This is big in the literature world. From NPR:
Oxford University Press has announced that its new edition of the complete works of William Shakespeare will credit Christopher Marlowe as a co-author on the three Henry VI plays.
Despite years of controversy about the authorship of some of Shakespeare's work, this is the first time a major publishing house has formally named Marlowe as a co-author.
Christopher Marlowe is a 16th century British poet and playwright. The extent of his possible influence on (or even collaboration with) William Shakespeare is the subject of much academic scholarship, as NPR has reported, but for many years, mainstream academics had mostly derided efforts of independent scholars who challenged the authorship of plays attributed to Shakespeare.
Christopher Marlowe was a contemporary playwright to Shakespeare and a great poet in his own right. Marlowe and Shakespeare were born the same year (1564) and Marlowe was a great playwright before Shakespeare. But Marlowe died young at 29 years old, stabbed to death. A lot of allegations swirled around Marlowe’s life, but it was uncertain if his murder was related. It was alleged that Marlowe was an atheist and was to be arrested, but he died before that happened. All those allegations are rather nebulous, if you ask me, so it’s hard to say what is true. The NPR article goes on to say:
Much of the authorship analysis is quite technical because it involves analyzing every word of entire plays, looking for patterns and clues.
I would love to see the analysis in some detail. However this is not a consensus opinion. The article continues:
Carol Rutter, a professor of Shakespeare and performance studies at the University of Warwick, told the BBC, "It will still be open for people to make up their own minds. I don't think [Oxford University Press] putting their brand mark on an attribution settles the issue for most people.
Rutter told the BBC, "I believe Shakespeare collaborated with all kinds of people ... but I would be very surprised if Marlowe was one of them."
As for how Marlowe's vocabulary and style could have made it into Shakespeare's work without direct collaboration, Rutter said: "It's much more likely that he started his career working for a company where he was already an actor, and collaborated not with another playwright but with the actors — who will have had Marlowe very much in their heads, on the stage, in their voices. ... They were the ones putting Marlowe's influence into the plays."
Either way, this is big in the Shakespeare criticism world.
Here’s a little mini biography of Christopher Marlowe.