Paperback review: The Marlowe Papers: A Novel in Verse, By Ros Barber
Sunday 17 February 2013
Ros Barber's readable prose poem captures effortlessly the brutality and the secrecy of Elizabethan England during the time of Christopher Marlowe's death, with murder and torture a constant threat, and love between men forbidden.
Invited to become one of Sir Francis Walsingham's spies, Marlowe treads a fine line in his undercover career that eventually allows him to escape into exile, where he continues his literary work as "William Shakespeare". It's an implausible theory yet it's also a huge credit to Barber's substantial powers that it convinces us, as she explores the connection between life and art, making links between the most famous of Shakespeare's plays and aspects of Marlowe's suggested life. And why write it all in verse? The man himself tells us: "A poem, the only code I know that tells the truth."
MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Film More romcom than S&M
Review: The Imitation Gamefilm
Comedy...to show her mastectomy scars
TVNetflix gets cryptic
TV review A moving film showing kids too busy to enjoy their youth
Books Not even a Man Booker prize could save Richard Flanagan from a nomination
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 'Not suppost to cry': 9-year-old lists the worst things about being a boy
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 4 Lana Del Rey rape video: Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking leaked footage
- 5 Largest ever study into the gay gene 'erodes the notion that sexual orientation is a choice'
Lee Evans announces his retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
Iggy Azalea responds to Eminem rape lyrics: 'I'm bored of old men threatening young women'
Angelina Jolie confirms retirement from acting: 'I've never been comfortable on-screen'
Lana Del Rey rape video: Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking leaked footage
Willow and Jaden Smith talk duality of apples, holographic realities and the melancholia of the ocean in incredible New York Times interview
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
'Muslims pre-date Columbus in discovering America,' says Turkish president Erdogan
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Former Tory PM Sir John Major says 'we would not have an NHS without migrants'