The Marlowe Society
Catharinus Dulcis (1540-1626)
Catharinus Dulcis (1540-1626): The French version of his name, which he also used as appropriate, was Catherin Le Doux.
10 May 2014

Le Doux Identified

Monsieur Le Doux discovered to be European scholar Catharinus Dulcis

The elusive Monsieur Le Doux has finally been tracked down and his real identity confirmed. Marlovians who believe that Christopher Marlowe faked his own death in Deptford in 1593, have for many years investigated the possibility that Le Doux was a false identity used by the exiled playwright when undercover back in England. But now two Marlovian researchers, Geoffrey Caveney and Peter Farey, have demonstrated beyond doubt that Le Doux was in fact a European scholar Catharinus Dulcis who was also known as Catherin Le Dou(l)x.

The theory that Le Doux was really Marlowe post-Deptford was first put forward by A.D. Wraight in her book Shakespeare: New Evidence published in 1996. Wraight discovered a 1596 letter in the papers of Anthony Bacon, who was then in the employ of the Earl of Essex, with instructions to a Monsieur Le Doux on the types of information to gather whilst travelling abroad. Further investigation revealed documents listing the contents of Monsieur Le Doux's library, and the contents of his chest, specifically a list of the correspondence bundles therein.

Wraight believed that many of the books listed provided source material for Shakespeare's plays, which she also believed had in fact been written by Marlowe after his escape from Deptford. She also examined the handwriting of the Le Doux documents, and believed it "favourably compared" to the so-called Collier-leaf manuscript, which she also believed to be in Marlowe's hand based on similarities with his single extant signature. Her conclusion was that "Monsieur Le Doux and Christopher Marlowe are one and the same person."

Much investigation since has failed to conclusively link Le Doux to Marlowe, but now Geoffrey Caveney has discovered a letter written by one Catharinus Dulcis from London in November 1594, which is additionally signed with the French version of his name, 'Le Doulx'. Further detailed research by Caveney in conjunction with Peter Farey has confirmed that this man is the same Monsieur Le Doux, owner of library and chest, about to travel to Europe in 1596 with instructions on what information to supply to Essex.

Catharinus Dulcis (1540-1626) was born in Savoy, but travelled Europe as a scholar of the Italian and French languages, later becoming a professor at the protestant University of Marburg in Germany. He stayed in England from 1594-96, working for Essex and Bacon, and as a tutor in the household of Sir John Harington. Clearly this discovery shows that Le Doux is not Marlowe in any shape or form.

Further information on Caveney and Farey's discovery can be found at The Marlowe-Shakespeare Connection website.

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