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Article Title

Westward-Northward: Structural Development in Dekker's Ho Plays

Abstract

In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

Evaluating Thomas Dekker as a dramatist is an extremely difficult task because his work is so diverse in kind and quality and because so much of it was written in collaboration. According to the Harbage-Schoenbaum count in Annals of English Drama, Dekker had a hand in at least fifty-three plays and pageants, of which twenty-six are extant. Of thirty-two comedies, seventeen are extant, and probably only four were written without collaboration. Romantic comedy, satire, citizen comedy, tragicomedy, even a comedy and tragedy (as the lost The Late Murder in Whitechapel in described) - Dekker produced all types in a professional career spanning more than thirty years. And his work is woefully uneven. If occasionally it "ranks with the masterpieces of Elizabethan drama,"1 to use. A. H. Bullen's words, it more frequently is branded as loose and disorderly,2 careless of form,3 and morally inconsistent.4 Dekker himself is called in assembly-line dramatist5 with an "idle, shambling, shifty way of writing"6 or - as Ben Jonson would have it - "a dresser of plays about the town here" (Poetaster, III.iv.320).

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.

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