April 28th, 2008

language, voyage

Quote of the Day

Is there a word for the shock you experience when you're reading something, and come across a bit that you've known for years, but you had no idea came from the work you were reading?

For example, I had no idea that this came from Christopher Marlowe's The Jew of Malta:

Fornication? But that was in another country, and besides, the wench is dead.

Reading Marlowe is fascinating, especially reading his plays chronologically. After reading Tamburlane the Great, I'd have been tempted to say that Marlowe was a hell of a poet, but not much of a dramatist. The Jew of Malta turns that on its head - there's very little in it that you'd want to quote for the beauty of the language (though some of it is wickedly funny - see above), but it's compelling dramatically. Also ragingly anti-Semitic, though Catholics and Muslims come in for a pretty good kicking as well.

If I were a wild-eyed conspiracy theorist, I might speculate that the plays of Christopher Marlowe were not written by him, but by someone of the same name.