Because of the wide range of his abilities and interests, Thomas Lodge’s biography is often offered as an example of the life of a typical Elizabethan gentleman and man of letters. Neither the date nor the place of his birth is known definitely, but he was probably born in 1558. He was the second son of a Lord Mayor of London. Lodge studied at the Merchant Taylors’ School in London and entered Trinity College, Oxford, in 1573, completing his bachelor’s degree in 1577. In April of 1578, he was admitted to study law at Lincoln’s Inn, London.
Lodge’s early years in London were marked by personal problems, the exact nature of which is unknown, but which led to an appearance in court and a brief period of imprisonment. He may have had some problems with debts, which may have led to the criticism of usury that appears in some of his works, including A Looking Glass for London and England, but it is unlikely that he was ever truly profligate. More likely, his personal difficulties resulted from his leanings toward and eventual conversion to Catholicism. Lodge’s literary career began in 1579 with the publication of an epitaph for his mother. The next year, he became widely known for his reply to Stephen Gosson’s School of Abuse (1579), a pamphlet attacking the arts on moral grounds. The quarrel between Lodge and Gosson continued for some years, with Lodge’s final reply appearing in an epistle published with his An Alarum...
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