DEKKER, Thomas

(c. 1570-C. 1632)
Thomas Dekker, termed the "Dickens of the Elizabethan Age," was a collab­orative playwright best remembered for his observations of London life ex­pressed through his pamphlets.
No information about his education or family survives, and his life is gen­erally masked in mystery. There is evidence that Dekker had knowledge of the Dutch language, and some historians believe that he served his country in the Netherlands. There is record of a Mary "Decker" dying in 1616, but at Dekker's death, his wife's name was given as Elizabeth. Three baptismal records survive that suggest that Dekker did have children.
Philip Henslowe's* diary first mentions Dekker in 1588. The payment was for a lost piece, Phaethon, written for the Lord Admiral's Men. The diary rec­ords that between 1598 and 1602 Dekker wrote and collaborated on about forty plays, most of which are lost. The last payment to Dekker is recorded in 1604 for his work with Thomas Middleton* on The Honest Whore.
Dekker, after a brief term in debtor's prison in 1598, reached his peak in 1599 and the following years with such pieces as The Shoemaker's Holiday, Old Fortunatus, and later Satiro-Mastix and pamphlets like The Wonderful Year and The Seven Deadly Sins of London. He was then again confined to debtor's prison for a long spell from 1613 to 1619. Upon his emergence, Dekker found that a new crop of writers had established themselves in London and that he was now displaced.
In his own words, Dekker addressed the reader who wanted to be "amused and startled." Mingling simplicity with realism and romance, Dekker produced genial observations of London life. His sometimes-weak plots are tempered with a sweetness that exposes a deep knowledge of common humanity. Some critics state that his pamphlets are exaggerations of London life, but most credit Dekker with delivering the finest reports of life in early-seventeenth-century London.
Bibliography
G. Price, Thomas Dekker, 1969.
Karolyn Kinane

Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary. . 2001.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Dekker, Thomas — ▪ English dramatist born c. 1572, London, Eng. died c. 1632       English dramatist and writer of prose pamphlets who is particularly known for his lively depictions of London life.       Few facts of Dekker s life are certain. He may have been… …   Universalium

  • Dekker, Thomas — (?1570 1632)    Little is known about Dekkers s life, other than he lived in London and by 1598 he was writing for the Admiral s Men, an acting company. He and Ben Jonson were antagonists in what became known as the war of the poets or the war of …   British and Irish poets

  • Dekker,Thomas — Dek·ker (dĕkʹər), Thomas. 1572 1632. English playwright whose comedy The Shoemaker s Holiday (1600) is notable for its vivid portrayal of daily life in London. * * * …   Universalium

  • Dekker, Thomas — (1570? 1641?)    Dramatist and miscellaneous writer, was b. in London. Few details of D. s life have come down to us, though he was a well known writer in his day, and is believed to have written or contributed to over 20 dramas. He collaborated… …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

  • Dekker, Thomas — ► (1572 1632) Dramaturgo inglés. Obras: La fiesta del zapatero y La cortesana honesta, entre otras …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • DEKKER, THOMAS —    a dramatist, born in London; was contemporary of Ben Jonson, between whom and him, though they formerly worked together, a bitter animosity arose; wrote lyrics as well as dramas, which are light comedies, and prose as well as poetry; the most… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Dekker, Thomas —  (c. 1570–c. 1640) English playwright …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Dekker — Dekker, Thomas …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Thomas Decker — Thomas Dekker, auch Thomas Decker oder Thomas Dekkar, (* um 1572 in London; † 25. August 1632 ebenda) war ein englischer Dramatiker. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 2 Werke 3 Literatur 4 Weblinks …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Thomas Dekkar — Thomas Dekker, auch Thomas Decker oder Thomas Dekkar, (* um 1572 in London; † 25. August 1632 ebenda) war ein englischer Dramatiker. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 2 Werke 3 Literatur 4 Weblinks …   Deutsch Wikipedia


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