Thomas Kyd, 1558-1594

Portrait

Biographical note

Dramatist, son of a London scrivener, educated at Merchant Taylor’s School, appears to have led the life of hardship so common with the dramatists of his time, was for a short time imprisoned for “treasonable and Atheistic views,” and made translations from the French and Italian. His drama, The Spanish Tragedy (1594), had extraordinary popularity, and was translated into Dutch and German. Some of the scenes are believed to have been contributed by another hand, probably by Ben Jonson. He also produced a play on the story of Hamlet, not now in existence, and he may have written the first draft of Titus Andronicus. Other plays which have been attributed to him are The First Part of Jeronimo (1605), Cornelia (1594), The Rare Triumphs of Love and Fortune, and The Tragedye of Solyman and Perseda (1599). But, although one of the best known dramatists in his day, very little is now certain either as to his personal history or his works.

[From A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature by John W. Cousin, 1910]

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