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