Bartels, Emily C.

Bartels, Emily C.

Christopher Marlowe in Context

  • Published Date: Cambridge University Press, 2013

Emily C. Bartels and Emma Smith (Editors)

titleThe life and death of Christopher Marlowe has long been shrouded in mystery and subject to speculation. One of the foremost dramatists of his day, Marlowe and his writings exerted an influence not only on the work of his contemporaries, including Shakespeare, but also on literary culture to the present. Setting Marlowe's writings in their historical context, this collection showcases the most exciting critics writing on critical and contextual approaches to his poems and plays, discussing both major and lesser-known works. In three sections, 'Marlowe's works', 'Marlowe's world', and 'Marlowe's reception,' short chapters tell a story ranging from classical literature through to modern cinema. Other topics covered include religion, geography, audience, and women. Chapters on the critics and Marlowe now show how and why his works continue to resonate and a comprehensive further reading list provides helpful suggestions for those who want to find out more.


Speaking of the Moor: From Alcazar to Othello

  • Published Date: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008
title"Speak of me as I am," Othello, the Moor of Venice, bids in the play that bears his name. Yet many have found it impossible to speak of his ethnicity with any certainty. What did it mean to be a Moor in the early modern period? At the turn of the sixteenth century, when England was expanding its reach across the globe, the Moor became a central character on the English stage. In The Battle of Alcazar, Titus Andronicus, Lust's Dominion, and Othello, the figure of the Moor took definition from multiple geographies, histories, religions, and skin colors.

Rather than casting these variables as obstacles to our—and England's—understanding of the Moor's racial and cultural identity, Professor Bartels argues that they are what make the Moor so interesting and important in the face of growing globalization, both in the early modern period and in our own. In Speaking of the Moor, Professor Bartels sets the early modern Moor plays beside contemporaneous texts that embed Moorish figures within England's historical record—Richard Hakluyt's Principal Navigations, Queen Elizabeth's letters proposing the deportation of England's "blackamoors," and John Pory's translation of The History and Description of Africa. Her book uncovers the surprising complexity of England's negotiation and accommodation of difference at the end of the Elizabethan era.


Spectacles of Strangeness

  • Published Date: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003

Emily C. Bartels

titleOriental barbarians, black magicians, homosexuals, African queens and kings, Machiavellian Christians, Turks, and Jews—for an English audience of the sixteenth century, these are marginal, unorthodox, and strange figures. They are also the central figures in the plays of Christopher Marlowe. In Spectacles of Strangeness, Professor Bartels focuses on Marlowe's preoccupation with "strangers" and "strange" lands, and his use—and subversion—of Elizabethan stereotypes. Setting Marlovian drama in the context of England's nascent imperialism, Bartels probes the significance of the alien as a vital presence on the Renaissance stage and within Renaissance society. Bartels further examines the reasons that Marlowe (himself a marginalized figure as playwright, and reputedly a homosexual, spy, and atheist) turned again and again to the subject. Bartels argues that what makes Marlowe's dramas so remarkable, important, and subversive is that he evokes these cultural stereotypes only to undermine them: to expose the circumscription of difference as a political strategy, designed to advance the self, state, and status quo over and against some "other." By interrogating Marlowe's works and their relation to England's imperialism, the author helps to explain why the "alien" was such a prominent figure in the Renaissance's theatrical and extra-theatrical discourses and how imperialism influenced the development of the early modern theater and the early modern state. Drawing on new historicist methodologies and recent assessments of colonialist discourse, Spectacles of Strangeness is a stimulating study of one of the most important figures in Renaissance literature and drama.