The themes George Peele wrote about
George Peele, was an English dramatist.
Peele was christened on 25 July 1556 at St James Garlickhythe in the City of London. His father, who appears to have belonged to a Devonshire family, was clerk of Christ's Hospital, and wrote two treatises on bookkeeping. Peele was educated at Christ's Hospital, and entered Broadgates Hall (Pembroke College), Oxford, in 1571. In 1574 he removed to Christ Church, taking his B.A. degree in 1577, and proceeding M.A. in 1579. In that year, the governors of Christ's Hospital requested their clerk to "discharge his house of his son, George Peele." He went up to London about 1580, but in 1583 when Albertus Alasco (Albert Laski), a Polish nobleman, was entertained at Christ Church, Peele was entrusted with the arrangement of two Latin plays by William Gager (fl. 1580-1619) presented on the occasion.
He was also complimented by Dr. Gager for an English verse translation of one of the Iphigenias of Euripides. In 1585 he was employed to write the Device of the Pageant borne before Woolston Dixie, and in 1591 he devised the pageant in honour of another Lord Mayor, Sir William Webbe. This was the Descensus Astraeae (printed in the Harleian Miscellany, 1808), in which Queen Elizabeth is honoured as Astraea.
Peele had married as early as 1583 a lady who brought him some property, which he speedily dissipated. Robert Greene, at the end of his pamphlet Greene's Groats-Worth of Wit, exhorts Peele to repentance, saying that he has, like himself, "been driven to extreme shifts for a living." Anecdotes of his reckless life were emphasized by the use of his name in connection with the apocryphal Merrie conceited Jests of George Peele (printed in 1607). Many of the stories had circulated before in other jestbooks, unattached to Peele's name, but there are personal touches that may be biographical. The book provided source material for the play The Puritan, one of the works of the Shakespeare Apocrypha.
Peele died "of the pox," according to Francis Meres, and was buried on 9 November 1596. One of the eight boarding houses at the Horsham campus is now named Peele after George Peele and as a commemoration to the work of the Peele family with the ancient foundation of the Christs Hospital school.
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