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Peele, George

George Peele, 1558?–1597?, English playwright, educated at Oxford. He experimented in a variety of forms, including the pageant, history, pastoral, comedy, and melodrama, but his best-known work is The Old Wives Tale (1595), a frolicsome piece that infuses a depiction of ordinary English life with elements of folklore and romance. His other extant plays include The Arraignment of Paris (1584), Edward I (1593), The Battle of Alcazar (1594), and The Love of King David and Fair Bethsabe (1599). Some modern scholarship has attributed to him almost a third of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus (c.1594). Peele was one of the "university wits," a group of poets and playwrights that included Marlowe, Nashe, and Robert Greene.

See his life and works, ed. by C. T. Prouty (3 vol., 1952–70); biography by G. K. Hunter (1968); B. Vickers, Shakespeare, Co-Author (2003).

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