Nashe, Thomas

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Thomas Nashe (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 controversy, 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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