This guide was created for the course titled "Shakespeare and his Contemporaries" offered by the English Department at Southern Connecticut State University. It contains information on the life and works of William Shakespeare and his contemporaries including Ben Jonson, Chirstopher Marlowe,Thomas Kyd, George Chapman, Thomas Middleton, Francis Beaumont, John Fletcher, John Webster, Thomas Heywood, Philip Massinger, Thomas Dekker, Cyril Tourneur and John Ford, to name a few.Click on the tabs above to proceed through this guide.
n the late 1580s a new kind of entertainment flowered in London: professional theatre, with its custom built playhouses, professional companies, incredible staging and, last but not least, the new writers, poets, playwrights - the roaring boys. To ambitious young writers, London was a magnet offering the possibility of fame, excitement, wealth and opportunity beyond their wildest dreams. Arriving in London from quite ordinary backgrounds - Marlowe was the son of a shoemaker, Shakespeare's family were leather workers, Jonson's stepfather a bricklayer - they suddenly found themselves feted, offered large sums of money, the darlings of audiences - and they created drama off stage as well as on. Like footballer and media celebrtities of today, they behaved like the stars they thought themselves to be - drinking with wild abandon, partying, courting publicity - their reputations growing in the telling. Some set out to shock; some drank too much; some, like Christopher Marlowe, became involved in fights, fatally; a few ran headlong into political danger. This lively and engaging book, packed with anecdote, recreates the lives and times of these playwrights and actors, and the world in which they lived from 1578 when Burbage built the first purpose built theatre to 1620 when the great age came to its end.