Peter Hyland

The Failed Performance of Dekker's "The Whore of Babylon"

At some time in 1606 Prince Henry’s Men staged Thomas Dekker’s play The Whore of Babylon at the Fortune playhouse. It was apparently performed only once, and if we are to believe the author’s own account of it, the performance was a failure, something that Dekker clearly felt the need to explain away, for in the following year he published a quarto edition of his play with a preface, “Lectori,” in which he laid out what his intentions had been and what he thought had gone wrong.

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