This year marks the 450th anniversary of the birth of two great Elizabethan writers: Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare. Though William Shakespeare is known as the author of some of the most famous plays and poems in the English-speaking world, Christopher Marlowe, if he is known at all, is known chiefly (though inaccurately) as a drunken brawler who was stabbed through the eye at the age of 29. It's every writer's worst nightmare: Break new ground and become a key influence on a contemporary, only for their work to eclipse yours entirely. Here are some other genius writers who suffered the same fate.
Ros Barber is the author of The Marlowe Papers, now available in paperback from St Martin's Griffin.