In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Christopher Marlowe

  • Introduction
  • Bibliographies
  • Editions and Textual Studies
  • Surveys of Marlowe’s Plays and Other Writings
  • Collections of Essays
  • Intellectual Life and Literary Relations
  • Marlowe and Tragedy
  • Marlowe on Politics and Theology
  • Marlowe on Sexuality and Race
  • Reputation and Afterlife
  • Sources
  • Marlowe and Other Renaissance Dramatists
  • London Theaters and Acting Companies
  • Marlowe in Performance

Renaissance and Reformation Christopher Marlowe
David Bevington
  • LAST REVIEWED: 30 April 2021
  • LAST MODIFIED: 10 May 2010
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195399301-0046


Christopher Marlowe remains a fascinating subject for critical study. His short life of twenty-nine years (b. 1564–d. 1593) ended in a murder in a tavern brawl. Puritan preachers in London rejoiced in what was for them a clear sign of divine wrath at an unregenerate sinner. Marlowe had a reputation, whether deserved or not, as an atheist, a homosexual (though the term was not then known), and a disciple of the political heterodoxies of Machiavelli. His plays, beginning in 1587–1588 with the two parts of Tamburlaine, were an instant sensation for their challenging presentations of overreaching in the realms of religion, sexuality, and politics. Whether he was in fact as transgressive as this may sound remains highly controversial today.


These are useful lists of studies of Marlowe for anyone interested in further work on him, with particular time spans. Tannenbaum 1937 is by now out of date but helpful on earlier materials. Friedenreich 1979 picks up the story from 1950 to the late 1970s, and Brandt 1992 then carries forward to the early 1990s. More recent studies can be searched online.

  • Brandt, Bruce E. Christopher Marlowe in the Eighties: An Annotated Bibliography of Marlowe Criticism from 1978 through 1989. West Cornwall, CT: Locust Hill, 1992.

    An annotated bibliography for the years indicated here.

  • Friedenreich, Kenneth. Christopher Marlowe: An Annotated Bibliography of Criticism since 1950. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow, 1979.

    An annotated bibliography for the years 1950 to the late 1970s.

  • Tannenbaum, Samuel Aaron. Christopher Marlowe (A Concise Bibliography). New York: Scholars’ Facsimiles, 1937.

    A bibliography down to late 1937.

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