Thomas Kyd

Thomas Kyd, 1558–94, English dramatist, b. London. The son of a scrivener, he evidently followed his father's profession for a few years. In the 1580s he began writing plays. His literary fame rests on The Spanish Tragedy (c.1586), which initiated an important Elizabethan dramatic genre—the revenge tragedy. Popular throughout the 17th cent., The Spanish Tragedy is notable for its exciting action, splendid rhetoric, and complex delineation of character. Kyd is believed by some scholars to be the author of an earlier version of Hamlet, which Shakespeare used as the basis of his play. In 1593, Kyd was accused of holding unorthodox religious and moral views; he was arrested and subjected to torture. Although he extricated himself by implicating his friend Christopher Marlowe, his reputation was severely marred, and he died in poverty the following year.

See studies by A. Freeman (1967) and C. L. Barber (1988).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Thomas Kyd: Selected full-text books and articles

FREE! The Spanish Tragedy: A Play By Thomas Kyd; J. Schick J. M. Dent, 1898
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
Apocalypse & Armada in Kyd's Spanish Tragedy By Frank Ardolino Sixteenth Century Journal Publishers, 1995
An Introduction to Tudor Drama By Frederick S. Boas Clarendon Press, 1933
Librarian's tip: Chap. VII "Thomas Kyd and the Revenge Tragedies"
Shakespeare's Contemporaries: Modern Studies in English Renaissance Drama By Max Bluestone; Norman Rabkin Prentice-Hall, 1961
Librarian's tip: "The Theme and Structure of The Spanish Tragedy" begins on p. 46
Renaissance Historicism: Selections from English Literary Renaissance By Arthur F. Kinney; Dan S. Collins University of Massachusetts Press, 1987
Librarian's tip: "Senecan and Vergilian Perspectives in The Spanish Tragedy" begins on p. 108
Issues of Death: Mortality and Identity in English Renaissance Tragedy By Michael Neill Clarendon Press, 1998
Librarian's tip: "Kyd and the Ends of Revenge" begins on p. 211
Absorbing Interests: Kyd's Bloody Handkerchief as Palimpsest By Sofer, Andrew Comparative Drama, Vol. 34, No. 2, Summer 2000
FREE! The Genesis of Hamlet By Charlton M. Lewis Henry Holt, 1907
Librarian's tip: Chap. IV "Kyd and Belleforest"
Christopher Marlowe: A Biographical and Critical Study By Frederick S. Boas Clarendon Press, 1940
Librarian's tip: "Greene and Kyd" begins on p. 236
Shakespeare: A Life By Park Honan Oxford University Press, 1999
Librarian's tip: "Marlowe, Kyd, and Shoreditch" begins on p. 120
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