The Marlowe Society
31 March 2007

Library Returns

Marlowe Society Library Finds a New Home

After a great deal of endeavour, the Marlowe Society has finally secured a home for its library of books at the Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre in Faversham, Kent. The collection, which currently comprises over 300 books, is being housed in its own room at the Centre, and access can be arranged through the Society.

The Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre in Faversham

The task of finding a home for the library has proved a lengthy and complicated one. The Society is indebted to the hard work and persistence of former Chairman Mike Frohnsdorff over a number of years. The first step was to identify a suitable location, one that was large enough to house the growing collection, and that could provide adequate facilities for those using the library to study. Having done this, it was necessary to put in place a contractual agreement that satisfied both parties, and ensured the library's longer term future.

The Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre, occupying three adjoining sixteenth century Grade II listed buildings, satisfied all the Society's criteria. The Centre had a room to offer, and is well used to housing historic collections: it is also home to the Faversham Museum, which boasts a collection of 15,000 items relating to the history of the town, including some 4,000 books and items of archive material, such as personal correspondence. Faversham is just 9 miles west of Marlowe's home city of Canterbury, whilst Christopher's father John was born in the neighbouring village of Ospringe. The town was also the setting for the anonymous play Arden of Faversham written in c.1590, which was based on the real-life 1551 murder of Thomas Arden in his house (which still stands today).

The Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre,
10-13, Preston Street,
Kent, ME13 8NS.
tel. 01795 534542

The process of indexing the library is currently underway. For this time-consuming task, the Society is extremely grateful to Colin Parry from the Fleur de Lis Centre, who has very kindly offered his services and expertise. Once the indexing is complete, it is planned to provide a list of all the books in the collection on this website, so that those interested in making use of the library can find out what is contained there.

The Marlowe Society Library comprises a wide range of books on Marlowe, all aspects of Renaissance drama and literature (including many on Shakespeare), as well as some on Elizabethan life and culture. Works on - and by - Marlowe include those (edited) by John Bakeless, Alexander Dyce, Calvin Hoffman, Harry Levin, J.B.Steane, and A.D.Wraight. There are facsimile editions of the collected works of Ben Jonson, the Beaumont-Fletcher Folio, and some volumes of Edmund Malone's 1790 edition of The Plays and Poems of William Shakespeare.

The library contains six books by Leslie Hotson, as well as sixteen by J.M.Robertson, who boasted a prodigious output in the first three decades of the twentieth century as he endeavoured to attribute authorship of a number of Shakespeare plays based on a scientific-based examination of textual style and vocabulary. There are other works on the Shakespeare authorship question, including J.T. Looney's original claim for Oxford and a later one by the Ogburns, and a number of books putting the Baconian case.

This is the second incarnation of the Marlowe Society Library. Clifford Russell, the Society's first secretary, assembled an impressive collection of books which included two original copies of Holinshed's Chronicles. However, on his death, the library was bequeathed to the Goldsmiths' College, although it is not clear what has happened to the books subsequently.

Following A.D.Wraight's sad death in 2002, the Marlowe Society inherited a large number of books that she owned. This triggered the idea of re-building a Society library, and Dr. Wolfgang Deninger from Leverkusen in Germany - a generous supporter of the Society down the years - contributed many books. Mike Frohnsdorff, despite remaining as the Society's extremely active Research Officer, has also donated a sizable number of his own books for inclusion. The Marlowe Society would like to say a big thank you to these and all other contributors.

The Library's collection of books by A.D.Wraight ('Dolly') is incomplete. The Society invites donations of her books from anyone who has copies that can be spared. Please contact the Society Secretary.

Two keys are held for the Marlowe Society Library room, which are in the possession of the committee. Members who would like to make use of the Library should contact the Society to arrange a time to visit. For obvious reasons, no books may be removed from the premises.

Please also contact the Marlowe Society if you would like to donate or bequeath books to the Library.

Please see out Marlowe Society Library page for details on how to access the library, the facilities available, and a link to our online library catalogue.

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