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Thomas Nashe's «Summer's Last Will and Testament»

A Critical Modern-Spelling Edition


Patricia Salomon

First established as a «festive comedy» in the same tradition as many of Shakespeare's early comedies, C.L. Barber's pioneer analysis in Shakespeare's Festive Comedy (Princetion, 1959) attracted attention to Nashe's only play. Performed before the Archbishop of Canterbury and his entourage at Croydon Castle in 1592, Summer's Last Will and Testament is an innovative blend of allegorical pageant, satire, farce, and morality play. Nashe of course is better known for the racy, pungent style of his prose works, The Unfortunate Traveller (1594) and Pierce Penniless (1592). This modern-spelling edition provides a fresh collation of all eighteen extant copies of the copy-text, the 1600 quarto, as well as an historical collation. In addition, it provides a full critical introduction, glosses, and explanatory notes.