Choose your Valentine

Happy Valentine’s day, Nashe fans! It’s a time of romance, of chocolates in heart-shaped boxes,* of birds suddenly appearing every time you are near – and dildos, if you are Thomas Nashe.

Continue reading Choose your Valentine

Advertisements

Nashe on Screen (after a fashion)

You’ve seen the plays: now watch the playwright do some gardening. In the new film All is True (trailer), director Kenneth Branagh and screenwriter Ben Elton adopt the contemporary title of William Shakespeare’s last play, Henry VIII, in order to tell the story of the Swan of Avon (not portayed, sadly, by an actual swan, but by Branagh himself) returning to Stratford at the end of his career, after the burning of the Globe Theatre. Far from his successes in London, Shakespeare has to reckon with the hostility of his long-abandoned wife (Judi Dench) and daughters Susanna (Lydia Wilson) and Judith (Kathryn Wilder), as well as the snark and accusations of neighbours, and his long-held grief for the death of his son Hamnet. I was lucky enough to see the film courtesy of the lovely Viral History team (check out their work, it’s brilliant), and joined them and Dr Joanne Paul from the Sussex History department for a chat on their new podcast. You can listen to our episode via iTunes, Spotify, Audioboom, or wherever you like to source your listening material.

kenneth-branaghs-all-is-true

Continue reading Nashe on Screen (after a fashion)

A very Thomas Nashe Christmas

I wanted to call this post 'No cheeses for the meeces, and other Nashean Christmas problems' but it felt rather too niche

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, people on Twitter are doing festive display names and no-one can find the end of the sellotape. On the University of Sussex campus, the students that thronged the corridors for essay meetings last week have scattered. Lights glint amongst the branches of the Christmas tree in Library Square, the cafe is serving festive peppermint hot chocolates with enough sugar in them to stun a horse, and a researcher just announced to her empty shared office that ‘IT IS EMMYLOU HARRIS CHRISTMAS ALBUM TIME’ because, well, it is Emmylou Harris Christmas album time. It is difficult to be very Scrooge-like about Christmas when you work in an institution of higher education, at least until the marking comes in.

Thomas Nashe might, I think, have approved, at least of the sugary hot chocolate – or, perhaps, of the snacks brought in by tired lecturers for their tired students. Although he lived (of course) in a pre-chocolate, pre-Christmas-tree, pre-Emmylou-Harris world, he had (as Nashe tended to do) strong opinions on how one should celebrate Christmas, and particularly on generosity during the festive season. Continue reading A very Thomas Nashe Christmas

Nashe’s Shopping List 4: not without mustard!

I might be suffering from the effects of rhenish wine, but I think this pickled herring needs something to make it a little more palatable. Pass the mustard!

The hot taste should help to cover up the strong or even rancid pickled herring, and may go some way to helping with the effects of all that alcohol (anyone else feel like something died in their mouth?). It has been suggested that in the past mustard seeds were chewed during meals to cover the taste of questionable food. The seeds themselves are not flavourful until crushed when myronate and myrasin are released, which creates the hot taste. Does anyone in this drunken company fancy trying it? My bet is on Marlowe.

Continue reading Nashe’s Shopping List 4: not without mustard!

Nashe’s shopping list 3: a surfeit o’ pickled herring

herrings

I know, I know. We started imagining what would go into Nashe’s shopping basket, but I think we can safely assume that he wouldn’t be having his 450th birthday party at his place. Thomas Middleton certainly doesn’t think Nashe would have lived in salubrious surroundings. In The Blacke Booke (1604) Nashe’s persona Pierce Penilesse is renting a room in a brothel. The visitor

“stumbled up two payre of stayres in the darke, but at last caught in mine eyes the sullen blaze of a melancholy lampe, that burnt very tragically uppon the narrow Deske o a halfe Bedstead, which descryed all the pittifull Ruines throughout the whole chamber, the bare privities of the stone-walls were hid with two pieces of painted Cloth; but so ragged and tottred, that one might haue seene all neuerthelesse…The Testerne or the shadow over the bed was made of foure Elles of Cobwebs, and a number of small Spinners Ropes hung downe for Curtaines… in this unfortunate Tyring-house lay poore Pierce uppon a Pillow stuffed with horse meat, the sheets smudged so dirtily, as if they had been stolen by night out of Saint Pulcher’s churchyard when the sexton had left a grave open.” (sigs. D1r-v)

Continue reading Nashe’s shopping list 3: a surfeit o’ pickled herring

Choose a conference cocktail!

We’re planning drinks for our upcoming conference (Thomas Nashe and his contemporaries. Newcastle University, 12-14th July 2018), and we want your help! Do pop over to Twitter to vote for the cocktail you’d like to see there… And check out the Call for Papers at the project website!

Continue reading Choose a conference cocktail!

Nashe’s shopping list 2: ale, beer, and cider

What would a 450th birthday party be without a well-stocked drinks table? Thankfully, Nashe refers to a good range of alcoholic beverages in his works…

BEEEER2

Yesterday we heard about drinks for the high-rollers among us: the imported wines that (according to Thomas Dekker, at least) Nashe should have been plied with by his patrons. However, if your budget doesn’t quite run to sack and Rhenish, don’t worry: there’s plenty of cheaper booze to be had in Nashe’s works.

Continue reading Nashe’s shopping list 2: ale, beer, and cider

Nashe’s shopping list 1: wine and sugar

What would a 450th birthday party be without a well-stocked drinks table? Thankfully, Nashe refers to a good range of alcoholic beverages in his works…

wine

I have a friend whose extremely generous wine-buff father caters for parties on the basis of one bottle of white wine and one bottle of red per guest – plus beer and spirits. Nashe would have appreciated this kind of largesse a great deal: Thomas Dekker imagines Nashe arriving in the underworld and complaining about ‘dry-fisted Patrons’ because ‘if they had given his Muse that cherishment which shee most worthily deserved, hee had fed to his dying day on fat Capons, burnt sack and Suger, and not so desperately have ventur’de his life, and shortend his dayes by keeping company with pickle herrings’ (Dekker, L1r).

Continue reading Nashe’s shopping list 1: wine and sugar