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.


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).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


The Works, vols. 1–5. London, 1966.


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


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Thomas Nashe makes even more strongly skeptical statements about dreams in Terrors of the Night, or a Discourse of Apparitions, published in 1594.
Focusing on the careers of Robert Greene, Sir Philip Sidney, Thomas Lodge and Thomas Nashe, Mentz explores the way authors and publishers of prose fiction in late 16th-century England produced books that combined traditional narrative forms with a dynamic new understanding of the relationship between text and audience.
Martin Butler reinterprets Jonson's ties to London's commercial class through a recently discovered text, the 1609 Entertainment at Britain's Burse, and more than one of the contributors addresses the discovery in 1995 by Katherine Du ncan-Jones of a new epitaph by Jonson on Thomas Nashe. The chronological development of Jonson's career as a poet is well represented in Ian Donaldson's masterful survey, and three essays, by Richard Dutton, David Bevington, and Richard Harp collectively document Jonson's career as a writer of satiric comedy, comedy, and romantic drama.
Yet Thomas Nashe in The Unfortunate Traveller, Kyd, Webster, Spencer, and others set the strangeness of Italy and some of its imagined horrors in their writings.
12 Adam Foulweather, A Wonderful Strange and Miraculous Astrological Prognostication (1591), in The Works of Thomas Nashe, ed.
Their forerunner was John Lyly, an Oxford man, and they included Christopher Marlowe and Thomas Nashe (graduates of Cambridge), Thomas Lodge and George Peele (both of Oxford), and Robert Greene (who took degrees from both universities).
(d) Chettle elsewhere passed himself off as Thomas Nashe, signing a printed epistle 'T.N.' (a fault he later blamed, implausibly, on the printer), and colluded in Munday's invention of 'Lazarus Pyott';
In the book's second essay, Neil Rhodes (one of the editors of the Arden Shakespeare and Elizabethan Popular Culture volume) analyzes that mingling in the work of Thomas Nashe as a way of exploring an originary moment in modern media studies: the publication of Marshall McLuhan's The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962).
Devoting a page or two each to John Lyly, Robert Greene, Thomas Lodge, George Peele, Thomas Nashe, and Thomas Kyd, he takes the rest of the chapter to write in detail about the most influential playwright in London at the time: Christopher Marlowe.
However, it should be noted that there is evidence for a now lost English translation of the Hypotyposes in 1590 and 1591, wh ich is referred to by Thomas Nashe. [23] If it was available to Nashe it could also have been available to Shakespeare.
Shakespeare had seen his contemporary, Thomas Nashe, imprisoned, then later hounded by the Elizabethan secret police for a play (now lost to us) called The Isle of Dogs which had heaped acid satire on the Queen's court.
The poem appears to be a deliberate experiment in the loose knit 'extemporall' vein so much admired by Thomas Nashe.