The International Christopher Marlowe

Lead Research Organisation: University of Exeter
Department Name: English

Abstract

At the heart of this fellowship proposal is an ambitious desire to reconceive the Elizabethan poet and dramatist Christopher Marlowe as an 'international' or European political thinker, as opposed to an English writer responding largely to domestic contexts and to polemic over theory. Accordingly, the fellowship supports a programme of research that places Marlowe's work in the context of innovations and changes in European political thought, principally as received in England, from ca. 1572 to Marlowe's death in 1593 (see 'Case for Support' for further details). Driving the planned research is a methodology grounded in book history and reception studies, as well as the interpretation of political texts, which has the capacity to reinvigorate current scholarship on Marlowe and challenge aspects of the way early modern drama has been linked to political ideas. In a timely way the project will emphasise the European dimension to a seminal figure in narratives of 'our', that is English, national literature.

A 6 month period ending December 2013 and including research leave granted by the University of Exeter will lay the platform for the programme of research covered by the fellowship; it includes a proposal for a research monograph (including 2 draft chapters) to an established academic publisher, probably Oxford University Press.

In its first phase, the fellowship will support a 1-year programme of full-time research, culminating in the remaining chapters of a monograph tracing the English reception of European political thought over a roughly twenty year period to 1593 and placing Marlowe's work in the context of this material. A second, part-time phase of six months (until September 2015) will be devoted to dissemination, impact and leadership-related activities. These include a two-day conference on 'The International Marlowe' at the University of Exeter and a seminar tour of European universities and/or academic organisations. They also incorporate, on the impact side, a number of workshops run by a professional drama company, 'Splendid Productions', for schools in the Devon region, which will creatively explore the interaction between Marlowe's drama and political ideas. Video footage of some of these workshops will be uploaded to a website publicising the project, which will include pages devoted to the conference, to political thought in the age of Marlowe, and include five edited scenes from Marlowe's plays illuminating the thinking behind the fellowship. At the start of the fellowship, a research assistant will be appointed to help co-ordinate the impact and dissemination programme.

The proposed array of research, dissemination and leadership actitivies will further my career development from a promising early career scholar, appointed to my first research post in early 2011 and with a recently published first monograph (War Liberty and Caesar: Oxford, 2013). It will also further my research interests in the complex intersections between political ideas and imaginative or mimetic literature; in reception; and in the literary and intellectual links between early modern England and abroad, with the aim of devising substantial funded and collaborative projects in the future.

Planned Impact

The fellowship's programme of impact activities is centred around a series of drama workshops in local Devon schools, devised jointly by myself and a professional production company, 'Splendid Productions', together with a separate workshop for PGCE trainee drama teachers at the University of Exeter. The workshops themselves will be run by Splendid Productions. Subject to necessary permissions, video footage of the workshops, managed by a student team from the University of Exeter, will be edited and uploaded to a project website. The latter constitutes a more diffuse instrument for impact aimed at both academic and non-academic forums: it will include information on the project and pages on political thought in early modern Europe and in Marlowe's plays and links to other sites of interest besides the workshops.

Drama and English school pupils (pre- and post-GCSE) constitute a public whose skills, knowledge and understanding can be both enhanced and transformed by the project's impact programme. By offering a workshop also to English teachers the potential spread of the project's ideas and questions will be considerably magnified.

The exact format of the drama workshops will be worked out as the first phase of the fellowship progresses (see 'Pathways to Impact' for further details). They will, however, be based on scenes in Christopher Marlowe's plays identified by myself and 'Splendid Productions' and will allow scope for either interpretive performance or individual creative responses. Their aim is not simply to communicate knowledge, but to encourage students to ask questions about the relationship between political ideas and theatre, both in Marlowe's time and ours, as well as to enhance awareness of the international or European nature of 'English' literary culture, especially drama, in the early modern period. These aims complement the objectives behind the project as a whole, while allowing students to develop their own ideas and interpretations in a performance-oriented setting. As well as addressing the QAA subject specifications for both English and Drama (again, see 'Pathways to Impact for more detail), students will be empowered to see early modern drama texts in a new, more contextually informed light.

The uploading of selected performance outputs onto the website will not only document the public engagement activities undertaken during the fellowship but act as a stimulus for future collaborative work in this area.

'Splendid Productions' is a drama company with a strong track record in devising workshops for the young. Its focus on the dynamics of political theatre, and on engaging participants by getting them to ask questions, is in the spirit of Marlowe's own work and also forms a natural link with the interrogatory thrust of the project.

Interest in the workshops has already been expressed by certain local secondary schools. Exeter's Graduate School of Education has already indicated it will place its school contacts at the disposal of the project. See 'attachments' for a letter of support from 'Splendid Productions'.

Publications

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Description Much of the research for this fellowship has been interpretive, and is being written up in a single-authored monograph, whose arguments I am not going to summarize here. What follows best suits the term 'findings'.

A. The project's archival research, mostly in the British Library, Bodleian, Cambridge University Library, Lambeth Palace Library and Oxford and Cambridge college libraries, has allowed me to see, literally, 100s of copies of printed texts that circulated in England albeit originating abroad in the later sixteenth century, around 30-40% with contemporary annotations (although only a minority with identifiable readers) as well as several manuscripts (usually translations). Among them have been some illuminating discoveries, if never quite at the level of 'gold dust'. This research has had three positive outcomes. 1. It has formed the bedrock for my monograph, dealing with how Marlowe's plays interacted with the reception of European political thought in England (which the research has illuminated). 2. The monograph aside, it has led to productive ongoing and future publications and research opportunities, particularly in France: for example the paper I gave at the Tudor Round Table in Tours (Sept 2015) gave rise to a Festschrift article discussing a recently discovered manuscript translation of Machiavelli; I am also speaking at a conference on early modern censorship in December 2016 in Clermont-Ferrand, discussing the notion of 'seditious textes' from abroad in the period (based on my archival research), organised by Professor Sophie Chiari with whom I am now discussing future research collaborations. 3. It has helped give me expertise as a scholar working on the intersection of early modern political thought with drama. I am now e.g. in contact with Alessandra Petrina, the foremost modern Italian scholar on the English Machiavelli.

B. My research has led me more than I anticipated in the direction of English religious controversy, especially along the fault-lines between Protestant / Catholic and Anglican / 'Puritan'. The award was extended by 4 months to facilitate research in these areas. I believe this added to my scholarly expertise as well as the cogency of my monograph, and has directly underpinned scholarly papers given in Clermont-Ferrand in November 2015, and York in January 2016, discussing the domestic religious contexts for Marlowe's dramatisation of excommunication.

C. The drama workshops in Devon (July and November 2015) have had a positive feedback on my understanding of dramatic performance, partly gained by discussing and devising the workshops with drama professionals. My participation in the round table at Tours (mentioned above) also gave me stimulating and unexpected insight into the pre-Marlovian traditions of English drama, which he adapted and exploited. I believe that I am now in a position to consider Marlowe as in certain respects a drama theorist.

I believe that in these respects the fellowship has helped me significantly in my research career, one of the objectives of the award, as well as produce significant outputs.

Please note that an outline of the project's research will be available on its website which will go online at the end of March (it is currently awaiting various permissions).
Exploitation Route 1. Research into the links between English Renaissance drama, or literature, and non-English cultures, can benefit enormously from analysing the way foreign printed texts were read, translated or circulated in manuscript in England.
2. The English reception of early modern political thought throws considerable light on religious controversy in Renaissance England.
3. Drama workshops, aimed at school children, can have illuminating insights on how early modern drama worked (and works) theatrically; and are brilliant ways to disseminate research ideas and an enthusiasm for Marlowian drama more widely.
4. I strongly recommend arranging to give a postgraduate or even undergraduate seminar abroad, especially if your research is 'international'! - it is really very productive and rewarding.
Sectors Creative Economy,Education

 
Description The fellowship's "impact" is chiefly related to the 9 drama workshops run during the fellowship, 6 in schools and 3 to undergraduate or postgraduate students at or visiting the University of Exeter. For a fuller discussion thereof, see 'Engagement Activities' section of this submission, and the project website (when it is switched on in late March 2016). At the time of writing there was no economic impact arising from the workshops, but some societal impact by: 1. getting participants to reflect on the links between drama and politics; 2. bringing Christopher Marlowe's provocative drama to a wider audience. 3. Giving potential English and drama teachers and theatre professionals tools for devising performance-based workshops that allow reflection on themes of community, power, and the morality of political action. Impact was also achieved by the seminar I gave to European Studies students at the University of Blaise Pascale, Clermont-Ferrand, France. In this seminar, to predominantly French students of different religious and ethnic backgrounds, I discussed how English drama was affected by religious conflict and massacre in France; the group was then asked to perform a scene in which a religiously motivated assassin kills the French king, in Marlowe's 'The Massacre at Paris', from both a pro-monarchical and pro-assassin perspective. The seminar was deliberately framed to allude to, and be seen in the light of, the Islamicist violence in Paris which had occurred a week before. I believe, from talking to the organiser of the seminar (Sandhya Patel), that it was not only thoroughly enjoyed by all present but had a significant impact on their thinking about the history of religious conflict in Europe.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Creative Economy,Education
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

 
Description Mobility Fellowship
Amount € 1,800 (EUR)
Organisation Blaise Pascal University 
Sector Academic/University
Country France
Start 05/2017 
End 05/2017
 
Description Drama Workshops in Devon 
Organisation Splendid Productions
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution During 2015 the 'International Christopher Marlowe' project ran nine drama workshops aimed at non academic audiences, aiming to explore/illustrate the relationship between Marlowe's drama and political ideas, as well as political thought and theatre more generally speaking. The first five workshops were devised and undertaken by Splendid Productions (dir: Kerry Frampton), after consultation with me, in July. The second four were run by Jimmy Whiteaker, a professional theatre maker who has worked with Splendid Productions in the past. We turned to Jimmy as we were only able to book five workshops in July because of the school exams period, and Kerry was unavailable later in the year.
Collaborator Contribution Splendid Productions are a professional theatre company with an expertise in political theatre and performance as well as working with children and young adults; Jimmy Whiteaker has similar experience. Both were able to turn my research into the association between Marlovian theatre and politics into a series of workshop exercises and activities suitable for beginners. For more details, see 'Engagement Activities' section of the Portfolio.
Impact - Feedback from participants - footage of workshops - website pages (see further in 'Engagement Activities')
Start Year 2014
 
Description PROJECT PROPOSAL: French Cleopatras in England, c. 1558-1642 
Organisation Blaise Pascal University
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This project, designed to run between late 2016 and early 2018, involves a partnership between myself and Professor Sophie Chiari, Universite Blaise Pascal. It aims to offer a new way of thinking about the relationship between French and English representations of Cleopatra, focusing on the ways English playwrights engaged with French literary and dramatic models between the accession of Elizabeth I, in 1558, and the outbreak of the first English Civil War (1642-46). It aims initially at a co-authored journal article of ca. 10,000 words. My contribution involves 'The material traces of French Cleopatras in England': examining surviving copies of early modern books, and English manuscript archives, for evidence of how, and in what contexts and (especially) alongside what other texts, 'French' Cleopatras were read. My chief research questions: • Who encountered French representations of Cleopatra and in what contexts? • What other representations of Cleopatra did such readers encounter? • What texts did these readers think they were reading and how did they read them (and why)? • How does this knowledge affect our interpretation of English Cleopatra texts? The findings from this research will be combined with my collaborator's, as outlined below.
Collaborator Contribution Professor Chiari will examine 'The mechanics of French-English literary translation', i.e. the lexical and idiomatic transformations visible in English translations of French 'Cleopatra' texts, in the context of English-French lexicography and cultural discussions or representations of the French language in the period. Chief research questions: • Why were certain French Cleopatra texts translated? What sort of text did the translator(s) believe themselves to be translating? • How do the translators' techniques correspond to the way the French language, and its literature, were taught and perceived in early modern England? • How does this knowledge affect our interpretation of English Cleopatra texts?
Impact None as yet.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Christopher Marlowe Drama Workshops in Devon, July and November 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact In July and November 2015 the project sponsored a series of 9 drama workshops aimed at introducing participants to the links between theatre and political ideas, using the plays of Christopher Marlowe as a basis. Derived from my own research findings, worked up into four separate 'briefing templates' and accompanied by a brochure on Marlowe and political theatre, the performance exercises and activities were devised and delivered by theatre professionals with expertise in political theatre and working with schools, Kerry Frampton of Splendid Productions (July) and Jimmy Whiteaker, an independent actor/theatre-maker (November).

6 of the workshops were delivered in schools. The following schools took part: Isca College (Exeter, 2 workshops with different age groups), Churston Ferrers Grammar School (nr. Torbay), Exeter School (Exeter), St. Peters (Exeter), Woodroffe School (Lyme Regis). Of the remaining workshops, one was delivered to PGCE English students at the University of Exeter, using the materials from school workshops to assist participants in devising their own ways of delivering performance workshops based around English Renaissance drama; one was run along similar lines for Exeter Drama undergraduates; and one was delivered to the Shakespeare Summer School at Exeter, and consisted of international students from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds.

The sessions aimed at encouraging thought and reflection about 'politics' and 'drama', as inflected towards or by the theme of the workshop chosen; each concluded with a discussion session, some of it filmed, and - not invariably - written feedback, either from student participants and teachers. We also asked, and *mostly* obtained, written feedback in the form of questionnaires. All feedback was broadly positive, with particularly excellent responses from Isca College and the PGCE cohort, who were extremely excited about the new avenues for teaching Renaissance drama we opened up (the majority of participants gave the workshop 5/5 and none less than 4); hopefully we have inspired a generation of new teachers to disseminate a performance-related approach and to be excited about Marlowe. The pupils came away with an impression of a provocative, edgy playwright.

Please note that there will be a website page devoted to these workshops, with far greater detail; however it is only likely to go online towards the end of March 2016 ('switching on' has been delayed by the need to secure permissions from copyright libraries for various images and reproductions)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Participation in Tudor Round Table, Tours, Sept 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact The problem I find with Research Fish is that when my funding council gives me money to give seminar papers overseas, there is no obvious place to enter it. The categories of Research Fish are so science-oriented they do not align with those used by my Research Council.

In September 2015, I gave a seminar paper at the University of Tours as part of a Tudor Round Table, 'Folly's Family, Folly's Children', hosted by Professor Richard Hillman (probably *the* expert on the links between English Renaissance drama and France). The paper was developed into a chapter submitted for a journal of conference proceedings (as yet unpublished).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://cesr.univ-tours.fr/servlet/com.jsbsoft.jtf.core.SG
 
Description Research and Teaching visit to University of Blaise Pascale, Clermont-Ferrand (France) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact In November 2015 I visited the University of Blaise Pascale in Clermont-Ferrand, France.

I delivered two separate research seminars, firstly to undergraduate and postgraduate students (approx. 20 students) studying English, and then to approx. 30 undergraduate students on a 'European Studies' course.

I also gave a one hour lecture at the 'Maison Des Sciences Humaines' aimed at an academic and postgraduate audience. This lecture was preceded by a filmed interview on my research, conducted by Professor Sophie Chiari, which is available on UBP's website (along with the lecture) and by December 2015 had received over 500 hits (see below for link). I was interviewed in the rather fabulous 'golden room' in the 18th century Hotel de Chazerat, which now hosts the Regional Centre for Cultural Affairs in Clermont-Ferrand (it is not part of the University)

The main benefits of the visit were making close academic contact with Professor Chiari; we are now exploring future collaborative research and professional exchanges between Exeter and UBP. Intellectually, I think my lecture highlighted for French audiences the intimate relationship between English Renaissance drama and French politics in the late sixteenth century, but in a way that shed light on the present feverish debates in France. The topic I covered in my lecture and in my seminar to the European Studies students concerned religious violence and massacre, lent added urgency by the fact that my visit took place only a few days after the IS-inspired massacres in Paris, in which a faculty member of UBP lost their life.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://videocampus.univ-bpclermont.fr/?v=tzLddgeDG5GS