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 born into a family of Dutch immigrants living in London and is first mentioned as a playwright in 1598. He apparently wrote to support himself, and he had a hand in at least 42 plays written in the next 30 years. In the dispute known as “the poets' war” or “the war of the theatres (theatres, war of the),” he was satirized in Ben Jonson's (Jonson, Ben) Poetaster (produced 1601) as Demetrius Fannius, “a very simple honest fellow. . . a dresser of plays.” This precipitated Dekker's own attack on Jonson in the play Satiro-mastix (produced 1601). Thirteen more plays survive in which Dekker collaborated with such figures as Thomas Middleton (Middleton, Thomas), John Webster (Webster, John), Philip Massinger (Massinger, Philip), John Ford (Ford, John), and William Rowley (Rowley, William).

      Of the nine surviving plays that are entirely Dekker's work, probably the best-known are The Shoemakers Holiday (1600) and The Honest Whore, Part 2 (1630). These plays are typical of his work in their use of the moralistic tone of traditional drama, in the rush of their prose, in their boisterousness, and in their mixture of realistic detail with a romanticized plot. Dekker's ear for colloquial speech served him well in his vivid portrayals of daily life in London, and his work appealed strongly to a citizen audience eager for plays on middle-class, patriotic, and Protestant themes.

      He exhibited a similar vigour in such prose pamphlets as The Wonderfull Yeare (1603), about the plague; The Belman of London (1608), about roguery and crime, with much material borrowed from Robert Greene and others; and The Guls Horne-Booke (1609), a valuable account of behaviour in the London theatres.

      Between 1613 and 1619 Dekker was in prison for debt. This firsthand experience may be behind his six prison scenes first included in the sixth edition (1616) of Sir Thomas Overbury's Characters. Dekker was partly responsible for devising the street entertainment to celebrate the entry of James I into London in 1603; he provided the lord mayor's pageant in 1612, 1627, 1628, and 1629. All this labour did not bring prosperity, however, for Dekker was likely in debt when he died.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • 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… …   Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary

  • 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

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.