Thomas Middleton


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Middleton, Thomas,

1580–1627, English dramatist, b. London, grad. Queen's College, Oxford, 1598. His early plays were chiefly written in collaboration with DekkerDekker, Thomas,
c,1570–1632, English dramatist and pamphleteer. Little is known of his life except that he frequently suffered from poverty and served several prison terms for debt. He began his literary career c.1598 working for Philip Henslowe.
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, DraytonDrayton, Michael,
1563–1631, English poet. The son of a prosperous tradesman, he received his educational training in the house of Sir Henry Goodere, where he served as page.
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, and others. Between 1604 and 1611 he wrote realistic, satiric comedies of London life, including A Trick to Catch the Old One (c.1604), Michaelmas Term (c.1605), The Roaring Girl (c.1610, with Dekker), and A Chaste Maid in Cheapside (1611). His comedies, like his early pamphlets, expose contemporary vice and give graphic pictures of the more scabrous side of Jacobean life. During the years 1613 to 1618 he wrote tragicomedies. From 1621 to the end of his career he wrote his most notable plays, two powerful tragedies about the corruption of character, The Changeling (1622, with William RowleyRowley, William
, 1585?–1642?, English playwright and actor. He collaborated with many noted dramatists, including Dekker, Ford, and Webster; his best work, notably The Changeling (1622), was written with Thomas Middleton.
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,) and Women Beware Women (1625). Some modern scholarship suggests that he wrote a significant portion of ShakespeareShakespeare, William,
1564–1616, English dramatist and poet, b. Stratford-upon-Avon. He is widely considered the greatest playwright who ever lived. Life
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's Timon of Athens (c.1607, pub. 1623). Middleton was severely reproved by the Privy Council for his anti-Spanish political satire, A Game at Chess (1624). In addition to his plays, he wrote civic pageants and masques.

Bibliography

See his works ed. by A. H. Bullen (8 vol., 1885–86); bibliography by S. J. Steen (1985); studies by C. Asp (1974) and A. L. Kistner (1984); B. Vickers, Shakespeare, Co-Author (2003).

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

Middleton, Thomas

 

Born Apr. 18, 1580, in London; died July 4, 1627, at Newington Butts. English playwright.

Middleton graduated from Oxford University in 1598. From 1620 to 1627, he was chronologist of London. His creative work reveals the crisis of the humanistic world view and of Renaissance drama.

Middleton’s allegorical satire The Blacke Booke (1604) expresses the notion of the depravity of human nature, an idea that pervades his dramatic works. The comedy A Tricke to Catch the Old-one (staged 1604, published 1608) is a satire on bourgeois money-grubbing. In the play Women Beware Women (staged 1621, published 1657) a society corroded by vices is depicted. The tragicomedy The Witch (published 1778) develops the theme of man’s weakness in the face of demonic forces. Middleton collaborated with other playwrights on many plays.

The allegorical drama A Game at Chesse, which contained topical political allusions, was suppressed by order of the king. In the 1960’s several successful performances of Middleton’s plays were staged in Great Britain.

WORKS

Works, vols. 1–8. London, 1885–86.
A Critical Edition. Michigan, 1958.

REFERENCES

Istoriia angliiskoi literatury, vol. 1, fasc. 2. Moscow, 1945. Pages 126–29. Barker, R. H. T. Middleton. New York, 1959.
Eliot, T. S. “T. Middleton.” In his book Elizabethan Dramatists. London, 1963.
Holmes, D. M. The Art of T. Middleton. Oxford, 1970. (Bibliography, pp. 227–32.)
MIDDLETON, THOMAS. Born Apr. 18, 1580, in London; died July 4, 1627, at Newington Butts. English playwright.
Middleton graduated from Oxford University in 1598. From 1620 to 1627, he was chronologist of London. His creative work reveals the crisis of the humanistic world view and of Renaissance drama.
Middleton’s allegorical satire The Blacke Booke (1604) ex-presses the notion of the depravity of human nature, an idea that pervades his dramatic works. The comedy A Tricke to Catch the Old-one (staged 1604, published 1608) is a satire on bourgeois money-grubbing. In the play Women Beware Women (staged 1621, published 1657) a society corroded by vices is depicted. The tragicomedy The Witch (published 1778) develops the theme of man’s weakness in the face of demonic forces. Middleton collaborated with other playwrights on many plays.

E. V. KORNILOVA

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Measure for Measure dates from the early years of James's reign, 1603-4, and its adaptation from James's waning years, likely 1621 (Thomas Middleton: The Collected Works 1542-1543).
The Northumberland squad for the grand final is: Cameron Fletcher-Smith (Burgham GC), Owen Thomas (Ponteland GC), James Potts (Prudhoe GC), Niamh Lendrum (Parklands GC), Morgan Bulman (Tynemouth GC), Aiden Layug (Morpeth GC), Matthew Grant (unattached), Thomas Middleton (Parklands GC), Gabriel Rodda (Ponteland GC), Ben Sweet (Morpeth GC), Bertie Hinson (Rothbury GC), Finlay Laverick (Stocksfield GC), Dylan Povey (Westerhope GC), Emily Forman (Newbiggin GC), Jessica Mohon (Tynemouth GC) and Sarah Fay (Morpeth GC).
For those unable to choose between the two, there's Red Bull Theater's adroit, opulent staging of Thomas Middleton's scandal-encrusted Jacobean revenge tragedy, "Women Beware Women"--one of the writer's most confounding, ambiguous plays.
And this enhances enormously the standing of Thomas Middleton, in part through his collaboration with Shakespeare.
Certainly, the Jacobean tragedy The Changeling, by Thomas Middleton and William Rowley, piles on the drama.
The Revenger's Tragedy, once assigned to Cyril Tourneur but now usually held to be the work of Thomas Middleton, was performed as a bloody romp that combined suggestive topicality--plenty of corruption, deception, and political hypocrisy--with accessible staging and strong performances.
A Yorkshire Tragedy, originally attributed to Shakespeare but now thought to have been written by Thomas Middleton, looks at a range of themes which are as valid today as in 1605 when William Calverley, driven to despair by spiralling debt, gambling and his fear for the future of his family, was impelled to the kind of murderous act no-one else could imagine.
Part Two is an in-depth examination of Shakespeare's collaboration with four authors: George Peele (Titus Andronicus), Thomas Middleton (Timon of Athens), George Wilkins (Pericles), and John Fletcher (Henry VIII and The Two Noble Kinsmen).
Sean Holmes directs the 17th century black comedy A New Way To Please You at Trafalgar Studios, Written by Thomas Middleton and William Rowley, it's part of the RSC's Gunpowder season of political drama.
In fact, Thomas Middleton and William Rowley's rarely performed play is an example of early 17th Century tragicomedy, and a fine one at that.
Its argument, proved with massive supporting evidence for each play, is that each of them is the product of collaboration, with George Peele (for Titus), Thomas Middleton (for Timon), George Wilkins (for Pericles), and John Fletcher (for the last two) the co-authors.
HOLLOW-EYED Christopher Eccleston, last seen playing the son of God in TV's Second Coming, is equally intense in this vivid updating of Thomas Middleton's blood-spattered 17th Century drama about revenge.