Latest Issue

What if… we didn’t have Shakespeare

Could Christopher Marlowe have equalled Shakespeare's achievement?

By Justina Crabtree  


Let’s play a simple game of word association. If I were to say “English literature,” I’d happily bet that you would volunteer “William Shakespeare.” Yet during his lifetime, Shakespeare’s leading role as our most famous playwright and poet was not assured. Enter Christopher Marlowe, a writer from similarly modest beginnings—son of a shoemaker and writer of contentious dramatic verse that pulsates with life. Born months apart in 1564, both dramatists were influenced by one another’s work as they…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect