Other Literary Forms

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

In addition to his masques and plays, George Gascoigne wrote in a number of genres in verse and prose. Whatever the genre, his style is generally direct, lucid, and idiomatic. Several of his works were the first of their kind in English literature.

Gascoigne’s later moralistic writings, however, lack interest for most students of literature. In prose, these works include The Droomme of Doomes Day (1576) and A Delicate Diet, for Daintiemouthde Droonkardes (1576), and, in rhyme royal, The Grief of Joye (1576).

Two expository works in prose have special importance. Gascoigne’s eyewitness account The Spoyle of Antwerpe (1576), originally written as a government report, is perhaps the best journalistic writing of the Elizabethan “Certayne Notes of Instruction Concerning the Making of Verse,” included in The Posies of George Gascoigne Esquire (1575), is the earliest extant treatise on poetry in the English language.

Also included in that collection, and of even greater interest, is the prose narrative The Discourse of the Adventures Passed by Master F. J. (1573), revised and reissued as The Pleasant Fable of Ferdinando Jeronimi and Leonora de Valasco (1575). With lyric poems spaced throughout the prose, the experimental narrative tells the story of a young man’s disillusioning love affair with a more experienced woman who is also having adulterous relations with her...

(The entire section is 432 words.)