The Marlowe Society
12 December 2012

2012 Hoffman Prize Winners Announced

Peter Farey Wins Prize for Second Time

The King's School in Canterbury have just announced that Marlowe Society member Peter Farey has been jointly awarded the twenty-third Calvin & Rose G Hoffman Prize for a distinguished publication on Christopher Marlowe. The joint winners are:

By a curious coincidence, both Peters have won the Hoffman Prize on a previous occasion: Peter Farey for his essay Hoffman and the Authorship in 2007, and Dr. Roberts for his submission in 2002 entitled "View but his picture in this tragic glass": Marlowe's Image and Identity. They now join Dominic Cleary (who jointly won the prize in both 2010 and 2011) in a distinguished trio of two-times winners.

Peter Farey's essay examines the question of whether the "Morley" who was for some three and a half years a tutor to Arbella Stuart - second only to James VI of Scotland as the heir to the English throne - was in fact Christopher Marlowe. Of the many biographers both of Arbella and of Marlowe, only two have given any serious consideration to this question, and concluded that whilst it may be possible it is not all that probable. Peter's essay argues that consideration of all the evidence currently available does in fact make it highly likely that Christopher Marlowe was the tutor in question, who had been planted on Arbella by Lord Burghley.

The Hoffman Prize was again adjudicated this year by Professor Park Honan, Emeritus Professor of English and American Literature at Leeds University and author of one the best biographies written about our playwright: Christopher Marlowe: Poet and Spy (2005). The prize itself was established as a bequest by Calvin Hoffman, author of the 1955 book The Murder of the Man Who Was Shakespeare, which posited that Marlowe's death in Deptford in 1593 was in fact faked, and that he rather went on to write the works now attributed to Shakespeare. A substantial Trust Fund was set up that will be awarded to anybody who can produce "irrefutable" evidence that Marlowe was the real author.

In the meantime, an annual prize is also awarded for the essay that "most convincingly, authoritatively and informatively examines and discusses the life and works of Christopher Marlowe, and the authorship of the plays and poems now commonly attributed to Shakespeare". Both prizes are administered by the King's School, who appoint an appropriate adjudicator each year to make the judgement.

As well as Peter Farey, previous winners of the annual Prize have included Marlowe Society members Ros Barber in 2011, Donna Murphy in 2010, and Society Vice-President Prof. Lisa Hopkins (1994). Other winners have included Prof. James Shapiro (Columbia University, also 1994), Prof. Jonathan Bate (University of Liverpool, 1995), Prof. David Riggs (Stanford University, 1998), and Prof. Michael Hattaway (University of Sheffield, 2001).

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