The Bloody Banquet

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an anonymous tragedy attributed to Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker, also sometimes attributed to Thomas Basker, Thomas Barker, Robert Davenport and Thomas Drue

first published 1639

About the Play

This bloody sensation tragedy lives up to its name, featuring shooting, stabbing, poisoning, cannibalism, and drawing and quartering. Its only early printed edition gives the author only as "T.D." Modern scholarship suggests a collaboration between Thomas Dekker and Thomas Middleton.

Known Editions

The secondary literature lists editions published in 1620, 1630, and 1639 for this play, but George Watson Cole, in Bibliographical Ghosts (1919), convincingly argues that there was in fact only one edition, of 1639, and the other dates are misreadings of that date, which was printed at the bottom of the title page and often partially trimmed off, making the half 3 resemble a 2 and the half 9 a 0.

  • THE BLOODIE BANQVET. A TRAGEDIE. Hector adest secumque Deos in proelia ducit/Nos haec novimus esse nihil. By T.D. London. Printed by Thomas Cotes. 1639

References from Secondary Sources

  • George Watson Cole, "Bibliographical Ghosts" (1919)

    Cole's article explains how seventeenth century printing conventions led to the date of this play being erroneously reported as 1620 in some sources, because the bottom half of the actual printed date, 1639, had been trimmed off by the printer or by later binders.

  • Walter Wilson Gregg, A List of English Plays (1900)

    The Bloodie Banquet. A Tragedie. By T. D. Thomas Cotes. 1620. B.M. (643. c. 4).

    [Another edition.] Thomas Cotes. 1639. See Hazlitt. I. 114.

    The 1620 edition listed here likely never existed.

  • James O. Halliwell, A Dictionary of Old English Plays (1860)

    THE BLOODY BANQUET. Tragedy printed in 4to. 1620, and 4to. 1639, with the letters T. D., but is, in some of the old catalogues, ascribed to Tho. Barker. It was however probably written by Robert Davenport, being enumerated with some other of his pieces in a list of plays that formerly belonged to the Cock-pit theatre. The letters T. D. were perhaps printed by mistake in the title-page instead of R. D. In 1639, the copyright belonged to the company at the Cock-pit in Drury Lane.

    The 1620 edition listed here likely never existed.