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What is the grammatical name of the first part of the following sentence in bold?

One of the greatest playwrights of the English Renaissance, Christopher Marlowe is known for his plays Doctor Faustus and Tamburlaine.

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This is an example of apposition. The bolded text is an appositive.

It helps to think about what the first part of the sentence is doing functionally. It is a noun phrase that describes Christopher Marlowe. (Who is Marlowe? One of the greatest playwrights of the English Renaissance!) More than that, as a noun phrase next to another noun phrase, it could substitute for the noun phrase it joins:

One of the greatest playwrights of the English Renaissance is known for his plays Doctor Faustus and Tamburlaine.

That is a bit riddle-like but functions as a sentence.

So this noun phrase, close in position to the noun phrase it helps gloss, is an appositive. Examples like the one here tend to highlight some trait or quality of the main noun phrase:

My grandfather, a lifelong non-smoker, attributed his longevity to a healthy lifestyle.

One could also rearrange the sentence to look like yours:

A lifelong non-smoker, my grandfather attributed his longevity to a healthy lifestyle.

Apposition can happen with the subject or predicate of a sentence.

The plays Doctor Faustus and Tamburlaine were written by Christopher Marlowe, one of the greatest playwrights of the English Renaissance.

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