Dekker is a mysterious playwright and pamphleteer even by the standards of the late 16th and early 17th centuries, during which little biographical information was attached to the names of the new influx of university educated commoners who filled London bookstalls with an unprecedented amount of printed matter. Dekker describes himself in suggestive terms in his work while choosing never to provide specifics. The few entries in Henslowe's famous diary which may refer to the man and in the records of St. Gile's Parish, in Cripplegate, include so many variant spellings that might refer to Dekker... or might not.
It might seem as if we have no more information available to us than the little we have already gleaned from his written works. But is there nothing more to find? Or are there hints everywhere that scholars have yet to detect? Before we explore what answers there may prove to be to these questions, it is important to review what scholars think they may have discovered so far.