Other Literary Forms

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Nicholas Udall is known today almost exclusively as the author of the first regular English comedy, Ralph Roister Doister. He was better known in his own time, however, as a scholar and translator. Aside from a few occasional verses and a medical book (Compendiosa totius anatomie delineatio, 1552), the balance of Udall’s work consists of translations of Latin authors. In 1534, he published Floures for Latine Spekynge, a translation into idiomatic English of selected parts of Terence. Two translations of the great Humanist Desiderius Erasmus followed, Apopthegmes in 1542 and The Paraphrase of Erasmus upon the New Testament in 1549. Finally, in 1550, Udall published a translation of Peter Martyr’s Protestant disputation with Roman opponents, Tractatie de Sacramente (1549); Udall’s work is entitled A Discourse or Tractise of Petur Martyr.