Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*Rome. Italy’s chief city and the center of the Roman Catholic Church. The novel’s lengthy section on Jack Wilton’s adventures in Rome provide Nashe with ample opportunity for satire, including Jack’s comment that if he were to memorize half the miracles he has heard there about martyrs’ tombs and relics brought from Jerusalem, he would be considered the “monstrost liar that ever came in print.” Nashe’s primary target here is the Roman Catholic Church, from which the Church of England had severed its ties earlier in the sixteenth century.

Rome’s Jews do not escape Nashe’s vituperative bent in the Rome section, either. This is evident in the character of the Jewish physician who buys Jack from another Jew under whose control Jack has fallen. A Jewish doctor—who not coincidentally is also the pope’s physician—plans to dissect Jack in a public anatomy demonstration for his own pleasure and profit.


*Münster. City in western Germany that, as a center of Anabaptism in the sixteenth century, is another target of Nashe’s satire because it represents the Puritan reform movement that was beginning to threaten Anglicanism. Anabaptists—who were Puritans opposed to infant baptism—briefly controlled Münster. The novel provides a detailed description of Anabaptist soldiers, including one wearing a skullcap that had served him and his ancestors as a chamber pot for two...

(The entire section is 565 words.)