Thomas Nashe

  Male      English      Writer

About Author

Thomas Nashe (November 1567 – c. 1601) is considered the greatest of the English Elizabethan pamphleteers. He was also a playwright, poet, and satirist. He was the son of the parson William Nashe and Margaret (née Witchingham).

Thomas Nashe was born and baptised in Lowestoft, on the coast of Suffolk, where his father, William Nashe, or Nayshe as it is recorded, was curate. Though his mother, Margaret, bore seven children, only two survived childhood: Israel (born in 1565) and Thomas. The family moved to West Harling, near Thetford in 1573 after Nashe's father was awarded the living there at the church of All Saints. Around 1581 Thomas went up to St John's College, Cambridge as a sizar, gaining his bachelor's degree in 1586. From references in his own polemics and those of others, he does not seem to have proceeded Master of Arts there. Most of his biographers agree that he left his college about summer 1588, as his name appears on a list of students due to attend philosophy lectures in that year. His reasons for leaving are unclear; his father may have died the previous year, but Richard Lichfield maliciously reported that Nashe had fled possible expulsion for his role in Terminus et non terminus, one of the raucous student theatricals popular at the time. Some years later, William Covell wrote in Polimanteia that Cambridge "has been unkind to the one [i.e., Nashe] to wean him before his time." Nashe himself claimed that he could have become a fellow had he wished (in Have With You to Saffron-Walden)...

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