About the BookThe idea of the European Renaissance holds a perennial fascination for the Indian academics in general and for the teachers and students of English literature in particular. If a poll were conducted to identify one English writer who represents the quintessential Renaissance spirit, it is almost certain that the overwhelming majority of scholars would vote for Christopher Marlowe. Both his life and works continue to fascinate the readers more than four hundred years after his death: his life for his rise from a relatively humble origin to the position of the foremost dramatist of his time, his allegedly shocking and heterodox views on religion and other subjects, his secret and shady assignments and his untimely and violent end, and his works for the overreaching heroes, with “aspiring minds” and souls “still climbing after knowledge infinite”.
The book examines Marlowe’s plays in the context of the philosophy of the Renaissance humanism and demolishes certain wrong notions in Marlowe-criticism, including the heresy of atheism which even the standard critics have dismissed as ‘witch-hunt’. Marlowe’s problem was not to choose between Catholicism and Protestantism but to interpret Christianity as he understood it. He is a humanist and his humanism is akin to the humanism of the Greeks as was revived by the bishops in the Middle Ages, known as the Christian humanism that “one can be pro-man without being anti-God”. It also holds that those who wilfully seek divorce from God in His theatrical universe lose self-esteem and meet ruination.
Marlowe was fully aware of the time’s disorders and the truths of man as to what extent he could stretch the far more venturesome romantic voyages of the mind in a bid to be more than human which proved his “tragic flaw”. This is what Berdyaev speaks of as the self destructive principle in humanism: “When man lost the spiritual centre of Being he lost his own at the same time”. The study underlines this Elizabethan experience of humanism’s self destructive nature and suggests with repeated emphasis the “middle path” between the “new learning” and the medieval fatalism which is essential for the survival of humanity.
The book will be useful for the students and teachers of English literature and researchers of Renaissance humanism and Christopher Marlowe.About the Author/sR.K. Sharma has taught English literature for nearly thirty years. He retired as Reader and Head, Dept. of English at Postgraduate Regional Centre of M.D. University, Rohtak. His first publication, Isolation and Protest: A Study of J.P. Donleavy's Fiction (The Humanities Press, New Jersey) was widely acclaimed both in India and abroad. His other works include Contemporary Black Humour American Novels (Ajanta Books International); Modern American Literature (ed); and Mass Media Men of Arya Samaj: A Historical Perspective
(co-authored). He has contributed numerous articles in literary journals and presented papers in many conferences. He has also guided doctoral research in English literature.
Ved Parkash Sharma is currently working as Associate Professor in the Dept. of English at Govt. P.G. College, Kanwali, Rewari. He got his Ph.D. degree on “Quest for Freedom: A Study of Bernard Malamud’s Novels” in 1999. He has attended several conferences and contributed numerous articles and research papers in various literary journals of repute. His area of interest is philosophy and literature.