Thomas Dekker
Nationality: English
Profession/Occupation: Dramatist
Region: London, England
Notable works: "The Belman of London", "Satiro-mastix", "The Guls Horne-booke"

Thomas Dekker Facts

Biography

Thomas Dekker, (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," he was satirized in Ben Jonson's 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, John Webster, Philip Massinger, John Ford, and William Rowley.

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.

Top 16 Thomas Dekker quotes

This world, after all our science and sciences, is still a miracle; wonderful, inscrutable, magical and more, to whosoever will think of it.
After
Magical
Miracle
More
Our
Science
Sciences
Still
Think
Whosoever
Will
Wonderful
World
What a heaven is love! O what a hell!
Heaven
Hell
Love
Arguments, like children, should be like the subject that begets them.
Argument
Begets
Children
Like
Should
Subject
Them
Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.
Bodies
Chain
Golden
Health
Our
Sleep
Ties
Together
A mask of gold hides all deformities.
Gold
Hides
Mask
Surely man was not created to be an idle fellow; he was not set in this universal orchard to stand still as a tree.
Created
Fellow
He
Idle
Man
Set
Stand
Still
Surely
Tree
Universal
The calmest husbands make the stormiest wives.
Husbands
Make
Wives
We are ne'er like angels till our passion dies.
Angels
Dies
Like
Our
Passion
Till
Honest labor bears a lovely face.
Bears
Face
Honest
Labor
Lovely
This principle is old, but true as fate, Kings may love treason, but the traitor hate.
Fate
Hate
Kings
Love
May
Old
Principle
Traitor
Treason
True
Golden slumbers kiss your eyes, Smiles awake you when you rise.
Awake
Eyes
Golden
Kiss
Rise
Smiles
You
Your
This age thinks better of a gilded fool Than of a threadbare saint in wisdom's school.
Age
Better
Fool
Gilded
Saint
School
Than
Thinks
Wisdom
Cast away care, he that loves sorrow Lengthens not a day, nor can buy tomorrow; Money is trash, and he that will spend it, Let him drink merrily, fortune will send it.
Away
Buy
Care
Cast
Day
Drink
Fortune
He
Him
Loves
Money
Nor
Send
Sorrow
Were there no women, men might live like gods.
Gods
Like
Live
Men
Might
Were
Women
O what a heaven is love! O what a hell!
Heaven
Hell
Love
Age is like love, it cannot be hid.
Age
Cannot
Hid
Like
Love

Thomas Dekker essays

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