KYD, Thomas

(1558-1594)
"Industrious Kyd" was how Thomas Kyd's contemporaries referred to the father of the revenge tragedy. Yet this influential Elizabethan playwright, trans­lator, poet, and pamphleteer was so humble that he rarely signed and at the most initialed his works. A scrivener's son, Kyd grew up in a thriving commercial quarter of London. At seven he enrolled in the Merchant Taylors' School. Its remarkable headmaster, Richard Mulcaster, used languages, music, acting, and Latin as well as English books to teach his students "good behavior and audac­ity." This wide education influenced the range of Kyd's writing career. His first work was a translation from the Italian of Torquato Tasso's* Householder's Philosophy (1588). His last work was a translation from the French of Robert Garnier's* Pompey the Great, His Fair Cornelia's Tragedy (1594).
Young Kyd probably began his career as a dramatist writing for the Queen's Company. We can only speculate, however, about Kyd's part in building the troupe's repertory. His incredibly popular play The Spanish Tragedy (1592), admired and imitated for decades in England, Germany, and the Netherlands, does not appear to have been written for that company. He may have also authored a pre-Shakespearean Hamlet to which Thomas Nashe* alludes, but the play is not extant.
In 1587-88 Kyd entered the service of a lord as a tutor or secretary, com­menting with some condescension on playwrighting. He appears to have written some verses on Queen Elizabeth's* escape from the Tychborne conspiracy. Pa­tronage, poetry writing, and pamphleteering, however, did not pay enough for sustenance, and late in 1591 we find the two most prominent pre-Shakespearean tragedians, Kyd and Christopher Marlowe,* sharing a room and possibly writing together. In the following year Soliman and Perseda was registered, a tragedy so similar to The Spanish Tragedy in dramatic technique, plot, style, and ver­sification that most scholars today treat it as part of Kyd's canon.
On 12 May 1593 Kyd was apprehended for writing libelous pamphlets against foreign residents of London, but the charges got much more serious when the search of his lodgings yielded heretical writings. He claimed that the papers belonged to Marlowe and was soon released, but only after severe torture. He also lost the protection of his patron. To clear his name, Kyd sent letter after letter to Sir John Puckering, keeper of the great seal of England, but no amount of explaining the irreligious opinions of his already-dead roommate Marlowe could restore him to favor with his patrons. He died at thirty-six, broken in spirit, single, and destitute.
Bibliography
A. Freeman, Thomas Kyd: Facts and Problems, 1967.
Kirilka Stavreva

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

Look at other dictionaries:

  • KYD Thomas — Thomas Kyd Couverture de la Tragédie espagnole. Thomas Kyd est un dramaturge anglais né et mort à Londres (1558 1594). Il ne signa qu une pièce, Pompée le Grand et Cornélie (1595), traduite de la Cornélie de Robert Garnier. Il est considéré …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Kyd,Thomas — Kyd or Kid (kĭd), Thomas. 1558 1594. English dramatist who wrote The Spanish Tragedy (c. 1584), is thought to have contributed to Shakespeare s Titus Andronicus and Henry VI, and may have written a version of Hamlet. * * * …   Universalium

  • Kyd, Thomas — born Nov. 6, 1558, London, Eng. died с December 1594, London English dramatist. With The Spanish Tragedie (1592), he initiated the revenge tragedy, a favourite dramatic form in the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras in which the main motivation was… …   Universalium

  • Kyd, Thomas — ► (1558 94) Dramaturgo inglés. Autor de La tragedia española, melodrama influido por Séneca …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • KYD, THOMAS —    Elizabethan dramatist, born in London, and trained a scrivener, but won fame as a writer of tragedies, of which the best was The Spanish Tragedy (1557 1595) …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Kyd, Thomas —  (1558–1594) English playwright …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Kyd, Thomas — (1558 1595)    Dramatist, s. of a London scrivener, ed. at Merchant Taylor s School, appears to have led the life of hardship so common with the dramatists of his time, was for a short time imprisoned for treasonable and Atheistic views, and made …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

  • Kyd — Kyd, Thomas …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • KYD (T.) — KYD THOMAS (1558 1594) Baptisé à Londres le 6 novembre 1558, le mois et l’année de l’accession au trône de la reine Élisabeth, Thomas Kyd eut pour père un membre de la Compagnie des scribes (scriveners ) écrivains publics, si l’on veut, ou… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • KYD — steht als Abkürzung für: Kaiman Dollar Kyd ist der Nachname folgender Personen: Jesper Kyd, dänischer Komponist im Videospiele Bereich Robert Kyd (1746–1793), britischer Botaniker Thomas Kyd (1558–1594), ein elisabethanischer Dramatiker …   Deutsch Wikipedia


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