The Press and the Playhouse: Early Trials
Two truths are told by the sparse narrative of Thomas Middleton’s early life: his roots lay almost entirely in London, and he entered the theatre as a blue-collar journeyman. The son of William Middleton, Thomas was christened on April 18, 1580 at St Lawrence in the Old Jewry, the well-off part of town where the Middletons lived. Anne, his wife, was the daughter of another Londoner, William Snow. Ten months after William’s death, Anne married Thomas Harvey. A series of legal squabbles between Anne and Harvey over William’s bequest soon robbed Middleton of his social place. The litigations, involving property and marriage, allowed Middleton an early glimpse into the entwined mechanics of money and sex. This chapter looks at the life of Middleton, his early trials, patrons and poems, profession and plays, and works in print and prose. In producing scripts for the press and the playhouse, the young Middleton proved himself a writer who understood the market-place.
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