Welcome to the web site celebrating the life, writings, and legacy of Christopher "Kit" Marlowe. His early plays, including Tamburlaine, Doctor Faustus, and The Jew of Malta, popularized blank verse and revolutionized the London stage.
According to the history books, Marlowe died in 1593 at age 29 in a tavern brawl. However, compelling new historical and literary evidence suggests that the English secret service—for whom Kit performed "good service" for Queen Elizabeth—staged his death amid a heresy investigation, and Marlowe went on to pen the Shakespearean works with the actor from Stratford.
Cover art © by Mark Ulriksen originally for The New Yorker
"Alex Jack's As You Like It reveals so many new allusions to Marlowe's 'death,' along with a multitude of glances at the poet-spy's literary resurrection under Shakespeare's name, that Marlowe himself becomes the subject of the play's subplot—a subplot that is now, for the savvy reader, more riveting than the main romantic storyline."
—Cynthia Morgan, editor/publisher, The Marlowe Studies
As You Like It is one of the most delightful romantic comedies of all time. The pucky heroine Rosalind's spirited wit, her suitor Orlando's moon-struck courting, the clown Touchstone's jaded humor, the melancholy sage Jaques's world-weary cynicism, and the shepherdess Phoebe's proud disdain have enthralled generations of viewers and readers.
But beneath the comic tour de force of the irrepressible, cross-dressing heroine and the other "country copulatives" lies a penetrating critique of Elizabethan England and the key to the world's greatest literary mystery.
Ros Barber's new verse novel The Marlowe Papers (St. Martin's, 2013) has popularized the Marlovian theory. This edition of As You Like It provides the historical and literary evidence.
As You Like It by Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare, edited by Alex Jack (Amber Waves Press, 2013). Paperback, including play and commentary. ISBN 9780970891396, $24.95.
Alex Jack is a teacher and authority on diet, environment, and the healing arts. He is the president of Planetary Health, Inc. His other books include Marlowe and Shakespeare's Hamlet, The Mozart Effect: Tapping the Power of Music to Heal the Body, Strengthen the Mind, and Unlock the Creative Spirit (with Don Campbell), Aveline Kushi's Complete Guide to Macrobiotic Cooking, The Cancer Prevention Diet and Diet for a Strong Heart (with Michio Kushi). His medical study showed that blank verse accords with the heartbeat and enhances the cardiovascular system. He is on the faculty of the Kushi Institutes of America and Europe, a visiting lecturer at Rosas contemporary dance company in Brussels, and a dietary and way of life counselor.
Marlowe and Shakespeare's Hamlet debuted at the new Globe Theatre in London several years ago when editor Alex Jack was invited to speak by actor and artistic director Mark Rylance.
“An attractive edition of the play . . . a provocative view of Elizabethan society spiced with an entertaining dash of Arthur Conan Doyle.”—Kirkus Discoveries
“Alex Jack’s new book . . . is enormously impressive as a detective work in literature. His analysis of Hamlet is remarkable. . . . breathtaking.”—Howard Zinn, historian and author of A People’s History of the United States
“I’m enjoying Alex Jack’s new book on . . . Shakespeare very much. . . . It makes me realize how mysterious and complicated that world was, how unbelievably brilliant in language. And I’ve taken a much greater fondness for Marlowe than ever before.”—Robert Bly, poet and author
“A pleasure to read—lucid, compelling, based on a thorough-going examination of an enormous amount of supportive critical commentary."—Dewey Ganzel, Shakespearean scholar and author of Fortune and Men’s Eyes
"You think like a director."—Mark Rylance, actor who played Hamlet
Hamlet by Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare, edited by Alex Jack (Amber Waves, 2005). Vol. 1 The Play, ISBN 09708913-5-0, $15.95. Vol. 2 Commentary, ISBN 09708912-5-0, $24.95.
Click here to order Marlowe and Shakespeare's Hamlet with a special price of $24.95 for both volumes of the book.
The Muses' Darling
Kit Marlowe was known by his fellow poets as "the Muses' darling" because of his sweet, mellifluous verse, the sublime musicality of his lines, and the soaring, dramatic arc of his plays. These lines from Tamburlaine, his first major play, revolutionized the London theater and popularized iambic pentameter:
The thirst of reign and sweetness of a crown,
That caus'd the eldest son of heavenly Ops
To thrust his doting father from his chair,
And place himself in the empyreal heaven,
Mov'd me to manage arms against thy state.
What better precedent than mighty Jove?
Nature, that fram'd us of four elements
Warring within our breasts for regiment,
Doth teach us all to have aspiring minds:
Our souls, whose faculties can comprehend
The wondrous architecture of the world,
And measure every wandering planet's course,
Still climbing after knowledge infinite,
And always moving as the restless spheres,
Will us to wear ourselves, and never rest,
Until we reach the ripest fruit of all,
That perfect bliss and sole felicity,
The sweet fruition of an earthly crown.