Thomas Kyd

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Financial, Wikipedia.

Kyd or Kid, Thomas,

1558–94, English dramatist, b. London. The son of a scrivener, he evidently followed his father's profession for a few years. In the 1580s he began writing plays. His literary fame rests on The Spanish Tragedy (c.1586), which initiated an important Elizabethan dramatic genre—the revenge tragedy. Popular throughout the 17th cent., The Spanish Tragedy is notable for its exciting action, splendid rhetoric, and complex delineation of character. Kyd is believed by some scholars to be the author of an earlier version of Hamlet, which ShakespeareShakespeare, William,
1564–1616, English dramatist and poet, b. Stratford-upon-Avon. He is widely considered the greatest playwright who ever lived. Life
..... Click the link for more information.
 used as the basis of his play. In 1593, Kyd was accused of holding unorthodox religious and moral views; he was arrested and subjected to torture. Although he extricated himself by implicating his friend Christopher MarloweMarlowe, Christopher,
1564–93, English dramatist and poet, b. Canterbury. Probably the greatest English dramatist before Shakespeare, Marlowe, a shoemaker's son, was educated at Cambridge and he went to London in 1587, where he became an actor and dramatist for the Lord
..... Click the link for more information.
, his reputation was severely marred, and he died in poverty the following year.


See studies by A. Freeman (1967) and C. L. Barber (1988).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kyd, Thomas


Born Nov. 6, 1558, in London; died there in 1594. English playwright.

Kyd was a representative of the “university wits” in Elizabethan drama. He is the author of The Spanish Tragedy (c. 1587), a work that is typical of the pre-Shakespearean “bloody drama.” Kyd’s influence, particularly on Shakespeare, reveals itself in the delineation of character through the development of the action.


The Works. Oxford, 1901.


Istoriia angliiskoi literatury, vol. 1, fase. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1943.
Bowers, F. T. Elizabethan Revenge Tragedy, 1587–1642. Princeton, 1940.
Rossiter, A. P. English Drama From Early Times to the Elizabethans. New York [1959].
Murray, P. B. Thomas Kyd. New York [1969].
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(22) For a discussion of Christ imagery in the hanging and revenge playlet scenes, see Sofer 142-45; and chapter 6 of my Thomas Kyd's Mystery Play.
Thomas Kyd has developed his fascination with the historical character of Sultan Soliman as Soliman who is known in the West as the Magnificent and in the Islamic world as the Lawgiver (Merriman, 1974:96).
For example, Mulryne, Kyd's editor, writes 'Kyd may be the author of an early version of Hamlet', though Mulryne saw that as resting upon 'widely disputed allusions': Thomas Kyd, The Spanish Tragedy, ed.
The revenge drama derived originally from the Roman tragedies of Seneca but was established on the English stage by Thomas Kyd with The Spanish Tragedie.
Eliot to Thomas Kyd), Enlightenment reason and violence, and much more.
His contemporaries included Thomas Kyd, John Lyly, Robert Greene, George Peele, and Thomas Dekker, all of whom produced successful plays of various kinds before the end of the century.
Plays such as Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy enjoyed an unparalleled success and the Theatre (the first public theatre, built in 1576 by James Burbage ) became so popular that by 1585 a second playhouse, the Curtain, was being used to accommodate the overflow.
Elizabethan hits such as Thomas Kyd's 777e Spanish Tragedy and Christopher Marlowe's Tamburlaine are ignored.
Thomas Kyd's oft-taught revenge play The Spanish Tragedy engages with issues resonant in our time: authoritarianism, economic and social inequality, globalization, and the seeming impossibility of worldly justice.
By focusing on the didactic ethical, social, and political elements of plays in both Renaissance tragedy and postmodern street theater, we can understand how the interactive elements of street theater from political groups such as ACT UP are indebted to and follow the same ideological drive of the more understated interactive elements of Renaissance-era English plays such as Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy and William Shakespeare's Hamlet in calling audience members to bear witness and respond to the themes explored in the spectacles before them.
Brian Vickers, in "Thomas Kyd, Secret Sharer," agrees that Nashe is the author of act I.