1001 Reads

Regularly updated blog charting the most important novels of the last 2000 and something years

Monday, July 28, 2008

15. Thomas Deloney - Thomas Of Reading (c. 1600)


Thomas of Reading is a bit of an unremarkable piece of literature as a novel, but as an historical and social document it is quite an important one. This is one of the first novels in the English language that seeks to depict the life of the common people.

Deloney was probably a tailor and therefore the "clothiers" are the main characters here, but it doesn't work exactly as a novel but more as a sequence of separate episodes.

Well, I wasn't to impressed with it, as I am not with most Elizabethan fiction, it's ok, but in no way great, others had depicted the common people before, look at Lazarillo de Tormes, it just wasn't in English.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

He [Thomas Deloney] appears to have worked as a silk-weaver in Norwich, but was in London by 1586, and in the course of the next ten years is known to have written about fifty ballads, some of which got him into trouble, and caused him to keep a low profile for a time. His more important work as a novelist, in which he ranks with Robert Greene and Thomas Nashe, was not noted until much later. He appears to have turned to this genre to try to keep out of trouble. Less under the influence of John Lyly and other preceding writers than Greene, he is more natural, simple, and direct, and writes of middle-class citizens and tradesmen with light humour. Of his novels, Thomas of Reading is in honour of clothiers, Jack of Newbury celebrates weaving, and The Gentle Craft is dedicated to the praise of shoemakers. He "dy'd poorely," but was "honestly buried."

There is evidence to suggest that his son travelled to the Virginia colony. His descendents then spread into Alabama, Texas, and Tennessee.

A little video on Elizabethan Fashion :


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