George Gascoigne b. He was highly regarded by his contemporaries, who were fully aware of the value of his many literary innovations. His work influenced all of the later Elizabethan writers, from the many writers of lyric poetry, sonnet sequences, and prose fictions to Spenser, Sidney, and Shakespeare.
Yet his modern reputation has been tainted by his portrayal as a Reformed Prodigal, an authorial self-presentation that originates with Gascoigne himself but was only one of many authorial and poetic identities which he adopted. Seen as a reformed moralistic writer, the individual works are persuasive, but that model of his career does not convince: he wrote and anonymously published highly accomplished courtly works, and performed for Queen Elizabeth, at the same time as publishing stern moralistic works under his own name. He died on 7 October the same year, Nonetheless, he made significant innovations across many genres including comedy, tragedy, satire, essays, reportage, versification, and sonnet sequences, as well as prose fiction.
Although his moralistic translations are of little literary interest The Droomme of Doomesday, A Delicate Diet much of his other work warrants more attention. Austen attempts a comprehensive reinterpretation of his career, to counter the image of him as a failed courtier and a sincere Reformed Prodigal, showing that this was just one of his authorial self-presentations. Helgerson presents him as a Reformed Prodigal and has been challenged subsequently but his view was highly influential and still needs to be taken into account.
Pooley was the first to propose a more pluralistic view of his authorial identities.
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Austen , Hamrick , and Shannon refute the view of him as a failure and point to his successes. Austen, Gillian. George Gascoigne.
Woodbridge, UK: Brewer, In chronological order, Austen shows how he worked simultaneously in different styles and under contrasting authorial identities. Explains why some of the published work is named and some anonymous. Offers a reinterpretation of his career, showing Gascoigne as a successful courtly writer who plays with his authorial identities and adapts them according to his presumed readership.
Refine your editions:
Hamrick, Stephen. Heale, Elizabeth. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, Fits Gascoigne into her overall argument about the self-presentation of Elizabethan authors, especially pp. Helgerson, Richard. The Elizabethan Prodigals. Berkeley: University of California Press, Highly influential. Adopts Gascoigne as his principal Elizabethan Prodigal and sees his penitence as sincere, while recognizing that the Reformed Prodigal was a strategic form of self-fashioning for a literary career in the s.
Johnson, Ronald C.
Autobiography and Authorship in Renaissance Verse (Early Modern Literature in History)
New York: Twayne, Pooley, Roger. Oxford Academic.
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