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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume IV. Prose and Poetry: Sir Thomas North to Michael Drayton.

VII. Marlowe and Kyd

§ 7. Marlowe’s share in other Plays

In these six plays we have all the dramatic work directly planned, and, with minor reservations, written, by Marlowe. It would be foolish to claim that the texts are approximately pure; but till a more exact canon of criticism than that a young genius may not be astoundingly unequal in his handling be available, we prefer to hold him responsible for nearly all that goes to the making of the current texts. The terms of this vexing problem of collaboration are changed when we come to consider Marlowe’s claims to a share in other men’s work. Here, it is clear that the plea must be that certain passages are in the manner of Marlowe, and of Marlowe at his best. There are few, if any, tests left to us, save the risky evidence of style—all the more risky in the case of a writer who is severely judged as an extravagant. Thus, Locrine appears to Malone—and as a firm article of his critical faith—to resemble the style of Marlowe “more than of any other known dramatick author of that age.” It would be as difficult to make this strange claim good as it has been to show the play to be Shakespeare’s. So, too, with Edward III—or an earlier draft of that pseudo-Shakespearean play—which Fleay described, without evidence and against probability, as Marlowe’s gift to his successor. Not less peremptorily may be dismissed the miserable play A Larum for London which Collier tried to foist on the dramatist on the strength of some forged rigmarole on his copy of that piece; and Lusts Dominion; Or, The Lascivious Queen (printed in 1657), which Collier, by way of amends, showed to contain allusions to events posterior to Marlowe’s death; and, with these two, The Maiden’s Holiday (now lost, through Warburton’s cook), a comedy associated with the name of Day, who was not at work in Marlowe’s lifetime.