The Thomas Nashe Project

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: School of English Literature,Language an

Abstract

Thomas Nashe (1567-c.1600), one of the most influential writers of the English Renaissance, has not been edited for over 100 years. 'The Thomas Nashe Project' is an ambitious project of scholarly editing: six volumes of all of Nashe's known writings and dubia, to be published by Oxford University Press in 2021 in print and also online, as part of Oxford Scholarly Editions Online, with detailed annotation that takes account of advances in our understanding of the 16th century; a new glossary that makes use of the e-search tools at our disposal; and extensive analysis and commentary. The edition will be edited to the highest standards, taking account of developments in approaches to scholarly editing and new research. R. B. McKerrow's revered scholarly edition (1904-10) is based on his collation of the copies of texts available to him in London and Oxford, although we now know that many more copies survive on both sides of the Atlantic (270+). His textual notes, accurate as they are, can be confusing as he collated his copy texts with 19th-century works that have no textual authority. His explanatory notes reflect the state of knowledge about Elizabethan society in the early 20th century. They are out of date on social history, urban history and the history of London; the relationship between individual writers; the conditions of early modern writing; the nature of patronage and the social order; rhetoric and literary culture; and religion. All of these features of McKerrow's edition and many more are in need of modernisation.

By working with Partners of national and international standing, we also aim to both advance and disseminate the knowledge we will gain of this writer and his contribution to English literature and the English language. Our partners and collaborators include, in the UK, Globe Education, Edward's Boys, the Old Palace School (Croydon), where Nashe's play 'Summers Last Will and Testament' was first performed, The Oxford English Dictionary, Norfolk Museums Service (with Great Yarmouth Museums), and in the US, The Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC, which holds one of the finest collections of Nashe's writings in the world, and the Mellon Trust Foundation-funded 'The Visualizing English Print Project' team based at Madison University, Wisconsin. By collaborating we aim: (1) to resituate Nashe in his national and regional contexts (London, Lowestoft, Great Yarmouth), (2) to explore Nashe's lasting legacy on the development of English literature and on the language, and (3) to reach a much wider general readership who have an interest in Tudor / Renaissance literature.

A unique feature of this project is the importance we attach to the orality and performance potential of Nashe's writing, both his prose fiction and his sole-authored play 'Summers Last Will and Testament', and thus of the relationship between prose and drama in this period. We will have video-recordings of the Edward's Boys performances of this play at King Edward VI Grammar School, Stratford upon Avon, the new Globe Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, and the Great Hall at The Old Palace School in Croydon, and of a 'Read not Dead' reading of 'Terrors of the Night' by candlelight at the Globe's SWP. We will commission a film exploring Nashe's links to East Anglia, as well as the writing of 'Lenten Stuffe' in Great Yarmouth at the end of his life, with readings of this text. With Testbed Audio (a maker of radio programmes for the BBC) we will also record and publish an actor experimenting with reading styles and make a 'feature' about the research that underlies this experiment.

Planned Impact

Who will benefit?
'The Thomas Nashe Project' will have widespread and sustained impact in the UK and US. The PI and Co-I1 have established partnerships with a range of non-HEIs, developing this research project to take account of the interests of their stakeholders. The partners involved in the project are a major theatre company (Shakespeare's Globe), an acting company (Edward's Boys based at King Edward VI Grammar School, Stratford upon Avon); Norfolk Museums Service (with Great Yarmouth Museums); a major North American library and educational foundation (Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington D.C.); and a London school with an important history (Old Palace School, Croydon). The project will reach a wider public through a series of lectures, conferences and symposia; the staging of a play in different sites; readings of Nashe's work; a website with links to e-copies of Nashe's writings, digital images of his texts, commentary and sound files of readings (produced by Testbed Audio, who have produced many programmes for the BBC and will share their contacts with us); and a film introducing Thomas Nashe (directed by Anna Brass, who has produced similar educational films for The National Archives).

How will they benefit?
Folger Shakespeare Library: The public lecture in Washington DC with subsequent podcast on the Folger website, and the Folgerpedia entries that we will write, will alert a wider public outside the UK to the significance of Nashe and will highlight the Folger's exceptional Thomas Nashe collection, in line with their mission to disseminate knowledge of the collection and 'advance understanding and appreciation of the culture of the early modern world.' The symposium will reshape academic approaches to the teaching of Nashe and extend knowledge and interest in the Folger collection.

Globe Education and Edward's Boys: The staging of 'Summers Last Will' will advance understanding of the value of site-specific performance and how we can reconstruct performances from the texts that have survived. This has been a central feature of the Globe's research strategy in the past decade, more so since the completion of the indoor Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. The Globe has not yet made use of the Hall in the Old Palace School. The performances of 'Summers Last Will' with Edward's Boys in these different locations, and their recording for analysis will be an invaluable resource for Globe Education and Edward's Boys. This project will also add to the repertoire of the Globe and Edward's Boys and enable them to reach new audiences.

Old Palace School, Croydon: The staging of 'Summer's Last Will' will enable the School to understand the history and significance of its site and architecture; to make more substantial links to its local community; and enhance the educational experience of its pupils.

Norfolk Museums Service and Great Yarmouth Museums: The public lecture and readings will support the aims of Norfolk Museums Service to explain the character of the region and the town Great Yarmouth to the local and visiting populations. We will provide information (in film and print form and via the project website) about an important local figure who is part of the town's history, and publicity for Time and Tide Museum and for Elizabethan House (which will be newly refurbished in 2016).

Knowledge exchange is central to this project, which will make scholarly research available and relevant to an academic and wider public interested in early modern literature, theatre, and language. In addition to the Partnerships mentioned above, we are also collaborating with the Mellon Trust Foundation-funded 'The Visualizing English Print Project' based at Madison University, Wisconsin, and also with The Oxford English Dictionary (Jonathan Hope and Philip Durkin are members of our advisory group, and Hope will act as Co-I4). Outputs from these partnerships will be freely available on our website.

Publications


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Hadfield A (2015) How to Read Nashe's 'Brightness Falls from the Air' in Forum for Modern Language Studies
 
Description We have developed a series of resources which are available on our website. We have been testing the performativity of late sixteenth-century prose writing and experimenting with google maps to track Thomas Nashe's movements. We are establishing a network of scholars connected with the project through events planned to be held in Washington DC and London this year. And with additional funding from Newcastle University we are beginning to test Nashe's dubia, working with colleagues based at Newcastle University, Australia and Leeds University.
Exploitation Route For the teaching of Thomas Nashe, or the performance of prose.
Sectors Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education
URL https://research.ncl.ac.uk/thethomasnasheproject/resources/
 
Description Folger Shakespeare Library Fellowship
Amount £2,000 (GBP)
Organisation Folger Shakespeare Library 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United States of America
Start 09/2016 
End 10/2016
 
Description Grant for the purchase of digital and paper copies of project-related rare books from North American libraries
Amount $1,000 (USD)
Organisation University of Massachusetts (UMass) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United States of America
Start 10/2015 
End 09/2016
 
Description Harry Ransom Fellowship
Amount £2,000 (GBP)
Organisation Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas, Austin, USA 
Sector Academic/University
Country United States of America
Start 05/2017 
End 06/2017
 
Description Huntington Library Fellowship
Amount £4,000 (GBP)
Organisation Huntington Library 
Sector Academic/University
Country United States of America
Start 01/2018 
End 03/2018
 
Description Research Excellence Academy
Amount £40,000 (GBP)
Organisation Newcastle University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 01/2017 
End 01/2019
 
Description Research Investment Fund
Amount £476,000 (GBP)
Organisation Newcastle University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 09/2017 
End 09/2020
 
Title Mapping Nashe created by Kate De Rycker 
Description Google map identifyng Nashe's movements and print relationships. This has been advertised via twitter. 
Type Of Material Data analysis technique 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact We have not identified impact yet. 
URL https://research.ncl.ac.uk/thethomasnasheproject/mappingnashe/
 
Description BBC Radio 4 Interview with Dr Kate De Rycker 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Kate De Rycker was interviewed about physical books, using Thomas Nashe as an example, for Fry's English Delight, on BBC Radio 4.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08cr6wf
 
Description BBC Radio 4 interview to be broadcast in April 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This will be a radio broadcast, 15 minutes, part of series on University Life. My topic was 'The University Wits' of the Elizabethan era, and my focus was Thomas Nashe.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Public lecture at Newcastle University 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I will be speaking about The Thomas Nashe Project at a Public Insights lecture titled 'Voices and Books' at Newcastle University.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.ncl.ac.uk/events/public-lectures/upcoming/
 
Description Society for Renaissance Studies Annual Lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Public Lecture on Talking Books in the Age of Print that includes Thomas Nashe
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.rensoc.org.uk/news/talking
 
Description Workshop at 'Shakespeare's School' 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact We worked with Perry Mills, Deputy Headmaster of Kind Edward VI Grammar School, Stratford upon Avon, on reading aloud some of Nashe's prose. Testbed Audio recorded the event of us and this is publicly available on our website.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://research.ncl.ac.uk/thethomasnasheproject/nasheoutloud/