PDF/EPUB Charles Nicholl ð The Reckoning The Murder of Christopher Marlowe PDF ð

In 1593 the brilliant but controversial young playwright Christopher Marlowe was stabbed to death in a Deptford lodging house The circumstances were shady the official account—a violent uarrel over the bill or recknynge—has been long regarded as dubiousHere in a tour de force of scholarship and ingenuity Charles Nicholl penetrates four centuries of obscurity to reveal not only a complex and unsettling story of entrapment and betrayal chimerical plot and sordid felonies but also a fascinating vision of the underside of the Elizabethan worldProvides the sheer enjoyment of fiction and might just be true—Michael Kenney Boston GlobeMr Nicholl's glittering reconstruction of Marlowe's murder is only one of the many fascinating aspects of this book Indeed The Reckoning is eually compelling for its masterly evocation of a vanished world a world of Elizabethan scholars poets con men alchemists and spies a world of Machiavellian malice intrigue and dissent—Michiko Kakutani New York TimesThe rich substance of the book is his detail the thick texture of betrayal and evasion which was Marlowe's life—Thomas Flanagan Washington Post Book WorldWinner of the Crime Writer's Gold Dagger Award for Nonfiction Thriller


10 thoughts on “The Reckoning The Murder of Christopher Marlowe

  1. says:

    What becomes a legend most ?The writing herein murders Marlowe a 2d time


  2. says:

    Marlowe is an author I've dedicated a lot of attention to and who has weirdly meant a lot to me since I was fifteen or so which I can't entirely explain to others This is a book I've known about for ages I remember in my first English class at university the professor spoke about this book when filling us in on Marlowe's biography and I meant to read it then I meant to read it at so many different times in the intervening years and this very website repeatedly recommended it as a book aligned with my interestsGiven my interest in Marlowe and my tendency to engage with any piece of information about him that comes my way very little in the first part of this book was new to me Yet I liked that It was like going back to a comforting re read except with the novelty of reading something for the first time I knew all the players I knew the scene I knew the long day at Eleanor Bull's and the suspicious connections of all those involved I still thrilled at every revelation that I knew was coming and by god I could not stop talking about it to anyone too polite to ask me to shut it As I progressed through the book it drew out about the 'secret theatre' of Elizabethan intelligence work with all its peculiar double dealing characters Nicholl makes uite liberal connections and suppositions at times but also acknowledges this and notes that we only have documents to work with and can seldom know the motives or reception of those documentsPart of what made this book familiar is the love I bore for Anthony Burgess' A Dead Man in Deptford which I found in a used bookstore when I was sixteen on a trip to The City and which was one of my favourites for uite some time It's probably been ten years since I last read it but now I'm deeply inclined to revisit it and determine what debt it owes to this work of Nicholl's


  3. says:

    According to the coroner's report Christopher Marlowe was fatally knifed following an argument with friends over a dinner bill Rumor later augmented this story making Marlowe's killer a romantic rival and the location of their fracas a bawdy house In fact it wasn't a bawdy house but a respectable inn run by a widow of means and Marlowe's killer was a con man as proved by surviving legal documents just as documents of a clandestine nature prove that one of the witnesses to Marlowe's murder was employed as a spy in the service of Elizabeth I So too evidence strongly indicates was a second witness and Marlowe himself appears to have been a spy beginning with his student days at Cambridge Though only twenty nine at the time of his death he was already well established as a dramatist and poet but espionage paid the bills as literature could not Ah the writing life Le plus le change le plus le meme chose In trying to ferret out the reason for Marlowe's murder The Reckoning finally and convincingly points to the power struggle between Marlowe's patron Sir Walter Ralegh and Ralegh's nemesis the Earl of Essex with Marlowe unwittingly caught in the middle and than a few strings pulled by Robert Cecil who succeeded Sir Francis Walsingham as Elizabeth's spymaster And then there are the various minions renegades double agents provocateurs counterfeiters and occasionally reluctant claimants to the English throne Convoluted? Yes it is at times dizzily so and that's my only lament about an otherwise brilliant book that here and there brings the Elizabethans refreshingly to life


  4. says:

    The death of Marlowe in 1593 is the start and end point of this dense and detailed investigation as Nicholl attempts to uncover what really happened on that day in Deptford His archival research is exemplary but I found myself less and less convinced by his theory as the book went on The 'evidence' is so fragmentary fraught and fluid that it could be made to tell other stories than the one that Nicholl tells here and there is nothing that privileges the one he chooses other than his own convictionThere are various points at which Nicholl's understanding of Elizabethan concepts is less than exact and he tends to assume that words had the same meanings in the 1590s that they have today 'gay' for example or 'atheism' which tended to be used for any kind of religious and social unorthodoxy eg Catholicism rather than the modern meaning; 'magic' too could be used for what we now recognise as science rather than the esoteric and occult practises that Nicholl assumes All of these misunderstandings colour his theory which doesn't then stand up to rigorous interrogationMarlowe's use of Machiavelli in his dramas which Nicholl makes much of needs to be contextualised against the plethora of literary mentions of Machiavelli eg Shakespeare's Edmund in King Lear and seen as a cultural marker rather than an indication necessarily of Marlowe's own political beliefsAlthough I enjoyed reading this I felt that the story became fevered and insubstantial as it drew towards the end and the final conclusion I was reading the 1992 edition which I understand has now been revised I personally found unbelievable That anyone should target Marlowe as a stand in for a powerful rival seems unnecessary given the politics of the time and the supposed perpetrator is hardly a man known for his political subtleties It makes the whole story ultimately extremely convoluted which I found unconvincingSo if you're interested in a clever archival search which delves deep into the Elizabethan underworld then this is a good read But I think there are still stories about Marlowe and others to be uncovered


  5. says:

    I love novels set in Shakespeares time and so when I saw a book focused on the mysterious death of Shakespeares rival Marlowe I was interested When I started reading I was surprised that this was not a novel but a nonfiction investigation This is not the fault of the author just a surprise for meI can’t imagine how difficult it is to investigate a murder that took place over 400 years Having said that I’m very impressed with the research done to create this book No leaf is left unturned however when all the pieces are presented it ended up just not being very interesting Chapter after chapter presents a new character with a similar story of being involved as a spy The best part of the book for me is when the Babbington plot is discussed I found myself wishing I bought a book about that as opposed to the Marlowe murder I walk away agreeing with the authors belief that Marlowe may have been murdered for than just a disagreement in a bar but I didn’t love the journey


  6. says:

    What's known is always limited the present only views a partial past What Charles Nicholl does with Christopher Marlowe's murder is examine it from every known angle like a wet weapon found in an empty room then share his findings Posterity prefers poets to spies but this young man could not be so choosy He lived on his wits or else went hungry For fans of Marlowe espionage history and those who wish to consider the workings of government then and now


  7. says:

    A good attempt at unravelling something which is probably going to be shrouded in mystery for ever The uestions about Marlowe's life and interests make him a fascinating figure in late Elizabethan London; stir in his ambiguous sexuality and the possibility he was a paid agent of the English intelligence service and you have a rich brew for a novel let alone a history


  8. says:

    Nicholl makes a very strong case for his theory of political intrigue as the motivation behind the murder of Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe Nicholl’s scholarly and convincing arguments notwithstanding I find in my 2000 edition of The Oxford Guide to English Literature that “Marlowe died in a knife fight in a London tavern” Old myths die hardThe Elizabethan era was a brutal one The plague was claiming hundreds of victims annually the antagonism between Catholics and Protestants was escalating England was mired in a seemingly endless conflict with Spain there was a growing resentment of the large immigrant population of London and the uestion of the succession to the throne loomed large since the aging Elizabeth had no heir In many ways this society bears a striking resemblance to that of America today It was highly polarized along religious political class and ethnic lines Huge amounts of resources were being poured into international conflicts In such an environment conspiracies abounded spying was rampant compromise was viewed as weakness and the ends were considered to justify any and all means For a man of humble origins with literary aspirations like Marlowe undercover work could provide a financial safety net as well as an entrée to the circles of wealthy and powerful potential patronsNicholl lucidly presents well researched well documented evidence for his interpretation of the events surrounding Marlowe’s death He builds his case methodically and logically but the result is never tedious Although his findings cannot be said to be conclusive they are certainly compelling


  9. says:

    Here is a totally misleading phraseProvides the sheer enjoyment of fiction and might just be trueI was totally mislead by this critic's statement and duped into reading this scholarly tome No I am not using the word tome to show off It's the best word choice because it describes exactly what this book is a book especially a large heavy scholarly oneOther reviewers have said that this book reads like a John le Carre novel It doesn't It reads like a scholarly exploration of a viable theory about a somewhat obscure writer and his even obscure acuaintances That's not a bad thing if that's what you expect From that perspective this is a definite four star book maybe even a five star one However if you're Jo Average like I am and you're expecting something similar to Junius and Albert's Adventures in the Confederacy A Civil War Odyssey this is not it In this case it's a two star book Sure the section on the Babington Plot Mary ueen of Scots is pretty fascinating but the rest is just a slog If you would like to ready something about the Elizabethan time period that is entertaining I would recommend reading The School of Night before I would ever recommend The Reckoning Leave The Reckoning for the literary history fiends


  10. says:

    As he did in his book on Shakespeare The Lodger Nicholl teases out seemingly unconnected pieces of evidence here concerning the death of Marlowe and shows a likely relationship between them Using the same techniue that a classical era detective might apply to traces of a crime but without bringing in a man with a gun Nicholl makes the reader aware of a lot of Elizabethan history not usually mentioned in the history books but true nevertheless The Elizabethan age turns out to have been a highly unstable one with Catholic Spain a constant threat and men died in the Cold War being raged One of them was Marlowe the most gifted of all Elizabethan authors One of the survivors was Shakespeare a much cautious man This is a great piece of investigative history writing and well worth the effort to come to grips with a very different age which has yet many similarities with the one we live in