Thomas Middleton

Thomas Middleton

Birth
London, City of London, Greater London, England
Death 2 Jul 1627 (aged 46–47)
Newington, London Borough of Southwark, Greater London, England
Burial Newington, London Borough of Southwark, Greater London, England
Plot Churchyard, grave no longer marked
Memorial ID 11911042 · View Source
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Dramatist. One of England's most popular playwrights of his time. Middleton's "city comedies" mercilessly satirized the seamy side of London life, with its con artists and courtesans, rich widows and gold-digging would-be gentlemen. His style was more realistic than that of other Elizabethan authors, and his wit seldom veered into caricature. He also wrote a handful of powerful tragedies, as well as masques, pageants, poetry, and prose works. The finest of his 30 known plays are "A Trick to Catch the Old One" (c. 1605), "A Mad World My Masters" (c. 1605), "Michaelmas Term" (c. 1606), "The Roaring Girl" (co-written with Thomas Dekker, 1610), "A Chaste Maid in Cheapside" (1611), "A Fair Quarrel" (with William Rowley, 1617), "The Changeling" (with Rowley, 1622), and "Women Beware Women" (c. 1623). The son of a bricklayer, Middleton was born in London and baptized on April 18, 1580. He studied at Oxford but left without a degree. By 1600 he had published two books of poetry and was writing plays for producer Philp Henslowe and others. From 1613 he created City of London pageants for the Lord Mayor, and he served in the (non-salaried) position of City Chronologer from 1620 until his death. His biggest theatrical success was the political allegory "A Game at Chess", performed by the King's Men at The Globe in August 1624. At a time when London's theatres put on a different play every day, Middleton's satire was held over for nine consecutive performances---the first "long run" in English theatrical history. It also sparked an international incident when the Spanish Ambassador protested to King James I over the play's deeply anti-Spanish tone. "A Game at Chess" was banned, the actors were fined, and Middleton was briefly imprisoned. After his release he ceased writing for the stage, and died in poverty. He was buried in the churchyard of St. Mary Newington Butts on July 4, 1627. The church was demolished in 1876 and a public park now occupies the site. Throughout his career Middleton collaborated with other playwrights and helped provide new performing versions of old plays, and this has caused no little confusion over the extent of his output. Several plays of questionable authorship have been attributed to him, notably the famous "The Revenger's Tragedy" (published in 1607 and traditionally credited to Cyril Tourneur), and some literary historians maintain he had a hand in Shakespeare's "Macbeth", "Timon of Athens", and "Measure for Measure". The scholarly debate continues to the present.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Mark McManus
  • Added: 8 Oct 2005
  • Find a Grave Memorial 11911042
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Thomas Middleton (1580–2 Jul 1627), Find a Grave Memorial no. 11911042, citing St Mary Newington Churchyard, Newington, London Borough of Southwark, Greater London, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .