Gascoigne, George

▪ English poet
born c. 1539, Cardington, Bedfordshire, Eng.
died Oct. 7, 1577, Barnack, near Stamford, Lincolnshire
 English poet and a major literary innovator.

      Gascoigne attended the University of Cambridge, studied law at Gray's Inn in 1555, and thereafter pursued careers as a politician, country gentleman, courtier, soldier of fortune, and man of letters, all with moderate distinction. He was a member of Parliament (1557–59). Because of his extravagance and debts, he gained a reputation for disorderly living. He served with English troops in the Low Countries, ending his military career as a repatriated prisoner of war. In 1575 he helped to arrange the celebrated entertainments provided for Queen Elizabeth I at Kenilworth and Woodstock and in 1576 went to Holland as an agent in the royal service. Among his friends were many leading poets, notably George Whetstone, George Turberville, and Edmund Spenser.

      Gascoigne was a skilled literary craftsman, memorable for versatility and vividness of expression and for his treatment of events based on his own experience. His chief importance, however, is as a pioneer of the English Renaissance who had a remarkable aptitude for domesticating foreign literary genres. He foreshadowed the English sonnet sequences with groups of linked sonnets in his first published work, A Hundreth sundrie Flowres (1573), a collection of verse and prose. In The Posies of George Gascoigne (1575), an authorized revision of the earlier work, which had been published anonymously, he included also “Certayne notes of Instruction,” the first treatise on prosody in English. In The Steele Glas (1576), one of the earliest formal satires in English, he wrote the first original nondramatic English blank verse. In two amatory poems, the autobiographical “Dan Bartholomew of Bathe” (published in A Hundreth sundrie Flowres) and The Complainte of Phylomene (1576), Gascoigne developed Ovidian verse narrative, the form used by William Shakespeare in Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece.

      “The Adventures of Master F.J.,” published in A Hundreth sundrie Flowres, was the first original prose narrative of the English Renaissance. Another prose work, The Spoyle of Antwerpe (1576), is an early example of war journalism, characterized by objective and graphic reporting.

      Gascoigne's Jocasta (performed in 1566) constituted the first Greek tragedy to be presented on the English stage. Translated into blank verse, with the collaboration of Francis Kinwelmersh, from Lodovico Dolce's Giocasta, the work derives ultimately from Euripides' Phoenissae. In comedy, Gascoigne's Supposes (1566?), a prose translation and adaptation of Ludovico Ariosto's I Suppositi, was the first prose comedy to be translated from Italian into English. A dramatically effective work, it provided the subplot for Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. A third play, The Glasse of Government (1575), is a didactic drama on the Prodigal Son theme. It rounds out the picture of Gascoigne as a typical literary man of the early Renaissance.

Additional Reading
C.T. Prouty, George Gascoigne, Elizabethan Courtier, Soldier, and Poet (1942, reissued 1966).

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • GASCOIGNE, George — (1539 1577) George Gascoigne was an English poet and dramatist as well as a politician, courtier, and soldier of fortune who is chiefly remembered for successfully im­porting and domesticating foreign literary genres. Born in Bedfordshire,… …   Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary

  • Gascoigne, George — (?1525 1577)    The dates of his birth and death are uncertain; those given here are from the DNB. He came from a Bedfordshire family and was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, but left without a degree. He became a lawyer at Gray s Inn in… …   British and Irish poets

  • Gascoigne, George — ► (1542 77) Poeta y dramaturgo inglés. Fue el introductor del teatro de tipo italiano en Inglaterra. Autor de Los supuestos y El espejo de acero …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Gascoigne, George — (1525 or 1535 1577)    Poet and dramatist, s. of Sir John G., and descended from Sir William G., the famous Chief Justice to Henry IV., he was ed. at Camb., and entered Gray s Inn 1555. While there he produced two plays, both translations, The… …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

  • Gascoigne — Gascoigne, George …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • George Gascoigne — (* um 1525 in Cardington, Bedfordshire; † 7. Oktober 1577 in Bernack bei Stamford, Lincolnshire) war ein englischer Dichter. Gascoigne studierte Jura am Trinity College der University of Cambridge. Er wurde dann zunächst vermutlich Mitglied des …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • GASCOIGNE (G.) — GASCOIGNE GEORGE (1542 1578) Étudiant à Trinity College, à Cambridge, George Gascoigne fit son droit à Gray’s Inn et représenta son comté, le Bedfordshire, au Parlement (mal, car il ne put y siéger longtemps à cause de ses frasques). Il mena à… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • George Gascoigne — George Gascoigne. George Gascoigne (h. 1525 – 7 de octubre de 1577) fue un poeta inglés. Era hijo mayor de Sir John Gascoigne de Cardington, Bedfordshire. Estudió en el Trinity College de Cambridge, habiendo trabajado como abogado. Estuvo en… …   Wikipedia Español

  • George Gascoigne — (c. 1535 ndash; October 7, 1577) was an English poet. He was the eldest son of Sir John Gascoigne of Cardington, Bedfordshire.Early lifeHe was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, and on leaving the university is supposed to have joined the… …   Wikipedia

  • Gascoigne — is an English surname (derived from the geographical name Gascony ), and can refer to:People surnamed Gascoigne*Bamber Gascoigne (born 1935), English broadcaster and author *Bianca Gascoigne (born 1987), English model *Charles Gascoigne… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.