature here on in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! 🙂

I was pondering for a while as to who to feature for this May edition of “So You Want to Read…” I sometimes schedule posts based on the time of year, what holidays are coming up, etc. It took a bit of pondering, but in the end I decided to go with Christopher Marlowe (see author tag), a contemporary of William Shakespeare’s (see author tag) and whose works I more or less read at this point. I find his works are much darker and much more dramatic than Shakespeare’s, entertaining if not a bit abrupt and unpolished at times. He’s definitely a playwright to check out if you’re looking to read beyond Shakespeare.

The following thus are three works by Christopher Marlowe that I’d recommend to start with:

  • Edward II (review) — Okay, perhaps it’s a bit bias that I’ve set this play first as it is one of my favourite plays, but it is easily the most accessible of his works. Events escalate pretty quickly and the character drama is absolutely fascinating to read/listen/watch unfold. Edward II is such a drama queen and you can’t help but feel bad for him but at the same time he is clearly out of his league as everyone around him is machinating for their own power. My review expands on my thoughts a lot more on the play but suffice to say I highly recommend starting here if you’ve never read any of his works.
  • The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus (review) — This play is probably his most notable work–or at least that’s my impression when I look him up, it’s the first title listed–and for good reason as it explores the idea of what happens when you make a bargain with the devil. It completely veers into the fantastical and the darkness is quite apparent in this work but it explores concepts like good and evil and ambition and piety. It’s weird, but it’s different.
  • Hero and Leander — Okay, kind of weird to include an incomplete poem here but I found it to be rather beautifully written and it contains some familiar phrases such as “Who ever loved, that loved not at first sight?”

And that’s about it for this list! I hope it helps if you’re interested in reading something by Christoper Marlowe for the first time! If you’ve read any of his works in the past, which one is your favourite? Which would you recommend for first-time readers? Or which plays have you been meaning to get around to reading? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

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2 Responses to “So You Want to Read… (Christopher Marlowe)”

  1. I think this is the first time I’ve seen someone recommend Edward II! But you are right. It is a fine play. I like Hero and Leander, too. It’s funny and slightly uncomfortable, and overall it just feels very clever.

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