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Thomas Nashe, authorship


The narrative and rhetorical structure of Thomas Nashe's The Unfortunate Traveller has vexed its critics almost since its initial appearance in 1593. Most modern critics have followed a line something akin to that of G.R. Hibbard, who sees Nashe as a writer unable at times to distinguish his own voice from that of the narrator, Jack Wilton. Stephen Hilliard’s study of Nashe notes the critical tendency to see The Unfortunate Traveller as “a formless work, spun out by a careless author with no fixed purpose” and, though he chides such critics for ignoring its many virtues, grants that they likely “reflect a truth” about its composition. Even ardent admirers of the work, such as Nashe biographer Charles Nicholl, say it presents “a sense of life as a series of episodic fragments.”