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A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Dekker, Thomas

< A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature

Dekker, Thomas (1570?-1641?). -- Dramatist and miscellaneous writer, was b. in London. Few details of D.'s life have come down to us, though he was a well-known writer in his day, and is believed to have written or contributed to over 20 dramas. He collaborated at various times with several of his fellow-dramatists, including Ben Jonson. Ultimately Jonson quarrelled with Marston and D., satirising them in The Poetaster (1601), to which D. replied in Satiromastix (1602). D.'s best play is Old Fortunatus (1606), others are The Shoemaker's Holiday (1600), Honest Whore (1604), Roaring Girl (1611), The Virgin Martyr (1622) (with Massinger), and The Witch of Edmonton (1658) (with Ford and Rowley), History of Sir Thomas Wyat, Westward Ho, and Northward Ho, all with Webster. His prose writings include The Gull's Hornbook (1609), The Seven Deadly Sins of London, and The Belman of London (1608), satirical works which give interesting glimpses of the life of his time. His life appears to have been a somewhat chequered one, alternating between revelry and want. He is one of the most poetical of the older dramatists. Lamb said he "had poetry enough for anything."