1001 Reads

Regularly updated blog charting the most important novels of the last 2000 and something years

Sunday, July 27, 2008

14. Thomas Nashe - The Unfortunate Traveller (1594)

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Francisco: This is a pretty interesting book. It does have one major problem however, particularly if you are not a native speaker... or born in the fucking 16th century, it is written in 16th century English, so it hath been writteneth in thee's and thou's. But if thou hast a reasonable command of the language thou shouldst have gotten into its own gear by about the 20th page.

Anon, dear friends, not all is bad with this most exquisite piece of writing. In fact this is quite an achievement, Nashe is quite a racy fellow. There is depicted here a most impressive rape scene near the ending and if thou dost not quiver with disgust at the most vivid depiction of vileness thou hath no heart! Also, near the end there is the most harrowing tale of some Italian who gets revenge in good Neapolitan fashion on his brother's killer by first making him pray to Satan so his immortal soul be cast down into the fiery pits of hell and then shoot ye litte fuckwit in the very throat. Or when some Jew gets tortured in very ugly ways indeed. Still, the novel form is pretty loose here and there isn't so much a central plot but a compilation of stories brought together by a general frame of the travellers' travels.

Still, parts of the book are quite dull, particularly when Nashe uses his travels as an excuse for talking ye bollocks for a number of pages about whatever subject he wants to, completely forgetting any semblance of plot. So... not really essential reading but there are some bits which are very much worth it. And it fucks Euphues right in his poncy Elizabethan ass. Verily!

Vanda: I had a strange experience with this book, in the sense that I would sometimes catch myself after 5 pages not remembering anything I had just read. Apart from the racier, more violent parts, I found it rather dull, and it didn't manage to retain my attention, which very rarely happens. It was rather bizarre.

Sometimes, I would read a page over and over and nothing would stick. Very strange.

I had no problems with ye olde englishe, and still managed to find it interesting, particularly towards the end. I just..don't have much to say about it, since I don't really remember half of it (and I tried, really I did). I'm glad I'm finally reading D. Quixote.

Final Grade

Francisco: Thou gettest a 6 out of a total of 10.
Vanda: 5/10


It seems that no one really reads Elizabethan prose, I can understand why. This one is worth it, however. Plays are really famous and so is poetry... but prose... not really.


  • At 9:09 PM, Blogger Post Apocalyptic Gypsies said…


    interesting that any human of this century that isn't an academic is reading this. Anyhow, enjoyed your review, because that is how I feel. I believe this will be the best of punishments for children in the future.



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