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The Noble Spanish Soldier by Thomas Dekker
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Thomas Dekker is believed to have been born in London around 1572,
but nothing is known for certain about his youth. He embarked on a
career as a theatre writer early in his adult life, the first extant
text of his work being 'Old Fortunatus' written around 1596, although
there are plays connected with his name which were performed as early
as 1594. The period from 1596 to 1602 was the most prolific of his
career, with 20 plays being attributed to him and an involvement in
up to 28 other plays being suggested. It was during this period that
he produced his most famous work, 'The Shoemaker's Holiday, or the
Gentle Craft', categorised by modern critics as citizen comedy, it
reflects his concerns with the daily lives of ordinary Londoners.
This play exemplifies his vivid use of language and the intermingling
of everyday subjects with the fantastical, embodied in this case by
the rise of a craftsman to Mayor and the involvement of an unnamed
but idealised king in the concluding banquet.

He exhibited a similar vigour in such prose pamphlets as the
ironically entitled 'The Wonderfull Yeare' (1603), about the plague,
'The Belman of London' (1608), about roguery and crime, and 'The Guls
Horne-Booke' (1609), a valuable account of behaviour in the London

Dekker was partly responsible for devising the street entertainment
to celebrate the entry of James I into London in 1603 and he managed
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