Thomas Deloney

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Thomas Deloney (c. 1543 – April 1600) was an English novelist and balladist.

He began his working life as a silk-weaver in Norwich. He then moved to London. An entry in the parish register of St Giles-without-Cripplegate from 16 October 1586, records the baptism of his son Richard.[1]

In the course of the next ten years he is known to have written about fifty ballads, one-sheet stories and news sheets, some of which got him into trouble, and caused him to keep a low profile for a time. John Strype described him as "presumptuous", because the heroes and heroines of his works were clearly common people, and therefore in Strype's terms only suitable for comedy or farce.[2]

His more important work as a novelist, in which he ranks with Robert Greene and Thomas Nashe, was not noted until much later. He appears to have turned to this genre to try to keep out of trouble.

According to A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature, 'Less under the influence of John Lyly and other preceding writers than Greene, he is more natural, simple, and direct, and writes of middle-class citizens and tradesmen with light humour. Of his novels, Thomas of Reading is in honour of clothiers,[3] Jack of Newbury celebrates weaving, and The Gentle Craft is dedicated to the praise of shoemakers. He "dy'd poorely," but was "honestly buried."'[4]

There is evidence to suggest that his son traveled to the Virginia colony.

The lavish diversity of his characters, has led to him being viewed as a precursor of Daniel Defoe, Henry Fielding, and Charles Dickens. The critic Merritt E. Lawlis has pointed out that, Deloney was the first English novelist to use a dramatic technique in his novels in which scenes appear as if they were episodes in a play.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rollison, David A Commonwealth of the People: Popular Politics and England's Long Social Revolution, 1066-1649, Cambridge University Press, 2010, p. 330
  2. ^ Rollison, David A Commonwealth of the People: Popular Politics and England's Long Social Revolution, 1066-1649, Cambridge University Press, 2010, p. 330
  3. ^ See Thomas Deloney (Charles Roberts Aldrich and Lucian Swift Kirtland, editors), Thomas Deloney His Thomas of Reading and Three Ballads on the Spanish Armada (New York: J. F. Taylor & Company, 1903).
  4. ^ Cousin, John William (1910). A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature. London: J. M. Dent & Sons.
  5. ^ Deloney, Thomas eNotes, Accessed February 2014

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]