Thomas Middleton

Thomas Middleton, 1580–1627, English dramatist, b. London, grad. Queen's College, Oxford, 1598. His early plays were chiefly written in collaboration with Dekker, Drayton, and others. Between 1604 and 1611 he wrote realistic, satiric comedies of London life, including A Trick to Catch the Old One (c.1604), Michaelmas Term (c.1605), The Roaring Girl (c.1610, with Dekker), and A Chaste Maid in Cheapside (1611). His comedies, like his early pamphlets, expose contemporary vice and give graphic pictures of the more scabrous side of Jacobean life. During the years 1613 to 1618 he wrote tragicomedies. From 1621 to the end of his career he wrote his most notable plays, two powerful tragedies about the corruption of character, The Changeling (1622, with William Rowley,) and Women Beware Women (1625). Some modern scholarship suggests that he wrote a significant portion of Shakespeare's Timon of Athens (c.1607, pub. 1623). Middleton was severely reproved by the Privy Council for his anti-Spanish political satire, A Game at Chess (1624). In addition to his plays, he wrote civic pageants and masques.

See his works ed. by A. H. Bullen (8 vol., 1885–86); bibliography by S. J. Steen (1985); studies by C. Asp (1974) and A. L. Kistner (1984); B. Vickers, Shakespeare, Co-Author (2003).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Thomas Middleton: Selected full-text books and articles

Thomas Middleton, Renaissance Dramatist By Michelle O'Callaghan Edinburgh University Press, 2009
A Chaste Maid in Cheapside; Women Beware Women; The Changeling; A Game at Chess By Thomas Middleton; Richard Dutton Oxford University Press, 1999
Shakespeare's Contemporaries: Modern Studies in English Renaissance Drama By Max Bluestone; Norman Rabkin Prentice-Hall, 1961
Librarian’s tip: "Thomas Middleton and William Rowley: The Dramatic Structure of The Changeling" begins on p. 263
Venomous Woman: Fear of the Female in Literature By Margaret Hallissy Greenwood Press, 1987
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Thomas Middleton begins on p. 40
Jacobean Theatre By Edward Arnold, 1960
Librarian’s tip: Chap. VIII "Middleton's Experiments with Comedy and Judgement"
An Introduction to Stuart Drama By Frederick S. Boas Oxford University Press, 1946
Librarian’s tip: Chap. IX "Thomas Middleton-William Rowley: Dramas of Sex Complications"
Studies in the English Renaissance Drama By Josephine W. Bennett; Vernon Hall Jr.; Oscar Cargill New York University Press, 1959
Librarian’s tip: "James I, Bacon, Middleton, and the Making of The Peace-Maker" begins on p. 82
The Jacobean Drama: An Interpretation By U. M. Ellis-Fermor Methuen, 1936
Librarian’s tip: Chap. VII "Thomas Middleton"
Prostitution in Elizabethan and Jacobean Comedy By Anne M. Haselkorn Whitston, 1983
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Thomas Middleton begins on p. 76
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