The Age of Thomas Nashe: Text, Bodies and Trespasses of Authorship in Early Modern England, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Age of Thomas Nashe

Text, Bodies and Trespasses of Authorship in Early Modern England, 1st Edition

By Stephen Guy-Bray, Joan Pong Linton


210 pages

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Traditional literary criticism once treated Thomas Nashe as an Elizabethan oddity, difficult to understand or value. He was described as an unrestrained stylist, venomous polemicist, unreliable source, and closet pornographer. But today this flamboyant writer sits at the center of many trends in early modern scholarship. Nashe’s varied output fuels efforts to reconsider print culture and the history of the book, histories of sexuality and pornography, urban culture, the changing nature of patronage, the relationship between theater and print, and evolving definitions of literary authorship and 'literature' as such. This collection brings together a dozen scholars of Elizabethan literature to characterize the current state of Nashe scholarship and shape its emerging future. The Age of Thomas Nashe demonstrates how the works of a restless, improvident, ambitious young writer, driven by radical invention and a desperate search for literary order, can restructure critical thinking about this familiar era. These essays move beyond individual and generic conceptions of authorship to show how Nashe’s career unveils the changing imperatives of literary production in late sixteenth-century England. Thomas Nashe becomes both a marker of the historical milieu of his time and a symbolic pointer gesturing towards emerging features of modern authorship.


'For those of us who hope that one day the 1590s may be known as Nashean,� this is the book we have been waiting for. Collectively these eleven essays re-describe Thomas Nashe’s relation to his historical moment, inviting readers to consider him within circuits of authorship, print culture, and urban living at the end of sixteenth century. The collection considers the breadth of Nashe’s idiosyncratic and challenging writings, significantly altering the trajectory of his work away from the orbit of The Unfortunate Traveler. This book offers fresh critical insights alongside practical advice on how to enthuse an undergraduate classroom with Nashe’s virtuosic, flighty, maddening, sometimes downright naughty prose.' Julian Yates, University of Delaware, USA 'Thomas Nashe's importance to our understanding of early modern English culture and early modern literary production can't really be denied, and yet scholarship on the broad body of his work is not as robust as it should be. This volume represents a strong, thoughtful, enlightening collection of essays that address the breadth of Nashe's texts beyond The Unfortunate Traveler. It should find a receptive audience of scholars and advanced graduate students.' Constance Relihan, Auburn University, USA ’These essays are a celebration of the richness, complexity, and continuing novelty of Nashe’s works.’ SHARP News '… the authors offer many new insights and approaches to the variety of texts that Nashe published in the very productive final decade of the sixteenth century. … excellent essays fill out the volume.' Renaissance Quarterly

Table of Contents

Section 1 Beyond the City: Sex and the city: Nashe, Ovid and the problems of urbanity. This sorrow's heavenly: Christ's Teares and the Jews. Blame-in-praise irony in Lenten Stuffe. Nashe's fish: misogyny, romance, and the ocean in Lenten Stuffe. Section 2 Mediating Bodies: Reproducing paper monsters in Thomas Nashe. Nashe's extemporal vein and his Tarltonizing wit. Gross anatomies: mapping matter and literary form in Thomas Nashe and Andreas Vesalius. Section 3 Trespasses of Authorship: Wit without money in Nashe. Nashe's vain vein: poetic pleasure and the limits of utility. Postscript: Nashe untrimmed: the way we teach him today.

About the Authors

Stephen Guy-Bray is Professor of English at the University of British Columbia, Canada. Joan Pong Linton is Associate Professor of English at Indiana University, USA. Steve Mentz is Professor of English at St. John's University, USA.

About the Series

Material Readings in Early Modern Culture

Material Readings in Early Modern Culture

This series provides a forum for studies that consider the material forms of texts as part of an investigation into early modern English culture. The editors invite proposals of a multi- or interdisciplinary nature, and particularly welcome proposals that combine archival research with an attention to the theoretical models that might illuminate the reading, writing, and making of texts, as well as projects that take innovative approaches to the study of material texts, both in terms the kinds of primary materials under investigation, and in terms of methodologies. What are the questions that have yet to be asked about writing in its various possible embodied forms? Are there varieties of materiality that are critically neglected? How does form mediate and negotiate content? In what ways do the physical features of texts inform how they are read, interpreted and situated? Consideration will be given to both monographs and collections of essays. The range of topics covered in this series includes, but is not limited to:

-History of the book, publishing, the book trade, printing, typography (layout, type, typeface, blank/white space, paratextual apparatus)

-Technologies of the written word: ink, paper, watermarks, pens, presses

-Surprising or neglected material forms of writing

-Print culture


-Manuscript studies

-Social space, context, location of writing

-Social signs, cues, codes imbued within the material forms of texts

-Ownership and the social practices of reading: marginalia, libraries, environments of reading and reception

-Codicology, palaeography and critical bibliography

-Production, transmission, distribution and circulation

-Archiving and the archaeology of knowledge

-Orality and oral culture

-The material text as object or thing

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