Although it was probably conceived as a trilogy, only the first two parts of Thomas Deloney's prose romance were completed, dealing with the origins of the shoemaker's trade and how it succeeded in London. The Gentle Craft is best known as the principal source of Thomas Dekker's The Shoemaker's Holiday. But Deloney's tale of Simon Eyre, who founded Leadenhall, the centre of the leather trade, and rose to be Lord Mayor of London, is itself significant for its adaptation of euphemistic romances and jestbooks. In this volume the author offers in modern typography, with explanatory notes and an extensive introduction, an account of the sources and influence of the book, its publication history and what is known of its author. He suggests that Deloney's combination of romance with the practical morality of an emerging social class produced a text that is uniquely important for those interested in late-Elizabethan popular culture.
Contents: Introduction; A note on the text; The Gentle Craft; Appendix; Explanatory notes; Selected bibliography; Index.