Article

Middleton And Usury

David Hawkes

in The Oxford Handbook of Thomas Middleton

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199559886
Published online November 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199559886.013.0018

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 Middleton And Usury

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This article discusses usury as a dominant theme in Middleton's plays. Relations of credit and debt mediate every kind of human interaction in his drama, despoiling innocence, violating love, debasing character, and unbalancing the mind. Middleton was particularly well placed to understand the dramatic impact of usury on everyday life. His childhood was marred by a decades-long financial and legal struggle between his mother and stepfather, which temporarily sent his stepfather to debtors' prison and deprived Thomas of most of his inheritance. Fragmentary as it is, the surviving written evidence records several instances of Middleton's financial distress. In 1612 he is listed among the debtors of the deceased Ewen Hebson of Westminster, and he defaulted on loans in 1606 and 1609.

Keywords: Thomas Middleton; plays; usury; usurers; debt

Article.  7745 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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