Thomas Nashe

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Nashe or Nash, Thomas

(both: năsh), 1567–1601, English satirist. Very little is known of his life. Although his first publications appeared in 1589, it was not until Pierce Penniless His Supplication to the Devil (1592), a bitter satire on contemporary society, that his natural and vigorous style was fully developed. His ardent anti-Puritanism involved him in the Martin Marprelate controversyMarprelate controversy
, a 16th-century English religious argument. Martin Marprelate was the pseudonym under which appeared several Puritan pamphlets (1588–89) satirizing the authoritarianism of the Church of England under Archbishop John Whitgift.
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, resulting in a scurrilous pamphlet battle with Richard and Gabriel Harvey in which Nashe produced some of his liveliest writing. The Unfortunate Traveler (1594), his best-known work, was a forerunner of the picaresque novel of adventure. His plays include a satirical masque, Summer's Last Will and Testament (1592); and a lost comedy written with Ben Jonson, The Isle of Dogs (1597), which caused the imprisonment of several persons, including Jonson himself, for "seditious and slanderous" language.

Bibliography

See his works edited by R. B. McKerrow (5 vol., 1904–10); selected writings ed. by S. Wells (1964); studies by G. R. Hibbard (1962), S. S. Hilliard (1986), and L. Hutson (1989).

Nashe, Thomas

 

(also Thomas Nash). Born 1567 in Lowestoft, Suffolk; died circa 1601 in Yarmouth, Norfolk. English author.

The son of a priest, Nashe graduated from Cambridge University in 1586. Nashe’s satires, including The Anatomie of Absurditie (1589) and Pierce Penilesse, His Supplication to the Divell (1592), are written in a Rabelaisian style. His satirical talent was probably best manifested in the play The Isle of Dogs (staged 1597), for which he was imprisoned. In his only extant comedy, Summers’ Last Will and Testament (published 1600), satire is muffled by elements of the morality play.

Nashe’s The Unfortunate Traveller, or The Life of Jacke Wilton (1594) is the first picaresque novel in the English language. The author vividly describes the life and mores of various countries and introduces a number of historical personages, including the poet and aristocrat H. Howard (Earl of Surrey), T. More, Erasmus of Rotterdam, and Luther.

WORKS

The Works, vols. 1–5. London, 1966.

REFERENCES

Istoriia angliiskoi literatury, vol. 1, fasc. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1943. Pages 359–61.
Hibbard, G. R. Thomas Nashe. London, 1962.

M. M. ZINDE