Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thomas Who?: Some Middleton Resources

First off: not the guy who wrote Paradise Lost.

There's not a tremendous amount of Middletonian material on the Internet. Some Renaissance dramatists I could mention have venerable discussion lists, search engines, guides, and text repositories that someone has been meaning to get around to fixing since the end of the last century. For my new friend Thomas Middleton, the pickings are slimmer. I thought I would bundle together some of the most interesting resources I've found to date.

As part of the media whirlwind surrounding the release of the new Oxford edition, a couple of good articles appeared in the popular press. Gary Taylor, one of the general editors, made an engaging case for the importance of Middleton in the Guardian of London: "The Orphan Playwright." I don't buy everything he's selling--he seems to think it very important that Middleton was published at a younger age than Shakespeare, for some reason, and I can't say that I remember A Yorkshire Tragedy as especially "searing," but he gives a brisk, cogent argument for what makes Middleton great, and why he has languished in obscurity. Time magazine presents a more balanced, but open-minded and favorable treatment in "Thomas Middleton: For Adults Only." The Toronto Star gives another good account in "Who is 'The Other Shakespeare?'" Last, you can hear a lecture Taylor delivered at the rebuilt Globe Theatre in London, if you just keep scrolling through this page until you find the link.

Middleton, of course, has a Wikipedia page, as do many of his individual works. It doesn't seem bad, but you've always got to watch yourself around Wikipedia. Some unsavory types hang out there.

Chris Cleary has produced HTML editions of many of Middleton's plays, but, sadly, appears to have moved on to other endeavors. It was in his editions that I first read The Witch and A Yorkshire Tragedy, and I'm very grateful to him for his work.

The Luminarium page on Middleton brings together a number of essays and other resources.

Florida State University maintains a website at in support of the new Collected Works, but there's not really much there at present.

There is at least one blog dedicated to discussing the work of Thomas Middleton, but it's very new, written by an amateur, and not especially interesting.


Bill said...

I can't say I've read much Middleton. I saw a production of The Changeling in London about 15 years ago, but that's about it. I'll look forward to following your journey.

Craig said...

Welcome to the party, Bill; I'm glad you dropped by. I hope I can keep you coming back.

Alan K.Farrar said...

Great set of links - and wonderful to see the way journalists try to create a 'fight' - here we have them working hard at Shakespeare vs Middleton - punch up of the millennium.

mjwal said...

Pity, though, that you don't link to the other blog - by an "amateur" - talking about Middleton; or was that a joke? I've read a fair amount of M. and also translated Women Beware Women into German (there's a tiny bit in obscure verse I still have to decide what to do with); I think that is the greatest play of the period outside Shakes and Jonson.

dawnzahra said...

I want to thank you for posting all of your research and Middletonian thoughts on the web! Yours is one of the most cogent and entertaining I've read--and I'm writing a dissertation on this stuff! So kudos...