Heywood, Thomas

Heywood, Thomas

Heywood, Thomas, 1574?–1641, English dramatist. A prolific writer, he claimed to have written and collaborated on more than 200 plays, most of which are now lost. Although he wrote dramas based on English history, classical mythology, and romantic adventure, he is most famous for those dealing with contemporary English life. Heywood's best play, A Woman Killed with Kindness (1603), is one of the finest examples of domestic tragedy in the English drama. His other notable plays include The Fair Maid of the West (1631) and The London Traveler (1633). A professional actor as well as a playwright, he wrote an Apology for Actors (1612) in reply to attacks against the theater by the Puritans.


See studies by O. Cromwell (1928, repr. 1969), A. M. Clark (1931, repr. 1967), and F. S. Boas (1950).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Heywood, Thomas


Born circa 1574; died Aug. 16, 1641, in London. English dramatist.

Heywood studied at Cambridge University from 1591 to 1593. In 1598 and 1599 several of his comedies were staged in London, including Joan as Good as My Lady, War Without Blows and Love Without Suit, and The Four Prentices of London. His main genres were the farce, for example, The Wise Woman of Hogsdon (published 1638; Russian translation, 1960) and the romantic comedy, for example, The Fair Maid of the West (published 1631; Russian translation, 1956). Heywood also wrote domestic tragedies, the best known of which are A Woman Killed With Kindness (published 1607; Russian translation, 1959) and The English Traveler (published 1633).

Heywood was also the author of historical chronicles and plays on classical themes. In 1594 he wrote the narrative poem Juno and Paris.


Anikst, A. Istoriia angliiskoi literatury. Moscow, 1956.
Grivelet, M. Thomas Heywood et le drame domestique élisabethain. Paris, 1957.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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(24) David Kathman, "Heywood, Thomas (ca.1573-1641)" in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004-13), accessed 13 August 2012, http://www.
In between there are discussions of Medwall's plays, Stephen Hawes, John Skelton, Lord Berners, More, Tyndale, John Bale, Sir Thomas Elyot, John Heywood, Thomas Wyatt and Francis Bryan, translations of the Psalms.
The second appendix is a list of selected civic records, many of which have not been previously published, on the Midsummer Watch, entries of Henry V in 1413, of the Duke and Duchess of Bedford in 1426 and of Henry VI in 1429, in addition to sixteenth-century documents relating to John Heywood, Thomas Brandon, and the Mayor's oath taking ceremony.
(1) Thomas Heywood, Thomas Heywood's Pagents: A critical edition, ed, David M.
Heywood, Thomas. Thomas Heywood's Pageants: A Critical Edition.