I am reading: 'Shakespeare's Restless World-- A Portrait of an Era in Twenty Objects' I like it very much already.
I am only on chapter one, which is about maps and globes. It compares the England of the 1580's and 1590s to the US during the 1960s. Interesting. It says that we can imagine the explorers like Drake by thinking of the space race. There was that sense of competitive boosterism. And that the theaters needed a new kind of writers. We can imagine that by thinking of the early TV writers and ad men. That the new maps, showing the new territories were put up where the public could see them, and that it led to a sort of national chest beating and a sense of expansionism.
It says that a lot of the fresh topical stuff in his plays goes by us now. (Like the part in the Comedy of Errors where the unfortunate maid-servant is compared to a globe, with lots of xenophobic giggles...) That would have been 'ripped from the headlines' of the time.
So, I am going to have a lot of fun with this book, I can tell already. And anything I learn about WS, has application for Marlowe.
Funny how research works, isn't it? It is like making chicken stock. You have the onions and the carrots, and the celery, and and all the chicken parts, and it looks like so much until you put it in the pot, and then so much boils away, and you end up with just a little bot of something, but if you are lucky it is chicken stock-- or a story.
My hope is that by doing a huge amount of research, I will be able to make the world of the story feel real and right. Actually, you know, maybe it is more like making kale soup than it is chicken broth. You take the awkward, bitter, uncooperative kale and you shove it in the largest pot you have...
Now I am hungry.