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Middleton, Thomas


Subject Literature » Renaissance Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405194495.2012.x


Best known for tragedies such as The changeling and Women beware women and as the author of A game at chess , the most famous theatrical cause célèbre of the English Renaissance, Thomas Middleton (1580–1627) was one of the most skilful and versatile dramatists of his day. He was baptized at St Lawrence Jewry in the City of London on 18 April 1580, the son of William Middleton, a wealthy London bricklayer and builder who had a coat of arms and owned property in Shoreditch and Lime-house, and Anne Snow. His father's death in January 1586 and his mother's remarriage to Thomas Harvey the following November plunged the family into a prolonged series of lawsuits. In April 1598 Middleton entered Queen's College, Oxford, but he seems to have left without completing his degree. In 1601 he was described as being ‘in London daily accompanying the players’, and the records kept by the theatrical entrepreneur Philip Henslowe show that he was writing for one of the London companies, the Admiral's Men, by 1602. Around this time he married Mary Magdalen Marbeck, sister of one of the Admiral's Men and granddaughter of the composer and organist John Marbeck. By 1604 he was writing for the Children of Paul's, one of London's all-boy theatre companies, and for Prince Henry's Men (as the Admiral's Men had become after the accession of James I). He later worked for the Children of the Queen's Revels, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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