The literary career of George Gascoigne : studies in self-presentation
My thesis seeks to offer a reinterpretation of George Gascoigne's literary career by interrogating the means by which he manipulated his self-presentation in print. The Introduction defines the context for this study by outlining the received version of his career, that of the prodigal who underwent a moral reformation in 1575 and wrote only moralistic works thereafter. I question Gascoigne's inclusion with the Drab poets by suggesting that his more courtly personae co-existed with his predominant selfpresentation as repentant prodigal. The subsequent discussion falls into a broadly chronological structure. Chapter I surveys the range of self-presentations and authorial voices in the early works and concludes with a discussion of Gascoigne's first publication, the anonymous A Hundreth Sundrie Flowres (1573), in which they were presented as the work of several authors. Chapter II examines Gascoigne's publications in 1575, conventionally considered the turning point in his career, with the Posies and the Glasse of Government, his Prodigal Son play. These are set against his anonymous publication of the Noble Arte in June and his performances before the Queen at Kenilworth in July. Gascoigne gave his presentation manuscript ofHemetes to Elizabeth as a New Year gift in 1576. Chapter III examines all of Gascoigne's literary activity in that year, as he continued to develop a portfolio of moralistic titles but also published his account of the Princely Pleasures, continuing the series of anonymous courtly publications. Late in the year, Gascoigne travelled to Paris and then Antwerp, and on his return published an anonymous account of the sacking of that city, the Spoyle of Antwerpe. Chapter IV discusses Gascoigne's New Year gifts in 1577, the year of his death. These are a second presentation manuscript for Elizabeth, the Grief of Joye, and a presentation letter to Sir Nicholas Bacon.