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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: January ::
Marlowe Inquest
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0094  Wednesday, 14 January 2004

[1]     From:   Philip Tomposki <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 13 Jan 2004 08:49:37 -0500
        Subj:   Re: Bartolozzi Engravings

[2]     From:   D Bloom <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 13 Jan 2004 13:48:27 -0600
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.0087 Marlowe Inquest (Bartolozzi Engravings)


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Philip Tomposki <
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Date:           Tuesday, 13 Jan 2004 08:49:37 -0500
Subject:        Re: Bartolozzi Engravings

Don Bloom writes "...The man "leans forward" in order to bludgeon (?)
the middle man and strikes some kind of minor blow to his head. The man
then whirls about and stabs him in the eye. Ladies and gentlemen of the
jury it just doesn't work. "

Actually, it works quite well.  In 'The Reckoning' Charles Nicholl
suggest (and I agree) that Frizer's wounds, long, shallow gashes,
suggest he was being pummeled with the hilt of the knife.  This means
the point is up and would be moving toward Marlowe on the upswing.

Now try this, swing your arm down as if you were striking someone.
(Please use an imaginary knife - the Thane of Cawdor has one he can lend
you.)  At the nadir of your stroke, pull your forearm back as if being
pushed away by your victim.  You'll find the knifepoint strikes your
face near the eye.  (At least it does for me.)  Hemmed in by Skeres and
Poley, Fizer can only turn halfway and raise his arm to ward off the
blow.  If he happens to push Marlowe's arm away at the beginning of the
upswing, Marlowe's own movements contribute to the force of the blow.

Edward Brown refers to Fizer, Skeres and Poley as liars, frauds and
cheats.  Actually, they were professional liars, frauds and cheats.  Con
men and spies well practiced in the arts of deceit.  They would have
understood the KISS principle, Keep It Simple, Stupid!  Such an
elaborate story does not, to me, sound like something they would have
devised.  A stab to the heart would have been every bit as fatal, just
as easy to administer and much easier to explain.  Even better would be
a discrete assassination in some alleyway or on a country road.  The
only explanation that makes sense to me is the story is more or less true.

Philip Tomposki

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           D Bloom <
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Date:           Tuesday, 13 Jan 2004 13:48:27 -0600
Subject: 15.0087 Marlowe Inquest (Bartolozzi Engravings)
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.0087 Marlowe Inquest (Bartolozzi Engravings)

Thomas Larque refers to "Proponents of vast conspiracy theories" in
regard to comments on the death of Marlowe.

I hope he was not referring to mine because (a) I hold the same general
opinion about conspiracy theories, especially those dealing with
Elizabethan dramatists, and (b) my response was strictly technical. That
is, either there's something wrong with the coroner's report or there's
something wrong with my visualizing of it.

If the former, that does not necessarily mean anything more than that
Frizer et al. testified in a way that exonerated them from any blame,
and that the coroner was happy to accept it even if it didn't quite make
sense (as suggested). If the latter, then I was concerned to get a
clarification.

I tend to think in very visual, concrete terms and, in matters of drama
(real or fictional), to try to work them out as if I were staging them.
  When I can't, then I assume there's something wrong either with the
work or with me. And I want to know which, and what the right way of
staging it is.

(Don't imagine I think this is some kind of virtue. It makes me
absolutely worthless in philosophy, and sometimes gets me into hot water
-- as in the graduate class years ago where I asked the professor how
big Grendel was supposed to be.)

Cheers,
don

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