Tamburlaine Pt. 1

In the Boston Public Library, we looked at the quarto of Tamburlaine the Greate, written by Christopher Marlow.  This edition was printed in 1605 by Richard Jones, who left out the author’s name for unknown reasons.  It also included a letter from Jones stating how he wished plays would be a literary form, and he possibly wanted the work to be attributed to him.  Tamburlaine the Greate was a very popular play when it was first performed in 1587, and inspired Marlowe to write a part II to the play.  The blacktype font was used in this printing, which uses more embellishments in the lettering.  This quarto was added to the Barton Library at the Boston Public Library in May of 1873.

Tamburlaine IN SITU doc analysis form

Tamburlaine DIGITAL doc analysis form

Above are the two different document analysis forms for Tamburlaine the Greate  The first is the one recorded during the first BPL trip on 2/10 and the second form is the one recoded through EEBO’s digital version of Tamburlaine.


This image comes from EEBO, it displays the electronic version of the title page of Tamburlaine the Greate. This version has no attribution to the author, Christopher Marlowe.


This image was taken during our visit to the Boston Public Library. Specifically, it’s the title page of Tamburlaine the Greate, but it has a very unique quality. Above the right side of the black line that runs horizontal, “C. Marlowe” is handwritten as marginalia on the page. This is interesting because it allows us to question why Marlowe wasn’t a printed author on the page in the first place. Who actually wrote this name in and for what purpose? Could the printer have left out Marlowe’s name purposefully in search of his own selfish fame? In handling the hard copy, one can experience part’s of the text that are unattainable when dealing with digitally archived versions.


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