Saturday, May 19, 2012

Poet Ros Barber publishes authorship novel in verse

Book photo courtesy of Ros Barber
The Marlowe Papers: a Novel in Verse by poet Ros Barber proposes Christopher Marlowe as the author of the Shakespeare canon. The book will be released as a Kindle ebook in the US on May 25, 2012 and will be published in hardcover by McMillan's St. Martin's Press in January 2013. The UK hardcover edition published by Sceptre is available now on The Marlowe Papers was reviewed as  "Bard Times: this novel in subtle verse will make one look back in wonder at an era of riddles, disguises, allusions and concealments" by Suzi Feay in the May 19, 2012 edition of the Financial Times/London. Feay says:
It’s enough to strike despair into the heart of James Shapiro, author of Contested Will, as well as the hearts of all the other Shakespeare experts who refute the so-called “authorship controversy”. This novel, written entirely in fast-moving iambic pentameter, embellishes the notion that Christopher Marlowe wrote the Shakespearean canon after falsely being declared dead in a Deptford brawl. 
The fiction work is part of Barber's doctor of philosophy thesis on Marlowe. Her doctorate was granted by the University of Sussex in May 2011. A text of the critical component of her thesis is available online at

Barber's views may be seen in a 45 minute video available online at A quote from her website at characterizes her viewpoint in this manner:
[Dr. Barber] argues for a return to the first principals of historical research, a critical re-examination of evidence, and an appreciation of the extent to which our existing beliefs filter our perceptions of what is 'true'. Beyond the ostensible subject, it emphasises the necessity of encouraging students to ask questions, rather than supplying them with answers.
Last November (2011) Barber wrote in her web log about Emmerich's Anonymous, Roe's Shakespeare Guide to Italy, Prince Charles's confusion over the nature of evidence, and her view of the authorship question:
To question the authorship of Shakespeare has long been an academic taboo, and the whole thrust of my research has been to argue that it is a taboo that needs to be broken.
The Marlow Papers will be launched May 29, 2012 at the British Library where Dr. William Leahy will join Barber and Will Self in discussion. More info here: 

UPDATE 06/07/12: See also video at

Ros Barber
Financial Times
Kindle ebook May 25 in US: