Shakespeares contemporaries shakespearean england was a treasure trove of historical giants elizabeth i ben jonson the earl of essex edward alleyn john lyly william kempe all fascinating to be sure. Philip massinger born in 1584 was generally considered by his contemporaries to be the best playwright of the time after shakespeare most of his plays have been lost but his masterpiece the roman actor survives his partnership with fletcher resulted in about twenty plays. Shakespeares contemporaries we regularly stage plays by shakespeares contemporaries playwrights who lived and worked at the same time as shakespeare w riters and playwrights working in the same era as shakespeare included christopher marlowe thomas middleton john webster ben jonson and thomas dekker . Reinventing the renaissance shakespeare and his contemporaries in adaptation and performance offers new perspectives on the ways in which writers critics directors artists and other creative practitioners have used renaissance drama to address current concerns and reach new audiences. Shakespeare also did not stand on his own as a poet although many of his sonnets were quite popular george chapman william davenant and sir walter raleigh were very popular poets at the time and these contemporaries of shakespeare certainly did not allow him to rest on his laurels in the realm of poetry
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