Underemployed Elizabethans: Gabriel Harvey and Thomas Nashe in the Parnassus Plays
The Parnassus comedies appeared at Cambridge University between 1598 and 1601. Since they make multiple allusions to topical events, texts, and personalities, scholars have conventionally read them as personal satire, with characters representing luminaries such as the recent Cambridge graduate Thomas Nashe. This article, however, demonstrates that speeches given to several characters in the last two plays are previously untraced quotations from another Cambridge alumnus, Nashe’s antagonist Gabriel Harvey. While the plays evoke Harvey and Nashe, they do this because the two men’s post-Cambridge experiences illustrate the plays’ theme, the struggles of the scholar in the late-Elizabethan world.
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