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Commitment and the Vernacular: Thomas Nashe and Elizabethan literary culture
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Languages.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2469-6431
2015 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

It has been something of a critical commonplace to see Thomas Nashe (1567-1601) as a representative of  “pure”, uncommitted literature. “If asked what Nashe ‘says’, we should have to reply, Nothing”: C.S. Lewis’ statement also can be said to foreshadow post-structuralist readings (e.g. Jonathan Crewe’s) according to which Nashe’s prose basically reveals the logocentric prejudice of the reader. Arguably, though, it is precisely in its obsession with aspects of language that Nashe’s pamphlets reflect commitment: to literary culture, to questions of style, reading and taste. In the lively debate on the role of English vernacular literature in the 1590s, Nashe’s texts stand out not only because they have lots of things to say about the English language and the literary climate (in for example the prefaces to Greene’s Menaphon or Sidney’s Astrophil and Stella) but because they can be said to reflect commitment in their very form: indeed, their exploitation of a satirical persona forces the reader to respond over questions of what literature is, why we read it and who has control over it. In other words, in engaging with Nashe’s underanalysed effort as a critic and writer on aesthetic matters, this paper argues that Nashe’s preoccupation with language is not a matter of lacking commitment so much as a prerequisite for it. As interventions in the literary culture of his time, then, Nashe’s works can be said to refocus the notion of what vernacular literature can or should do.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015.
Keyword [en]
Thomas Nashe, early modern literature, Lenten Stuff, commitment in literature, elizabethan literature
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
Humanities, English literature; Humanities, Comparative literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-45655OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-45655DiVA: diva2:845079
Conference
55e congrès, Société des Anglicistes de l'Enseignement Supérieur, Toulon, Frankrike
Note

Ej belagd, 20150929

Available from: 2015-08-10 Created: 2015-08-10 Last updated: 2016-05-03Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf