Nashe as "Monarch of Witt" and Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
Joan Ozark Holmer, Georgetown University
The general influence of Nashe on Elizabethan literature has long been recognized, but the specific influence of Nashe on Shakespeare's work still remains largely underestimated. This essay will attempt two related tasks: first, the analysis of new evidence for dating Shakespeare's composition of his first romantic tragedy, which helps us to establish Nashe's priority of influence; and second, the exploration of how and why Shakespeare uses Nashe and his work as he does. The latter also reveals new insights about Shakespeare's adaptation of sources as an imaginative act, not merely of reminiscence, but reminiscence with a difference.