Thomas Dekker

Thomas Dekker, c,1570–1632, English dramatist and pamphleteer. Little is known of his life except that he frequently suffered from poverty and served several prison terms for debt. He began his literary career c.1598 working for Philip Henslowe. During this period he wrote his most famous play, The Shoemaker's Holiday (1600), a delightful domestic comedy concerning the success of Simon Eyre, a master shoemaker who becomes the lord mayor of London. The play is notable for its realistic depiction of everyday life in 17th-century London as well as for Dekker's strong use of romantic fantasy in his depiction of characters. After collaborating with John Webster on Westward Ho (1604) and Northward Ho (1605) and with Thomas Middleton on the first part of The Honest Whore (1604; Part II, 1630), Dekker turned to writing pamphlets, the most notable being The Seven Deadly Sins of London (1606) and The Gull's Hornbook (1609), a satiric account of the fops and gallants of his day. In 1610 he returned to playwriting, writing separately and in collaboration with Middleton (The Roaring Girl, 1611), Philip Massinger (The Virgin Martyr, 1622), John Ford, and others. Many of his works, however, have been lost. He was known to have at least partially written over 40 plays, of which about 15 are extant.

See edition of his plays by F. Bowers (4 vol., 1953–61); studies by G. R. Price (1969), T. Bose (1979), and L. Champion (1985).

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

Thomas Dekker: Selected full-text books and articles

The Plague Pamphlets of Thomas Dekker By Thomas Dekker; F. P. Wilson Clarendon Press, 1925
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 Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
FREE! Thomas Dekker: A Study By Mary Leland Hunt Columbia University Press, 1911
English Civic Pageantry, 1558-1642 By David M. Bergeron Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 2003 (Revised edition)
Librarian's tip: Chap. 6 "Thomas Dekker"
Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England By S. P. Cerasano Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, vol.26, 2013
Performing Places in Thomas Dekker's Old Fortunatus By Frazer, Paul Philological Quarterly, Vol. 89, No. 4, Fall 2010
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
An Introduction to Stuart Drama By Frederick S. Boas Oxford University Press, 1946
Librarian's tip: Chap. VI "John Marston-Thomas Dekker: Melodrama and Civic Comedy"
Jacobean Theatre By John Russell Brown; Bernard Harris Edward Arnold, 1960
Librarian's tip: Discussion of Thomas Dekker begins on p. 63
Prostitution in Elizabethan and Jacobean Comedy By Anne M. Haselkorn Whitston, 1983
Librarian's tip: Chap. III "The Puritan View: Thomas Dekker"
Playing Companies and Commerce in Shakespeare's Time By Roslyn Lander Knutson Cambridge University Press, 2001
Librarian's tip: Discussion of Thomas Dekker begins on p. 135
Shakespeare's Contemporaries By Max Bluestone; Norman Rabkin Prentice Hall, 1961
Librarian's tip: Discussion of Thomas Dekker begins on p. 157
Cyclopedia of World Authors By Dayton Kohler; Frank N. Magill Harper & Row, 1958
Librarian's tip: Discussion of Thomas Dekker begins on p. 279
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