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)

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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).

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The Folger’s ‘Pierce Penilesse’

The second guide to digitised copies of Nashe, this time examining the two editions of Nashe’s first big hit, Pierce Penilesse (1592).

While the first guide to Have with you to Saffron Walden identifies some of the visually striking features of that work, today I will make use of the fact that the Folger Library has digitised two different editions of Pierce Penilesse, to illustrate how Nashe and his publishers made changes to the text, over five different editions. These variances between different copies of the same text matter to the Nashe Project, because in each case, the editor will need to decide which choice of words to present in their new edition, and which to relegate to the footnotes, affecting the way that modern readers will be approaching this book.

Continue reading The Folger’s ‘Pierce Penilesse’